Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Awards: None (Yet!)
My rating: 5/5 stars
One-word description: Relatable
Look at that cover. It’s it intriguing? And it correlates to the storyline! It doesn’t get much better than that—a book with a great cover that actually means something.
Bo is a student at Berkshire (aka. the Berk), a school for young adults with mental illnesses, but Bo thinks he can actually travel through time. It’s heartbreaking to see him struggle between what’s actually real and what he thinks is real, what he remembers and what he’s forgotten.
I’ve read plenty of books about characters with disabilities, from Kathryn Erskine’s Mockingbird to Chris T. Arcadian’s The Shifter to E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars, and there are even more on my TBR list. But A World Without You is the first book I’ve read that includes parts from the sibling’s perspective. Sometimes people forget that the family members of people with disabilities struggle too. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Revis!
As a younger sibling of a brother with high functioning autism, I found Phoebe, Bo’s sister easily relatable. She feels like she has a lot of expectations placed on her shoulders for being “normal.” And while I may have a closer relationship with my brother, to the point where people often asked if we were twins, like Phoebe, I constantly get tired of people asking what I’m going to do next with my life. Even though she can be selfish at times (can’t we all?), she’s an incredibly well-developed character.
The only thing I didn’t like about the book was that it was so relatable and heartbreaking, that I couldn’t read it all in one sitting. There were times I had to set the book down and muse on its words and take a break. But if I really wanted to, I easily could have read the book in one day, considering how I breezed through the last third of the book in one sitting.
Another aspect I really appreciated was how the book made me think, especially about relationships. How much would I miss somebody close to me if they were dead? Or how much would others miss me? The title itself has multiple meanings if you pay close attention while reading the book.
As for meaningful quotes, there were so many lines that stuck out to me. Here’s just one of them:
“You never know all of a person; you only know them in a specific moment of time.”
In many ways, it’s true. I know my college friends from college, not their hometowns or their families, and many of them don’t know me from all the many places I’ve lived. This book is a great reminder that people are often more complex than we may give them credit for, including the friends we think we know well.
I gave this book 5/5 stars for its excellent character development, wonderful writing style, and relatable themes. I’d recommend this book to young adults eager to learn more about mental illness or those looking for a quick, thought-provoking read. When I finished the book in the library, I went right up to one of the librarians and said, “This book is amazing.”
“Is it one we own?” she asked.
“Interlibrary loan,” I said.
“Then we’ll have to add it to our list of books to buy.”
Let’s chat! How likely would you be to add A World Without You to your TBR list? What kinds of books have you read this year? Which genre of book should I post next?