Things I'm Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni
Release date: October 3, 2017
An ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Tess Fowler has just dropped out of high school. She can barely function after learning of Jonah’s death. Jonah, the boy she’d traded banter with over texts and heartfelt e-mails.
Jonah, the first boy she'd told she loved and the first boy to say it back.
Jonah, the boy whose suicide she never saw coming.
Tess continues to write to Jonah, as a way of processing her grief and confusion. But for now she finds solace in perhaps the unlikeliest of ways: by helping her father with his new alternative funeral business, where his biggest client is . . . a prized racehorse?
As Tess’s involvement in her father’s business grows, both find comfort in the clients they serve and in each other. But love, loss, and life are so much more complicated than Tess ever thought. Especially after she receives a message that turns her life upside down.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Suicide books are always shaky ground, but they can be done well. Things I'm Seeing Without You is not one of those. The only reason I finished it is because I didn't want to DNF it.
There seems to be this problem of male authors writing female protagonists...that don't sound female at all. Tess did not sound like a girl. She sounded like a blank slate mixed with a guy. She didn't make good choices, and her parents were just absentee enough and permissive enough that she got away with a lot.
The whole thing with Jonah was confusing. The timeline felt weird, and I wasn't sure what was true and what wasn't.
The plotline with Grace wasn't that great either. She felt shoehorned in at times and super obnoxious, and I needed the only other female presence in the book to not be someone I wanted gone.
A lot of the plot that I had issues with are spoilers, so keep reading if you want to be spoiled.
Tess finds out, when someone replies to one of the post-death messages she sends Jonah, that he wasn't the one messaging her for the last several months. He handed the reins over to his roommate, Daniel. Who is creepy and weird and has five million red flags that Tess (or her father at the very least since he's not a teenager, and I acknowledge teenagers can sometimes be blind to warning signs) never objects to. Also, Daniel wasn't that interesting either.
There's foul language, drug use, and underage drinking. There's a description of a naked picture, and there's fade-to-black sex.
The Verdict: Not worth your time. I don't know why I haven't given up completely yet on YA books written by guys with female protagonists. The only good one is The Fault in Our Stars.
Will I be adding this to my library?: Nope.