Take Me with You When You Go

Knopf. Aug. 2021. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780525580997.
Gr 8 Up–“You burned the bridge, Bea—and you still wanted me to walk on it?” When Ezra’s 18-year-old sister abandons their abusive home, all she leaves 15-year-old Ezra is a secret email address. He, better than anyone, understands Bea’s urge to escape, but why now? When Bea won’t answer and cuts off communication, a desperate Ezra snaps. After trying to burn their house down, he ends up living with Bea’s bereft boyfriend, then with his own boyfriend, Terrence. Bea, homeless after following the promise of a better life with someone she met online, finds both more and less than she and Ezra bargained for. The siblings are taking their first, harrowing steps toward a better future—but can either manage without the other? Ezra and Bea are white; Terrence is Black. Once readers of this novel-in-emails accept that both siblings are mature writers who can recount extensive scenes, including dialogue, they will be richly rewarded. In this heartrending tale, nuanced and flawed characters struggle with secrets, crises, and complex questions about family, love, loyalty, and responsibility. The story emphasizes that many kids hide family dysfunction, that they need to know they are not alone, and that they can survive and find others who will value them. The book includes strong language and mild sexual situations. It offers a list of resources for those struggling with abuse.
VERDICT This epistolary narrative about a brother and sister escaping their abusive family will grab readers from the first page and does not let go. Highly recommended.

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