Friday, February 15, 2013

Return to Me, by Justina Chen (fiction) - moving away, moving on...or not

book cover of Return to Me by Justina Chen published by Little Brown
Hooray for going away to college at last!
Umm, family moving there, too?
One part breaks, everything shatters...

Reb is trying to figure out whether she and Jackson can make things work for now, not forever. But this is not just another long-distance teen romance; it's a novel with real heart and soul (and a few visions along the way).

How have long-distance, long-term relationships worked out in your life?

Book info: Return to Me / Justina Chen. Little Brown, 2013. [author's blog] [publisher site]

My Recommendation: Rebecca is so ready to go far away to college. When her dad moves the whole family to her new college town across the country for his new job, then immediately abandons Mom, she’s shocked. If she can’t trust rock-steady Dad, who can she trust?

She’d already decided that she must break up with Jackson before the family leaves Seattle, convinced that a long-distance relationship won’t work out. Her best friends agree with her, but she just can’t do it.

When Reb gets an overwhelming sense of something about-to-happen, she learned long ago to keep it to herself. She will be able to use her innate sense of whether a space works or not as she studies architecture, following in the footsteps of her dad’s business-minded family.

In the too-large McMansion in suburban New Jersey, far from their cozy island home and Reb’s custom-built treehouse, she watches her mom crumble as Dad makes the separation permanent and sees her 10-year-old brother retreat ever further into himself. After Reb calls Grandpa for advice, he invites them to his Hawai’i home to restore themselves.

Perched in a tropical treehouse, Reb worries about Jackson, about whether she really wants to do commercial architecture, about whether she really wants to go to college at the end of summer.

What’s this prophecy that women of her family can never stay with the men they love?
How can she balance family expectations about her career with what she truly wants to do?
How hard must she shake her phone so that Jackson will start communicating again?

Separation and reunion, perception and reality – Justina Chen once again brings readers a story with the right ending in a complex real world. (One of 6,000 books recommended on Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

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