I was also given an advanced reader copy of it last year. I can’t believe that I waited so long to get to this book. It absolutely blew me away.
Finley was such a real character; she grieved in more ways than one and with no one to really turn to (especially in a foreign country), she looked for her faith in the landscape of Ireland, where her murdered brother, Will, felt closest to his own faith. She struggled to understand the beauty that Will saw while he studied abroad, and my heart ached for her as she missed the importance and beauty of life in the present. This girl was broken in a way that no one but herself would be able to fix. The pacing for her story was absolutely perfect; nothing ever felt rushed – feelings and relationships developed naturally.
The minor characters of this story were also so clear in my mind – the mother of your closest friend who treats you like one of her own, in this case the host-mom. The best friend who only wants what’s best for you. The mean girl at school. They were “stereotypic” characters written in a way that was unconventionally conventional. What I’m trying to say is that they were written well and weren’t just cookie cutter characters meant to be place holders for real people. The host family of Sean, Nora, Liam, and Erin – with all of their strange quirks (Liam and his legos!) and their quaint family-run Bed and Breakfast made the environment feel warm and cozy. And the setting of Ireland itself whisked me away to a world of accents, stews, and Celtic crosses.
There was also more than one plot going on in this book and each was intricately woven into Finley’s story and gave her such a three-dimensional feel. I didn’t feel jerked back and forth between all of the plots and people, and enjoyed every moment of the book while I was in it yet still itched to find out what happened next in the other plots. It really drove home the point that Finely’s life wasn’t all about ONE thing (a cute boy, acing a final, grieving, finding her faith, etc) but that she had to handle all of these things at the same time, much like real life. And the faith portion of the book was incorporated in a way that didn’t feel “preachy” or overly-religious.
Does the whole “movie star falls for girl-next-door” thing sound cheesy? Perhaps, but don’t pretend like you haven’t enjoyed a story like that before! Besides, this is so much more than that.
There You’ll Find Me was a humorous and heartbreaking read. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me feel. I highly recommend this book to contemporary lovers, especially if you enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars by John Green or The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta.