6 October 2017

Review #641: You Don't Know Me but I Know You by Rebecca Barrow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Anyone who ever wondered how much they could love a child who did not spring from their own loins, know this: it is the same. The feeling of love is so profound, it's incredible and surprising.”

----Nia Vardalos

Rebecca Barrow, an English author, has penned a heart warming and extremely compelling debut teen fiction called, You Don't Know Me but I Know You that is centered around a young high school teenager, who has a loving adoptive family, great friends and a charming and kind musician boyfriend and both are looking forward to their future excitedly, but then this young teenage girl's life changes when she has to make difficult decision that her birth mother made for her a decade ago. This story is all about families, love, friendships, choices, motherhood and ultimately about honesty above everything.


Rebecca Barrow’s bright, honest debut novel about chance, choice, and unconditional love is a heartfelt testament to creating the future you truly want, one puzzle piece at a time.

There’s a box in the back of Audrey’s closet that she rarely thinks about.

Inside is a letter, seventeen years old, from a mother she’s never met, handed to her by the woman she’s called Mom her whole life. Being adopted, though, is just one piece in the puzzle of Audrey’s life—the picture painstakingly put together by Audrey herself, full of all the people and pursuits that make her who she is.

But when Audrey realizes that she’s pregnant, she feels something—a tightly sealed box in the closet corners of her heart—crack open, spilling her dormant fears and unanswered questions all over the life she loves.

Almost two decades ago, a girl in Audrey’s situation made a choice, one that started Audrey’s entire story. Now Audrey is paralyzed by her own what-ifs and terrified by the distance she feels growing between her and her best friend Rose. Down every possible path is a different unfamiliar version of her life, and as she weighs the options in her mind, she starts to wonder—what does it even mean to be Audrey Spencer?

A decade ago, Amanda, a 16 year old teenager, gave birth to a baby girl, but then gave her up in a closed adoption to a woman named, Laura, along with a letter addressed to her daughter. 10 years later, while holding that same letter in her hands, Audrey wonders that whether she is going to repeat the same mistakes just like her birth mother. Welcome to the life of a high school teenager, named Audrey Spencer, of mixed race, living in her loving adopted family home and with a ambition to become a photographer. Audrey has great set of friends, a very cool bestie and a caring and hot boyfriend, Julian, sadly their love-making turns fatal when Audrey falls pregnant out-of-the-blue, despite of their using protection. Now Audrey is left with only two choices, either give birth to the baby and give the baby up for adoption, like her mother did a decade ago, or go for an abortion. This enduring journey of hers will not only push her away from her loved ones and will put her at odds, but will also help her grow and understand life and herself even better than her birth and adopted mothers.

I could not believe it even for once while reading, that this is Barrow's debut book, since the story line is so tight, captivating and so much striking that it felt like the story is unfolding right before my own eyes and even though the story line is "so-been-there-read-that" kind, yet the author brilliantly concocted the story without using annoying analogy or stereotypical teenage drama. The cherry-on-the-top of this story is the journey, that not only overwhelms the young protagonist, but will also overwhelm its readers so much. This is the kind of book that teenagers, mostly young girls should be encouraged to read, since it will help them grow and understand the reality in a better way.

The author's writing style is extremely eloquent and is laced strongly with evocative emotions that hold the power to move its readers deeply. The narrative is articulate and free-flowing and will resonate with so many young minds who have gone through the same challenges. Also the dialogues are very close to realism and minus the drama, they will simply intrigue the minds of the readers till the very last page. The pacing is smooth and swift with so many unpredictable moments that will keep the readers on their edges till the very end.

The characters from the book are extremely well developed, complete with realism and multiple layers to make them look relatable in the eyes of the readers. For a teenage fiction, centered around a sensitive issue like teenage pregnancy, the depiction of the teenage protagonist is a paramount factor, as she ultimately becomes an epitome towards those who will read this book. And author, Barrow, has done that flawlessly by portraying a young voice, whose background might be broken, dark and unknown, but her well being is empathetic and apprehensive, and that makes her somewhat headstrong and mature enough to not to step off on a wrong foot. Audrey is intelligent, passionate and sweet, yet when pushed under a difficult challenge, she embraces it and survives it with the best possible choice, that is unforeseeable towards the readers. Even the supporting characters, especially, Audrey's adopted mother, Laura, is an extremely understanding woman, she loves Audrey like her own flesh-and-blood and her character proves that not all adoptive parents are means towards their kids. Next in row is Julian, Adam, Rose and rest of the lot around Audrey, all stood by her like a rock and never once pushed her o make a certain choice. Each and every characters, in one word, are very encouraging enough to make them so realistic and like a role-model towards the readers.

Yes, this story of Audrey who gets pregnant in her teenage years is an exemplary story that must be read by one and all, especially by the parents who have adopted children.

Verdict: This gripping and enlightening book is strongly recommended to everyone!

Courtesy: Thanks to the publishers from Harper Collins India for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.

Author Info:
Rebecca Barrow writes stories about girls and all the wonders they can be. A lipstick obsessive with the ability to quote the entirety of Mean Girls, she lives in England, where it rains a considerable amount more than in the fictional worlds of her characters. She collects tattoos, cats, and more books than she could ever possibly read. You can find her on Twitter @RebeccaKBarrow.
YOU DON'T KNOW ME BUT I KNOW YOU coming Summer 2017 from HarperTeen!
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