Take Me With You When You Go was such an introspective story of grief and healing.
It’s so sad, but it isn’t just a spiral to darkness; it’s about hope too. It’s about running from trauma, but also from yourself, and how to acknowledge and face that. The story is told in letters between two siblings: Bea and Ezra. It’s very character-centric and you’re deeply in their heads and their thoughts, here for existential monologues and growth. The heart of the story is two siblings having long overdue conversations about their repressed trauma. So it’s a fast read because the scenes happening around them are secondary to their internal struggles.
Bea has just run away from their emotionally abusive home, leaving her younger brother Ezra and all their friends, her boyfriend, her entire life. But she leaves Ezra an email address and begs him to tell NO ONE about her. She’s running because it’s all she can think to do. Ezra goes through the betrayal and agony of being left, but then they both start to have real conversations. The kind you have when it’s just you and a keyboard and you can pour out your whole heart with all the things you couldn’t say out loud. The way they start to understand each other, but also confront each other, is really powerful.
Bea is hard to like at first because she’s making a string of (seemingly) very selfish decisions. But once you get deeper into her thoughts; ow it hurts. She had the potential to come off a bit manic pixie dream girl, but I think that was the point? A lot of time books say that the girl who runs away, who puts herself first and feels untethered to the world, is just being an attention seeker. But Bea was trying to process her trauma. By the end, you just want to cry for her.
Because you are worth holding on to, and I may have quit everyone else, but I’m not quitting you. Even when I didn’t believe in myself, I believed in you. My only regret in leaving is not dragging you with me.
Ezra is such a sweetheart. His internal arc isn’t as extreme as Bea’s, but he’s still facing things head on back in their old real life and learning to let good people in. He’s also gay and in love with Terrace but always censors himself and his needs because he doesn’t know HOW to trust. Bea and Ezra’s parents gaslit them, pushed them around, destroyed their stuff — withheld love. They were kids growing up devoid of casual, easy love.
I wondered: Did Mom and Darren hurt us more by what they did or by what they didn’t do? Which wounds us more – the hostile presence or the absent kindness?
There’s also plot twists! Surprising characters turn up, journeys are taken. Bea and Ezra’s past isn’t exactly what you think from the start.
It’s a quiet book, powerful as it stands up for kids who go through abusive (whether mentally or physically) situations, who are gaslit into thinking they deserved it. I just rooted the whole time for Ezra and Bea to realise they had people who would love them. The unexpected kindness of strangers was so beautiful too.
It’s wonderful, when someone sees you, the real you, but – and this may be the most profound thing I’ve ever thought or said – maybe the most important thing is seeing yourself.
Thanks to Penguin Australia for the review-copy! It’s out 31st of August 2021.
From the authors of All the Bright Places and Every Day comes a story of hope, family, and finding your home in the people who matter the most.
Ezra Ahern wakes up one day to find his older sister, Bea, gone. No note, no sign, nothing but an email address hidden somewhere only he would find it. Ezra never expected to be left behind with their abusive stepfather and their neglectful mother – how is he supposed to navigate life without Bea?
Bea Ahern already knew she needed to get as far away from home as possible. But a message in her inbox changes everything, and she finds herself alone in a new city – without Ez, without a real plan – chasing someone who might not even want to be found.
As things unravel at home for Ezra, Bea confronts secrets about their past that will forever change the way they think about their family. Together and apart, broken by abuse but connected by love, this brother and sister must learn to trust themselves before they can find a way back to each other.
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