A city girl’s concept of “home” is turned upside down when her father’s anthropology research relocates them to St. John’s, Newfoundland.Review:
Before her plane even touches down in Newfoundland, Cheryl is already plotting her escape. She knows life on “the rock” will be no better than it was in the other places she’s been forced to live ever since her parents launched their cross-Canada tour. The unwilling spectator of her father’s morbid fascination with “dying cultures,” Cheryl has seen more than her fair share of towns so depressing they could haunt your dreams. His need to study the defunct fishing industry in St. John’s is Cheryl’s breaking point – this city girl is more determined than ever to get back to the concrete, the buzz, and the bright lights of Montreal.
Will Cheryl’s cold, goth exterior and her refusal to embrace a new life cut her off from those who love her? Lori Weber once again proves herself to be a masterful storyteller, this time challenging the idea of home, and what holds families and communities together. If You Live Like Me explores the bonds that form in strange and unexpected ways, and shows how letting go can lead to the strongest connections of all.
Lori Weber’s If You Live Like Me is yet another book that’s been sitting on my bookshelf for way too long, even though I’ve heard some great things about it. Thankfully, I finally tried it last week, and I was surprised, perhaps even blown away a bit, as If You Live Like Me is an extraordinary contemporary about a girl living in Newfoundland.
If You Like Me begins just as Cheryl is arriving in Newfoundland, the place where she is to begin her fourth school in less than four years. To say Cheryl’s bitter about this would be a serious understatement. She’s furious, and all she wants to do is return back home to Montreal, the last place she truly felt at the home, the place where all her friends are. However, due to her father’s book on dying cultures, which never fails to wreck her chance at friendships, Cheryl is set to stay there for a whole year except if she finds a way to escape for the last time. However, what happens when she meets a boy who makes her whole world go around, who understands her, who sees the person she is underneath the sadness and the dark clothes? Will she find herself, or will she be left feeling more lost than ever? Only time and more pages can tell in this suspenseful novel perfect for reluctant readers.
One of those characters who are hard to like at first, Cheryl was someone it took a while to warm up to. She’s nasty towards her well-meaning parents and does not really try to be happy. Though, as more details are reveled about her past and her personality begins to show throughout the chapters, it is easy to see Cheryl is a girl lost, a girl who needs to find her way and forgive the past, which made her more relatable in the long run. However, the character that especially made her shine was Jim, a teen boy a year or two years older than her. Jim is a someone who hasn’t always had an easy life but it never gets him down, instead he always tries harder. He constantly brought much needed light to the novel, and truly made it one of a kind.
The plot in this one was also creative and well executed. The idea of a family moving from country to country to learn about dying cultures was fascinating so I especially enjoyed that subplot in the novel. Furthermore, Cheryl’s coming of age, the main focus of the book, was done realistically, and in a way that truly allows this novel to stand out among other coming-of-age tales.
This was my first experience with Lori Weber’s writing, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it and will surely be reading more of her books in the future. She truly did a great job of taking a mundane topic and presenting it in a seemingly new way.
Well-written and pitch perfect, Lori Weber’s If You Live Like Me is new favorite of mine, and I think if you give it a try you’ll enjoy it as well- especially if you love contemporary YA as much as I do.
If You Live Like Me is now out!
Source: Author/Publisher- thanks Lori and Lobster Press!
To find out more about Lori and her books, be sure to check out my interview with her from back in '09 as well as her website.