Lose You to Find Me

Lose You to Find Me
Age Range
Release Date
May 16, 2023
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A romantic, heartfelt, and hilarious queer coming-of-age story from All That's Left in the World author Erik J. Brown, perfect for fans of What If It’s Us and If This Gets Out.
Tommy Dees is in the weeds—restaurant speak for beyond overwhelmed. He’s been working as a server at Sunset Estates retirement community to get the experience he needs to attend one of the best culinary schools in the world. And to make his application shine, he also needs a letter of recommendation from his sadistic manager. But in exchange for the letter, Tommy has to meet three conditions—including training the new hire.

What he doesn’t expect is for the newbie to be an old crush: Gabe, with the dimples and kind heart, who Tommy fell for during summer camp at age ten and then never saw again. Unfortunately, Gabe doesn’t remember Tommy at all. The training proves distracting as old feelings resurface, and the universe seems to be conspiring against them.

With the application deadline looming and Gabe on his mind, Tommy is determined to keep it all together—but what if life isn’t meant to follow a recipe?

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intriguing YA contemporary
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LOSE YOU TO FIND ME is an intriguing YA contemporary about friendship, relationships, and chasing your dreams. Thomas works at Sunset Estates, a retirement community, where he waits tables and dreams of the day (soon) when he will turn 18 and be able to help in the kitchen. He has big dreams of going to a prestigious school for culinary arts, following in the footsteps of his father, who died a few years before but had instilled a love of cooking. He has a plan to get a letter of recommendation from his boss, Natalie, who has a prestigious past in the culinary world.

He is thrown for a loop when his middle school camp crush, Gabe, shows up at his job as his trainee. His really close friendship with Gabe that summer was one of the major steps to figuring out his own identity. When Gabe shows up and is even more attractive than he remembered, Tommy feels that crush growing all over again.

With relationship drama and teens trying to figure out where they will dedicate their post-high-school lives, this is a story about growth, what it means to be a good friend, and the chances you take.

What I loved: Overall, this was an engaging story about figuring out what you want and going for it. Tommy was not the only character who has big dreams but begins to reevaluate them as they chase them. His BFF is also figuring her life out, as are most kids about to make a decision about college or not and which one/where. These are tough questions, and readers at a similar life stage will find their struggles resonate.

Tommy is not a perfect character. He makes mistakes, sometimes a lot, but he also learns from them in the course of the story. Beyond his romantic life, he also has much to learn about friendship and his platonic relationships with others, as well as the dreams he has been chasing. He has one goal for his future, but he's beginning to realize that nothing is quite so simple as he might hope.

There are some really great background characters in this, particularly some of the residents, like Al and Willa, that the reader gets to know a bit in the course of the story. Tommy's best friend, Ava, was also really compelling, as her story is woven throughout his. She is facing a lot of turmoil and while we don't see it all, what we do see gives her a unique voice in the story.

What left me wanting more: For the key relationship, I would have liked more context and connection. While I was sold on it at the end for Tommy, I am not sure if Tommy was the partner that they deserved. He does grow a lot in terms of what he learns about people, but it would have been great to see more of it put into action with this person as well. The fixation on Gabe in the early parts of the story were also pretty tough, but this was a key lesson for Tommy, so it did make sense in the story context.

Final verdict: LOSE YOU TO FIND ME is an overall compelling YA contemporary read about figuring yourself and your life out amidst crushes, chasing your dreams, and applying for college.
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