Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: You Are My Only by Beth Kephart

Title: You Are My Only
Author: Beth Kephart
Publisher: Egmont USA
Pages: 256
Release date: October 25th 2011
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: NetGalley - thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for providing a free eGalley of this book!
Find out more: Amazon ; Goodreads

Goodreads description:
Emmy Rane is married at nineteen , a mother by twenty. Trapped in a life with a husband she no longer loves, Baby is her only joy. Then one sunny day in September, Emmy takes a few fateful steps away from her baby and returns to find her missing. All that is left behind is a yellow sock. Fourteen years later, Sophie, a homeschooled, reclusive teenage girl is forced to move frequently and abruptly from place to place, perpetually running from what her mother calls the “No Good.” One afternoon, Sophie breaks the rules, ventures out, and meets Joey and his two aunts. It is this loving family that opens Sophie’s eyes, giving her the courage to look into her past. What she discovers changes her world forever…

First sentence:
My house is a storybook house.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

First off, I love this book's cover. The girl looks so sad but so beautiful, and I love the whole idea with the rain.

What I first noticed when I started reading You Are My Only is the incredible writing. It's poetic, rich and beautiful, with just the right balance of sparse and descriptive - sometimes, when something needs to be left to the reader's imagination, the writing is sparse, and the rest of the time, the author uses rich descriptions with great imagery.

The story itself, though, was kind of hard for me to get into. It feels a bit rushed, and I think the author should have taken some more time at the beginning. You Are My Only jumps right in with the plot, but I would have liked a longer exposition to get to know the characters before the plot starts - to understand why Emmy stays with Peter, the husband she no longer loves; what Sophie's life is like not being allowed to leave the house; what her mother is like, etc. This way I didn't feel as connected to the characters as I would have liked, and I felt somewhat removed from the story at times. For example, it took me ages to figure out when this story takes place.

For the most part, Emmy's and Sophie's stories are seperate, and I have to say I liked Sophie's story a lot better than I liked Emmy's. It's heartbreaking to watch Sophie grow up the way she does. I loved reading about how she breaks free and about her relationship with Jimmy, the boy next door, and his two aunts. The suspense of Sophie figuring out her mother's secrets is great, too, and kept me interested throughout. Emmy's story starts out interesting and suspenseful, too, and I liked reading about how she tries to find her baby. Once she's in the mental hospital, though, I kind of lost interest in her story. I found it kind of boring, even though I can't explain why - interesting things happen, and Enny's roommate is a fun character. I just felt kind of removed from Emmy's story once she gets to the mental hospital.

The main characters are... well, they're okay. I didn't get too much of their personalities, but that might be because of the rushed exposition. The secondary characters, though, I loved. The man who helps Emmy in the beginning, her roommate at the mental hosiptal, Jimmy, Aunt Helen and Aunt Cloris - they're all quirky, well-developed characters, and I loved reading about their relationships with the main characters.

Some other reviews I've read said the plot is too predictable, but for me that wasn't the case. I knew almost nothing about this book beforehand, so for me it wasn't obvious (I didn't get the connection till the end), and I liked it that way. I understand, though, how the book description could give it away.

Overall, this is an enjoyable read. I felt somewhat removed from the story and characters, possibly due to the rushed exposition, but the incredible writing makes up for it. If you're looking for something with an original idea and great writing, you should definitely check out You Are My Only!


  1. I liked this book, mostly for the characters. I also prefered Sophie's story. It seemed more developed and interesting.
    My review


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