Thursday, January 9, 2014

Where You'll Find Me by Erin Fletcher

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When Hanley Helton discovers a boy living in her garage, she knows she should kick him out. But Nate is too charming to be dangerous. He just needs a place to get away, which Hanley understands. Her own escape methods (vodka, black hair dye, and pretending the past didn't happen) are more traditional, but who is she to judge?

Nate doesn't tell her why he's in her garage, and she doesn't tell him what she's running from. Soon, Hanley's trading her late-night escapades for all-night conversations and stolen kisses. But when Nate's recognized as the missing teen from the news, Hanley isn't sure which is worse: that she's harboring a fugitive, or that she's in love with one.

Where You’ll Find Me starts with Hanley stumbling home drunk and discovering a stranger in her garage as she’s trying to sneak into the house. She doesn’t quite have the mental capacity in her inebriated state to deal with this stranger and after a few awkward exchanges, she goes to bed.  She does deal with him the next day. You’d think that once she’s sobered up she would be freaking out a bit about this guy, Nate, who for all she knows could be a serial killer, who’s been hiding in her family’s garage for some time now.  Instead, Hanley seems to recognize something familiar in him, that sense of something not being right in life and looking to escape. So she allows him to stay and they become friends.

Hanley’s issues involve a very sad incident that she hasn’t gotten over, sibling rivalry and best friends who are equally as lost as she is. Even with past therapy, she hasn't been able to fully heal from the pain she's been holding on to. She doesn't feel that she can go to her parents. As a means to cope, she resorted to becoming a different person with a thick wall around her. For all his mystery, Nate becomes someone she starts opening up to as painful as that is. It's a relief to be able to speak to someone finally but he doesn’t quite reciprocate which does eat at her.

It took a while for Hanley to grow on me. It was hard to like her with her foul attitude, sneaking around and lies. Of course there was a reason for it but until the story got to that point of revelation, I was just annoyed with her.  I knew my feeling towards Hanley stemmed a bit from my being a mother of two daughters. The idea of secrecy and deviousness made me feel so uncomfortable. But once Hanley started speaking truthfully about what she had been grappling with, my heart went out to her.

Nate is a good influence on her. Whatever he has lived through, he reminds her repeatedly to look at things from a different perspective. More importantly, he helps Hanley understand that she’s not the only one suffering. Later Hanley is given the opportunity to step up and be a better friend to Nate and her best friends which is a very encouraging turnaround in her life.

As uneasy as this was to read in parts, I did like Where You’ll Find Me.  It has poignant moments, reconciliations and promises of second chances. On a personal level, it has reminded me to be there for my kids and really listen to them. Oh and to also make sure that the garage door is always closed at the end of the day. Believe it or not, the same night I started this book, I discovered that we had left our garage door open. Thankfully, I realized this before bed. Phew!

~ Bel

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