Book Review: Take Me With You When You Go by David Levithan & Jennifer of Niven

Take Me with You When You Go by David Levithan

Title: Take Me With You When You Go

Author(s): David Levithan & Jennifer Niven

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction

Number of Pages: 336

Rating: A-

Recommended?: Yes


 

 

Take Me With You When You Go is a beautiful collaboration between two authors I didn’t have much prior experience with (I read The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan H.- As Told to His Brother by Levithan but I haven’t read anything by Jennifer Niven before.) The characters are flawed and the relationships are raw and full of angst, but also very realistic.

Ezra and Bea are siblings who are living with their mom and her abusive boyfriend when Bea suddenly runs away from home. She leaves an email address in a secret location so Ezra can contact her but doesn’t want him to tell anyone else where she is. Bea’s boyfriend Joe is devastated but her mom and her mom’s boyfriend don’t seem to care at all, carrying on with life as usual.

Ezra understands why Bea left but he also resents her for abandoning him in a toxic family situation. His boyfriend Terrance wants to help but doesn’t really understand what he’s going through, and Joe is bitter and angry about Bea’s departure. The mother in this book killed me. What a vindictive, enabling bitch. I almost hated her more than the boyfriend because of how psychologically devastating her actions towards her kids were.

Because of the abuse element this book was somewhat stressful even though the fast-paced epistolary format made it easy to read. I didn’t like Bea at all at first, but I think I came to understand her more over the course of the novel. I thought she gave Joe a really hard time (even though he was by any means perfect either) but at least she acknowledged it at the end.

I loved her and Bea and Ezra’s messy, conflicted, but utterly real sibling relationship. It felt like they really had a history, with a lot of things unsaid. The authors also did a good job with writing a satisfying ending that still felt plausible, despite the seemingly impossible pain the two main characters went through. I put this book tired but with a sense of hope for these characters and their futures.

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