Right Where You Left Me

Featured
 
3.7 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
1073 0
Right Where You Left Me
Author(s)
Age Range
10+
Release Date
September 05, 2017
ISBN
9781534403208

In search of the perfect story to put a human face on a tragedy for his newspaper, my dad will fly into the eye of the storm. And now he’s heading to Ukraine, straight into the aftermath of a deadly earthquake. I don’t want him to leave. I don’t want to spend the week alone in a silent house with my mother, whose classically Russian reserve has built a wall between us that neither of us knows how to tear down. But I don’t tell him this. I don’t say stay. I think I’m holding it together okay—until the FBI comes knocking on our door. Now it’s all I can do to fight off the horrifying images in my head. The quake has left so many orphans and widows, but Mom and I refuse to be counted among them. Whatever it takes to get Dad back, I’ll do it. Even if it means breaking a promise…or the law.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

Where You Left Us
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Calla Devlin’s sophomore novel offers a look into what happens to those left behind after disaster.

The story begins with the poignant line, “My father specializes in devastation,” and from that point onward, readers are swept into Charlotte’s devastation. After her father leaves for the Ukraine following a deadly earthquake, Charlotte is forced to face her biggest fear: what if her father doesn’t come back home?

Throughout this story, Devlin expertly crafts a story filled with heartbreak, grief, friendship, first love, and what’s more: the redemptive power of love amidst loss. It becomes clear early on that Charlotte’s father has always been the anchor holding her and her mother together. After all, Charlotte wants to be a photo journalist just like her father, and holds a place on the school newspaper with the hopes of following in her father’s footsteps.

Without her father, Charlotte discovers her own creativity, and a pull toward a different kind of photography. Devlin uses this hobby to ground the reader in Charlotte’s every day life, while also characterizing her and her relationship with her father. Photography shapes the way Charlotte looks at the world, as well as the way she tells readers her story. But what proves most astounding, is just when the space between Charlotte and her father grows too wide, it acts as a force to rebuild a tumultuous mother-daughter relationship.

Too often in YA, parents are nonentities or antagonistic forces, but Charlotte’s parents are loving, fractured, somewhat dysfunctional, and absolutely authentic. And through the lens of Charlotte and her mother processing the possible disappearance of her father, more rich history finds its way to the page, including the reveal that Charlotte once had a sister who died and whose presence still haunts the vey people they’ve become since. There seems to be a conscious echo between the way Charlotte believes her mother must view her, and perhaps the way Charlotte might view her mother if her father doesn’t return home.

But instead of resentment and pain, there is a tenderness and all-consuming love that is exchanged between Charlotte and her mother.

In much the same way that photography shapes the world of this story, so too does baking and Russian folklore. Some of the most intricate and rich details of this world come from the items Charlotte’s mother creates in the downstairs bakery with Tatya Nadine, who also helps shape this fictional world into one, which feels authentic. Charlotte’s mother’s Russian heritage lends a lyricism and deeper mythos to this story, which only works to add other characters to this world, that though inhuman, feel just as real as any person.

While the bonds of family are tested within this novel, it becomes clear that they are not easily broken. The writing is beautiful, story all encompassing, and the fate of the characters is fulfilled. My only wish after spending so much time with Charlotte is for one more chapter. There are places I wanted to see, and adventures I wanted to live before leaving Charlotte behind.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Interesting Premise
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
2.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Right Where You Left Me’ is the story of Charlotte. Her mother is a Russian immigrate who works in the bakery downstairs from their apartment. Charlotte’s father is a larger than life newspaper reporter who loves to be the first on the ground during natural disasters. At the very begging of ‘Right Where You Left Me’, Charlotte’s father leaves for Ukraine to cover an earthquake. Her father soon becomes missing. Charlotte’s shared experience with her mother of worrying about Charlotte’s father draws them both closer together and further apart.
I began reading ‘Right Where You Left Me’ the day before hurricane Irma hit here in Florida. It was an interesting surprise to find out that this story was about someone who covered natural disasters. I loved that this was a fresh topic that hasn’t been touched on much in YA. I think how a family reacts when a member is missing in a faraway place is a very interesting premise to explore.
Some of the great elements of this story that I really enjoyed was the details about the baking. I also thought an important topic that is explored is that Charlotte has to deal with competing with her dead sister. My absolute favorite part was the few Russian folk tales that are peppered throughout the book. These were fresh stories that I never heard before. They made me want to read more east european tales. These folktales also helped to give an inside look into the state of Charlotte’s mind.
Now for the elements that didn’t work for me. With the exception of Charlotte’s mother I really didn’t connect with any of characters. I just felt that were kind of flat and I really didn’t get a sense of who they were. For some reason I really didn’t like any of Charlotte’s friends (or the jerky FBI guy). I also felt like they were too involved in the story and just seemed like they were constantly mentioned.
I also wasn’t crazy about all the photography stuff. I feel like half of the YA books I’ve read lately have inspiring photographers as characters and I just find the photography details to be boring.
Finally, I felt like this should have been a short story and not a novel. It seemed so long for a 247 page book. All the action was at the beginning and at the end. The middle was just filled with the fluffy details of Charlotte’s everyday routines.
My final judgement is that despite being problematic in many areas, ‘Right Where You Left Me’ is a culturally rich and ethnically diverse novel with a unique premise. The storyline is timely and relevant in today’s world and worth a read.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sage Sassafras’s life is cursed! No, really. Since birth, Sage...
Naked Mole Rat Saves the World
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Can Kit’s super-weird superpower save her world? ...
The Brokenhearted
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
teenage girl is transformed into a reluctant superhero and...
Brave Enough
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Teenager Cason Martin is the youngest ballerina in the Atlanta...
I Wanna Be Where You Are
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Chloe Pierce’s mom forbids her to apply for a...
The Moment We Fell (Mystic Shores Series, Book #1)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Nothing good happens when people keep secrets. ...
The Hit List
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Los Angeles Conservatory for the Arts is supposed to...
Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball (Amelia Fang, #1)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A hilarious illustrated middle grade series for reluctant readers starring...
Amelia Fang and the Unicorns of Glitteropolis (Amelia Fang, #2)
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
The second book in a hilarious heavily illustrated middle-grade series...
Small World
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Nanda is born, the whole of her world is...
On the First Day of Summer Vacation
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
When school is out, it’s time to celebrate and have...
Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants (The Questioneers, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
An instant New York Times bestseller! ...
Bad Bella
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bella is the very best dog a family could ask...
Dear Justice League
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hello! Justice League here. Ask us anything! ...
Cracking the Bell
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Friday Night Lights meets Concussion in this powerful and important...
Ghosts of Lock Tower
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A haunted tower, an evil ghost, a monster spawned from...

Latest Member Reviews

 
4.0
"Sage lives out west in the town of Goldview, and her family is cursed. Years ago, her mother and her..."
Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball (Amelia Fang, #1)
 
4.0
"AMELIA FANG AND THE BARBARIC BALL is the first book in the Amelia Fang series, a fantasy/magical middle grade series..."
Amelia Fang and the Unicorns of Glitteropolis (Amelia Fang, #2)
 
4.5
"AMELIA FANG AND THE UNICORNS OF GLITTEROPOLIS is ultimately about harmful stereotypes, problems with misinformation, and the subversion of overly..."
Small World
 
5.0
"SMALL WORLD is a gorgeous celebration of growing up and following your dreams. When Nanda was born, her world was..."
On the First Day of Summer Vacation
 
3.5
"ON THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER VACATION uses the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas to present the fun..."
Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants (The Questioneers, #2)
 
5.0
"Budding scientists, rejoice! The Questioneers is the perfect series to show you the how and to have some extra scientific..."
Bad Bella
 
4.0
"Bella lives with the McBrides, who have several small children and often forget Bella's needs. She gets in trouble for..."
Dear Justice League
 
5.0
"In this short, middle grade graphic novel, DC superheroes from the Justice League answer e mails from young fans. Superman..."
Shake It Off! (Wish #8)
 
4.0
"Bria has made some poor choices concerning friends and social media back home in Chicago, so her parents have decided..."
Babies Can Sleep Anywhere
 
4.0
"BABIES CAN SLEEP ANYWHERE is a cute rhyming book about sleep. The book goes through where animals sleep (e.g. puppy..."
The Bad Guys in The Big Bad Wolf (The Bad Guys, #9)
 
4.5
"This episode of THE BAD GUYS has the crew planning for a way to stop the aliens and help the..."
Not if I Can Help It
 
4.0
"Willa has struggled with a sensory processing disorder her whole life, but with supportive parents and some occupational therapy, she..."
Emily Out of Focus
 
4.0
"Emily and her parents go to China to bring home the little girl they are adopting. Emily isn't crazy about..."
A Small Zombie Problem (Zombie Problems, #1)
 
4.0
"A SMALL ZOMBIE PROBLEM is a charming story in the vein of A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS and Tim Burton...."
My Funny Bunny
 
3.0
"MY FUNNY BUNNY is about dealing with disappointments and not judging others too quickly. It's the main character's sixth birthday,..."
Kindness Rules! (A Hello!Lucky Book)
 
4.5
"KINDNESS RULES! is a fun new manners book, perfect for preschoolers. Magic Manners, an elephant who knows her stuff, teaches..."
Teeny Tiny Ghost
 
5.0
"Be prepared to fall in love with the tenacious TEENY TINY GHOST in this sweet book, perfect for Halloween. The..."
Solving for M
 
5.0
"SOLVING FOR M is a beautiful and enthralling middle grade novel about finding your way in a new school and..."
A Pumpkin for Peter: A Peter Rabbit Tale
 
5.0
"A PUMPKIN FOR PETER tells the story of when Peter Rabbit went with his mother and sisters to go pick..."
A Parade of Elephants
 
4.5
"Five elephants march along the pages of Kevin Henkes's picture book, A PARADE OF ELEPHANTS. As they make their way..."