From the dying roses on the front of the cover to the small size of the book itself, You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz is a visually appealing book that will initially catch the eyes of many teens. The jacket summary explains to readers that Annaleah and Brian are two high school students who had a strong relationship with one another, one that could be compared to the characters Romeo and Juliet, since their relationship was both secret and all they needed was each other’s love. The first chapter of You Are Not Here describes Annaleah’s grief while she is next to Brian’s tombstone, which entices readers into wanting to know how he died.
Annaleah and Brian’s relationship seems like an ordinary high school romance, but readers quickly get insight and clues into how their relationship was anything but ordinary. If Brian really loved Annaleah, why had she never met his friends or family? If Annaleah really loved Brian, why did she keep secrets from him about herself and her family?
Samantha Schutz gives teens a glimpse into the relationship world and the many gray areas that come with relationships. Teens that have questioned their relationship’s status will be able to connect with Annaleah. However, those teens that are looking for a strong emotional and thought-provoking connection with a character or an untraditional love story will also enjoy this book. Schutz’s writing style and character portrayal will easily catch the attention of teens from the first scene in the book until the surprising and suspenseful ending when Annaleah’s true feelings and secrets are revealed.
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