Nothing is going as planned for Rebecca Muir. She's weeks away from starting college—at a school chosen specifically to put a few thousand miles of freedom between Reb and her parents. But her dad's last-minute job opportunity has her entire family moving all those miles with her! And then there's the matter of her unexpected, amazing boyfriend, Jackson, who is staying behind on the exact opposite coast.
And if that isn't enough to deal with, mere days after moving cross-country, Reb's dad drops shocking, life-changing news. With her mother and brother overwhelmed and confused, Reb is left alone to pick up the pieces of her former life. But how can she do that when everything can change in an instant? How can she trust her "perfect" boyfriend when her own dad let her down? Reb started the year knowing exactly what her future would hold, but now that her world has turned upside down, will she discover what she really wants?
Justina Chen, the acclaimed author of North of Beautiful, has created a moving and powerful novel about the struggles that arise from betrayal, the uncertainty of life after high school, and the joy that ultimately comes from discovering what's truly in your heart.
I immensely enjoyed North of Beautiful when I read it years ago, but, to my disappointment, there was something about Return to Me that just didn't resonate. Part of it was because the pacing was rather slow, and part of it was also due to the fact that Reb doesn't find her own voice until well into her story. I found it hard to get drawn into Reb's heartbreaking story and emotional struggles, and as a result, Reb's search for her truth felt more like a series of lessons on how to live instead of a beautiful, cathartic experience. That said, Chen's writing is still wonderful, and I'm sad that I didn't enjoy this story as much as I could have.
Review copy from ALA