noun: an exciting, emotional, or unexpected series of events or set of circumstances
There You’ll Find Me
by Jenny B. Jones
Finley Sinclair needs a life without drama. She hopes spending her senior year as an exchange student to Ireland will bring just that. Since she lost her big brother Will in a tragic bombing, life has been one big mess. She heads to Ireland hoping to restore her relationship with God, come to peace with her brother’s death, and finish her college audition song, but drama begins before her plane ever takes off.
A well-meaning flight attendant seats her next to Beckett Rush, a Hollywood bad boy starring in the latest vampire movies. Worse news is Beckett’s newest vampire flick is shooting in the same town as Finley’s host family. The drama keeps following her. Eventually, Finley is forced into relationship of convenience with Beckett: she run lines with him and he provides transportation to the sites of Will’s journal entries. As she visits each location, she wrestles with her grief, her musical muse, and her feelings for Beckett. Can she finish the song in time? Will she ever be able to let Will go? Will God ever speak to her again?
There You’ll Find Me is poignant and funny, as well as honest and painful. Finley’s struggles go much deeper than avoiding drama, and many readers will identify with her easily. Jones weaves a story of emotional depth while adding flashes of humor and pop culture references. When Finley remarks of Beckett’s charm, “Good heavens, Harry Potter didn’t have any magic like the kind this boy was brewing,” the reader giggles and instantly recognizes Beckett’s magnetism. But Jones’s writing really shines in her simple yet vivid descriptions. One minor character has “wrinkles that stretched and pillowed across his weathered face.” Such descriptions allow the reader to experience the book as if it were a movie, alive and vivid on the screen in front of them.
In fact, the whole time I read it, I was wishing for a movie version. It holds all the elements of a teen drama, which comes both with pain and humor. Finley’s struggles are universal for many teen girls: self-esteem, lack of control, college acceptance anxiety. Beckett’s charm and hotness only increase once we know him as a person not just a movie star. Throw in some jealous and catty girls, an over-controlling father, and a well-meaning but busy family and you have a prescription for teen blockbuster. But for now, we’ll just have to settle for teen bestseller.
Pingback: Wednesday Reads: Summer Has Entered the Building | Unpacking Life