When You Were Here
Danny's mother died three weeks before his graduation. She had cancer for 5 years, and all she ever wanted to do was to make it to Danny's graduation, she said. But she couldn't even make it the last three weeks, like she promised. And now Danny is left alone, with the empty house and the memories, having to figure out what to do with her estate and what to say for his Valedictorian speech now that his mom is gone. When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where his mother had been going for treatment, it paints a picture of a side of his mother he never knew. And he knows, when he gets this letter, that the only way to ever settle his grief over her loss is to go to Tokyo and discover everything he can about her love affair with that city. Through all that, When You Were Here has humor and warmth, a great dog named Sandy Koufax, an estranged love, and a Japanese friend who is almost-but-definitely-not a Harijuku girl, and whose manic joy for life and sponge cake are the exact thing Danny needs to pull himself through the days and come to terms with his mother's death.
- Hardback | 272 pages
- 144.78 x 213.36 x 30.48mm | 385.55g
- 11 Jun 2013
- Little, Brown & Company
- Little, Brown Young Readers
- New York, United States
Praise for "When You Were Here" "A poignant coming-of-age story intertwining loss and hope against a background of Japanese culture...Themes of prescription drug abuse, death and teen pregnancy make this a heavy go, but they don't drag the text down, as they are expertly balanced by Kana's spunk, Danny's pained but authentic voice, and the overarching theme of love." ""Kirkus Reviews""" "[An] evocative novel about living life to the fullest...Set against the colorful backdrop of Tokyo's bustling streets, this intricate story vibrantly depicts the stages of Danny's enlightenment and celebrates his mother's sanguine attitude toward life, love, and death." ""Publishers Weekly""" "Danny's journey to healing is heartbreaking, hopeful, and full of luminescent beauty... This gem of a book will lead readers to ponder life, love, death, and everything in between." ""School Library Journal""" "Despite the sad topic, it's refreshing to read a story centered on a boy's love for his mother." ""Booklist""" "The book enticingly combines violin-worthy levels of loss with Danny's vigor and solid testosterone levels..." ""BCCB"""
About Daisy Whitney
Daisy Whitney is the author of The Mockingbirds and its sequel, The Rivals. She lives in Marin County with her family and her dog. And the dog always gets the last word.