I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Take Me With You When You Go by David Levithan and Jennifer Niven is the story of 18-year-old Bea and her 15-year-old brother, Ezra. Told exclusively through a series of emails, it unveils the hidden lives of these two siblings, victims of a passively abusive mother and an actively abusive stepfather.
The story opens on a typical morning in this unhappy home, with Ezra attempting to eat his breakfast cereal in a manner which will not upset or provoke his stepfather. Then Ezra’s mother discovers that Bea is missing. It appears that Bea, who has a history of running away, has disappeared for good this time. In the chaos that ensues, Ezra discovers a hidden email address that Bea has left for him so that he can continue to communicate with her.
As the email exchanges unfold, we learn about where Bea is and why she left and the people she meets. In the meantime, we discover how Ezra is coping with life without his sister, his other half in many ways, and the one person in the world who truly understands what life in their house is like.
This book spoke to me in a deep and meaningful way. It is a story that teenaged me needed way back when, as she was trying to navigate her way through some unhappy family dynamics. It’s for anyone who has ever been made to feel “less than” – less than their parental expectations, less than a good student, less than what society deems “normal” or “proper.” It’s about the many different types of love and about the family you’re born with, the family that may be forced upon you, and the family you choose.
CW: child abuse and neglect
Thank you to Random House Children’s Books and NetGalley for providing this book for review.