We Were Never Here

Jennifer Gilmore. HarperTeen, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-239360-9
One minute, counselor-in-training Lizzie Stoller is teaching archery to a group of campers. The next, she is incapacitated by pain. Thus begins Lizzie’s ordeal, fighting a life-threatening disease. In her first YA novel, adult author Gilmore (The Mothers) movingly expresses a teen’s changing perspective, highlighting a series of turning points during a few months of Lizzie’s 16th year. During her illness, eventually diagnosed as ulcerative colitis, Lizzie’s separation from the world leaves her lonely and afraid. When she finally arrives home from the hospital exhausted and vulnerable, she feels disconnected from her old life and friends. More real to her are cherished moments she spent with Connor, a hospital volunteer who experienced a trauma of his own. Lizzie can’t let go of her memories of their intimate conversations, but Connor’s instability may prevent them from having a relationship. Reading this dramatic romance is both a painful and mesmerizing experience. The reward comes in Lizzie’s recognition of her own strength and resilience as her focus shifts from what she can’t do to what she can still accomplish. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/21/2016
Release date: 06/14/2016
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-239362-3
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