July 14, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Wherever You Go by Heather Davis

Author: Heather Davis
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Category: Young Adult Fiction

Wherever You Go deals with alzheimer's disease, depression and death, factors that in a perfect world, teenagers don’t have to deal with but unfortunately, more and more do.

Holly is broken.  Her beloved boyfriend Rob is dead, she has only one friend in school, her family barely make ends meet and she has too many responsibilities as her mother depends on her too much.  This worsens as her grandfather Aldo, who suffers from alzheimer’s, started living with them.  She became the “mom” for both Aldo and Lena, her sister.  Then she gets close to Jason, Rob’s bestfriend from childhood, who is hurting just as much as she is.  They find comfort in each other’s company and eventually, love.  But something is wrong, Rob’s spirit isn’t letting go.  He can’t let go.  He’s earthbound without knowing the reason why.  The only person he can communicate with is Aldo who is slowly losing his mind.  And so with time running out, they forge a friendship that would help heal invisible wounds and broken hearts.  Together they help Holly and Jason move forward with their lives.

The story is lovely, albeit slow.  There were too many descriptions of everything that sometimes seemed unnecessary.  However this made me understand the characters better.  Of the four major characters, I liked Jason the most.  Although he’s shy, he still ends up confronting his feelings and showing that to Holly.  He fights for her, even though it meant losing his so-called friends.  And He has sincere intentions, that which could not be said about a lot of teenage boys in this day and age.  Rob on the other hand is slow in confronting the truth:  that he has to let the people he loves go.  He has the hardest time dealing with Holly’s moving on and towards Jason at that.  Holly can be frustrating in the sense that she is a victim of circumstances where there seems to be no way out.  How does one escape near poverty and responsibilities that can’t be passed on to another? It takes a lot, in fact it takes the whole book before she lets it all go.  But she does.  Aldo is like the grandfather we all have.  he loves his family but is in a body that no longer wants to work.  He shuts down and more often than not is lost, but no one is to blame.  What is commendable though is that he tries, with the help of Rob, to say what he has to say to help Holly, Jason and eventually himself.
In all, the book is a good read.  it imparts the truth that even when there seems to be nothing else in our lives, when no one seems to want to be with us or even to just listen to us…that sometimes all we need to do is to simply ask, and just be.

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