Hi, I'm Mrs. F-B!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Return to Me, Justina Chen

From the Publisher: Nothing is going as planned for Rebecca Muir. She's weeks away from starting college--at a school chosen specifically to put a few thousand miles of freedom between Reb and her parents. But her dad's last-minute job opportunity has her entire family moving all those miles with her! And then there's the matter of her unexpected, amazing boyfriend, Jackson, who is staying behind on the exact opposite coast. And if that isn't enough to deal with, mere days after moving cross-country, Reb's dad drops shocking, life-changing news. With her mother and brother overwhelmed and confused, Reb is left alone to pick up the pieces of her former life. But how can she do that when everything can change in an instant? How can she trust her "perfect" boyfriend when her own dad let her down? Reb started the year knowing exactly what her future would hold, but now that her world has turned upside down, will she discover what she really wants? Justina Chen, the acclaimed author of North of Beautiful , has created a moving and powerful novel about the struggles that arise from betrayal, the uncertainty of life after high school, and the joy that ultimately comes from discovering what's truly in your heart.

Strengths: The story of betrayal told in this novel will ring true for many children with a parent who decides to leave his or her family.  The shock and overwhelming topsy-turviness of that situation can be crushing and leave the family members reeling. People in such situations sometimes make self-destructive decisions.  Watching Rebecca go through this terrible scenario will be comforting to other young people in a similar situation and also might prevent them from making some of the same choices as Reb which she realizes, in the end, were the wrong choices.

Weaknesses: I thought that although the characters talked about and described the deep pain they were going through, they also seemed to recover from it and forgive more quickly than was realistic. Reb also seemed wise beyond her years in many ways. Not that a girl like her couldn't exist, and certainly she was far from perfect, but she was just a little too insightful in many ways, and it didn't quite ring true.

Overall I think this book will be well received by middle and high school students.

No comments: