Cover Image: Take Me With You When You Go

Take Me With You When You Go

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Member Reviews

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Leviathan and Niven are solid YA authors and to have them partner up just made sense. I loved the formatting of emails. It created a faster flow to the story as well as captivated me as a reader. I appreciated the ending as well as the plot twists. The story didn’t seem unrealistic in that it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. And the cover is honestly one of my favorites ever.
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Ezra and Bea have a horrible home life.  Their mother is neglectful and their stepfather is abusive.  One morning Ezra wakes up to find Bea has left, leaving behind an email address hidden where only he would find it. Bea has moved to a new city looking for answers from their past and searching for someone who may not want to be found.  

This was a tough book to read.  Told in emails between the two siblings it deals with themes of abuse, abandonment, neglect, and trauma.  It is terribly sad, I often just wanted to give these two characters hugs, but it was also a story that had a lot of hope and showed that there is kindness in the world even when it has to come from strangers.  The plot was less important than their internal dialogues and struggles as they moved forward through their trauma and found their way back to each other.  The character development and exploration was the biggest strength in this book which is something that both David Levithan and Jennifer Niven excel at.

A great recommendation for teens who like to read about tough home lives, or family trauma but with a happyish or at least hopeful ending.
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David Levithan and Jennifer Niven teamed up to write this dual-perspective YA novel tackling heavy topics like grief, love, abuse, and family. Ezra's sister, Bea ran away from home, two months before she's set to graduate high school without letting anyone know. Unsurprisingly, he's upset until he receives an email from her, letting him know she's safe. Through the email exchange between the pair, the reader learns more about why Bea left, but more importantly, the reader also sees how close these two have become in the face of family trauma. 

As I've gotten older, my appreciation for realistic YA fiction has waned, so not surprisingly, this one wasn't a favorite of this year. I thought the authors did a great job of creating tension and a story arc through the email format of the book, but also found some of the scenes within to be a little unrealistic for the medium. I appreciated the dialogue between the main and secondary characters (since without it, this story would have been quite boring), but it didn't feel like something a 9th and 12th grader would put into their own writing. 

While the topics of this book are quite heavy, I think this book would be a great recommendation for a young high school student. It reads quickly, and it has relatable teen characters dealing with relatable teen issues. Some older teens may gravitate towards the message of finding yourself and struggle to discover who you are.
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Okay, first things first, the format of the book.  For those of you that don't like stories told through correspondence, it might be the tipping point.  You see, we're there for everything that happens, but we're being told about it afterwards as they keep a connection between them alive despite all that's happened both with them and to them.  I beg of you, GIVE IT A CHANCE nonetheless because it's worth it!

I love that moment when you figure out what a title means, or why it was chosen, or even, as is the case here, the multiple meanings behind it.  At face value, it makes sense...a beloved sibling takes off to escape all that is their world WITHOUT the only other person they depend upon.  They left them behind, come what may...a situation they never anticipated, and quite frankly weren't ready for.  At second glance, it's not so much about the actual physical take of the other person, but of carrying them in their heart, in their thoughts and actions, as they try to unscramble the omelet that is there upside world.  I mean, these siblings, this brother and sister, have been through hades, and while yes, they knew some things weren't right, they didn't realize to what extent they extended to until it all came raining down.  The downward spiral their lives take is heart stopping, but even in the ultimate darkness there can be hope, and that hope, that spark of what could be, is what carries on in their hearts, making them take those difficult steps forward, reaching for something more.  Were there missteps along the way?  Absolutely!  Were there more shocking revelations to come?  Unfortunately.  Was there any goodness to come from such a dark tinged tale?  Without a doubt.

All in all, it was a remarkable story, both tragic and uplifting, with two lead characters that go through so much, yet ultimately come out stronger on the other side.  Should they have had to?  No...but what's done and what's right are often two very different things, and people have a way of making what they see their own truth, for better or worse.  Good thing these two had each other, even from a distance, because that tether, however tenuous, will become a lifeline they never knew they needed.
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3.5/5 Stars 

One morning, Eza Ahern wakes up to find his sister missing from their home, leaving him behind with his abusive step father and neglectful mother. He finds an email address, left in a place only he would be able to find. He begins writing to his sister, and when she writes back, he wants answers. 

This was a lot more hard hitting then I expected. It's told strictly through emails between two teenagers who have a lot of trauma to unpack. Bea begins as such an unlikeable character and I could not stand her selfish decisions, but eventually her reasoning and motives are unveiled and she becomes more likeable as the story progressed. I loved the development of both of these characters as their communication continues with one another. Ezra becomes so much stronger, and mature, and Bea begins to truly explain her feelings, it was really nice to see. I enjoyed how we also got emails from other characters at times too, it helped tell the siblings stories even more. 

Overall, I enjoyed this unique style of story telling and liked getting to know these characters!
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A beautiful story full of grief and healing and heartbreaking. Well done and will be a hit with my students. Thank you netgalley for this arc in exchange for my honest opinion.
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“What if all the things we do tomorrow - every choice we make, big and small - could somehow change our shitty, messed-up past? Would we suddenly become different people?”

Jennifer Niven is one of my favorite YA authors so I knew I had to read this book. This was my first by David Levithan, but I would absolutely read more from him. These two brilliant YA authors have paired up to bring us a new novel of siblings escaping an abusive family. Newly released from Knopf Books for Young Readers, this is told in a series of emails and packs in so much emotion, a heavy and powerful read.

Bea and Ezra have experienced more than any siblings should ever have to go through. Not having the easiest childhood, Bea runs away, and Ezra feels lost without his sister. This coming-of-age story details their rough upbringing, their hopes and dreams, their love for each other, and their strength and perseverance.
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Take me with you
Sometimes your family is more that just the people related to you by blood. When Ezra’s sister Bea disappears he loses his only support in the world where things are pretty awful. But as he and Bea both search for answers far away from each other they unearth uncomfortable truths about their family. However, they also learn more about themselves and what being a family really means. These characters were amazing and from the start they draw you in and make you want to  be their friend.
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Jennifer Niven never disappoints, and this book is no exception! The back and forth voices are authentic and the story highlights some of the many issues so many young people face today. Split families, homelessness and abuse are real, but so is the love and support that offer hope to these teens.  Thanks for giving kids another opportunity to see themselves and to know that there are ways out.

Spoiler alert: 
My only issue is with the way the book addresses running away from home. While the situation works out fairly well for Bea, I am concerned that the story glosses over some of the real threats to runaways, which might lead some teens to believe it is a viable answer.  It doesn't stop me from loving the book, but does concern me a bit for other kids.
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I enjoyed going on the adventure of what was happening to these characters; knowing that the the authors wrote the book by blind chapters made it interesting. The way in which this dysfunctional family was explored is important.
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This book has a twist that hit me like a freight train. No, I’m not spoiling anything. I just think the way that I was blown away by the twist speaks to just how engaging I found this book. When I came upon the unexpected moment, I literally gasped. This is a book teachers and students need to read. Students need to build empathy or to know they aren’t alone. Teachers need to be reminded that THIS IS REALITY. The portrayal of Bea & Ezra rings true for adolescents & made this all the more accessible & broke my heart just a little bit more with each tragic layer.
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Prepare to cry, readers. The dynamite author combination of David Levithan and Jennifer Niven - what? how was that even legal? - yes, these two mental health advocates and young adult royalty have paired up to write the tearjerker of this fall, just in time for back to school. 

First, let me preface this for you gentle hearts, it will be ok. Take Me With You When You Go is the story of a teenage runaway, Bea, who uses a secret email address to communicate with her younger brother, Ezra, who is still at home with their mentally and physically abusive mom and stepdad. You will worry, like all caring readers, about the fate of these two siblings who are nothing alike, but who are deeply grounded in the same experiences that all they have is each other. 

Where the book really excels is in its realness and authenticity of experience. Perhaps some stereotypes were included but I think its largely drawn from real life and how both the authors have had to reckon with the trauma of mental health issues in their own families. The book tackles how a lot of systems fail our kids and teens. How trauma can push people into deeper spirals or force them forward into an unknown. And along the way, there are helpers, and if this book teaches us anything, it's how we can be helpers. No matter how much time has gone by, or how screwed up we think we are or have been, we can help one another, and sometimes even more difficult to learn, we can help ourselves find a way forward. Keep living and keep reading, dear hearts! This book is a safe place for you to land when you need to. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy.
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I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book is both heartbreaking and uplifting. I know my students will love it as much as I did. 
 Bea disappears in the night, without telling anyone, not her boyfriend Joe, her bestfriend Sloan, or her brother Ezra. She does leave Ezra an email address, in the hiding place where his money used to be (she took it too). 
 The book is written in emails, mainly between Bea and Ezra, as they figure out how to move forward. Forward from the verbal and physical abuse they have suffered at the hands of their mother and her husband.  Forward from those Bea has left behind (except for Ezra). Forward through unanswered questions, through love and loss, and through learning their own worth. Forward to a future neither one believed they would ever have. 

Triggers: Verbal & Physical Abuse.
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Bea runs away leaving her younger brother behind at home with their neglectful mother and abusive step-father. Bea leaves Ezra an email where they can secretly communicate. Through their emails we learn about Bea's reason for running away and how Ezra gets through his days without Bea.

I was very excited when I first learned about this book. Two of my favorite authors writing a book together? Dreams do come true! The story is told through letters (emails to be exact) and it worked very well for me. I thought it made the story more personal and engaging. Bea seems selfish at first but she really cares for Ezra so much and will do anything for him. Ezra is an incredible character as well as his very supportive boyfriend, Terrence. I liked the sibling relationship in this book. It's not perfect but it's real and very relatable. I also liked the surprising twists though the unexpected romance was unnecessary in my opinion. Overall, this is a very touching and heartfelt story.

tw: parental abuse/neglect
disclaimer: Thanks to PRH and the author for providing a free digital review copy via NetGalley. This did not affect my overall opinion of the book.
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I absolutely loved this book!!! I felt just about every emotion possible while reading this book. The authors did a superb job making me feel like I was a part of this story. I felt so close to Bea and Ezra. I really enjoyed the writing style! It was really personal. I just wish I could have listened to the audiobook while I was reading. I bet it is going to make the entire experience even better!
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Thank you to netgalley for providing an egalley fore review. David Levithan and Jennifer Niven know how to write soul wrenching stories and putting them together in "Take Me with You When You Go" promises for and ugly crying gut punching tale, and succeeds. Of course, this is told with characters that make you care about them and make you hate them, depending on the character. Family is sometimes who we choose, not who we are stuck with.
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✨ The Title/Cover Draw:
I am not sure what drew me to this book initially to be honest. But thank you to @getunderlined @jaimerockstarbooktours and @netgalley for allowing me to read this ahead of publications and help promote it!

💜 What I liked:
This story was told between Ezra and Bea in email format after Bea has run away. For the first half of the book, I was riveted as the reasons why she left were slowly being revealed.

😱 What I didn’t like:
Unfortunately, the last half of the book had a pacing issue for me. There was a lot more musing and reflection and I caught myself being distracted. However, the ending was satisfactory.

🚦 My face at the end: 😊

💭 3 Reasons to Read:
1. Mysterious Premise
2. Sibling Lore
3. LGBTQ+ main character

🕧 Mini-Summary:
Bea runs away from home unexpectedly while Ezra is left to follow the bread crumbs to figure out why. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Received from Netgalley and the publisher.
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I always love a good David Levithan book, and Take Me With You When You Go is no exception. 

My heart bleeds for Bea and Ezra. As difficult as it can be to read about any kind of abuse, David and Jennifer did the characters justice. There are so many flaws, and the parents aren't perfect, because how many times in real life is this the actual case? 

I love the support that Bea and Ezra find along the way. Franco and Irene are God sent. Their selflessness to help Bea is amazing. The fact they recognize that she needs help is huge. 

The email Bea writes to her vice principal telling him that he needs to not be afraid to reach out and help kids who may need it. Just recognizing something is happening is not enough. This cements the fact that adults are not perfect. They may be well intentioned but they make mistakes. This is important for teens and young adults to see. 

I wasn't sure about the email format of this book, with zero other context, but it was done very well. The narrative of the longer emails make you forget this is the character's recounting and not something more. 

As hard as some of the book was to get through, it was a great book.
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Take Me With You When You Go is a deeply moving novel about a young girl who flees a house full of abuse, leaving her younger brother behind.  Told through emails to each other and the other people in their lives, Ezra and Bea unveil a life full of neglect and abuse.  Ezra learns to stand up for himself and Bea discovers things about her life that change everything.  This novel deals very frankly with physical and emotional abuse and neglect from their mother and stepfather.  Ezra and Bea are thankfully able to turn to people they trust to help them, although it is unfathomably difficult for them.  David Levithan and Jennifer Niven have handled the situation between Bea and Ezra and their family with truth and honesty even though it hurt to read at times.  This is an excellent book to open a dialog between teens and adults.  Everyone should read it - it is well worth your time.  Thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read an ARC.
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David Levithan and Jennifer Niven's new YA novel is Take Me With You When You Go.

Fifteen year old Ezra wakes up one morning to find that his almost eighteen year old sister is gone. Things are bad at their house - Darren is an abusive stepfather and their mother is no better, turning a blind eye. Bea and Ezra have talked about getting out, but how could she leave without him?
The authors have chosen to present the book using an epistolary method, which is one my favourite literary devices. The story unfolds through a series of emails between the siblings. Along with Ezra, the reader learns where Bea has run to, what she is looking for, and what the future might hold for her. And along with Bea, we worry at the escalating situation that Ezra finds himself in. 

The missives between the two are hard to read at times. (There are trigger situations) But on the flipside the love between the two is tangible. The two main characters are well drawn and are believable. And sadly, the situations and emotions are also believable. The reader can't help but be behind these two as they try to find a safe place for themselves where they can thrive. 

The supporting cast is just as well drawn. There are some wonderful characters such as Ezra's boyfriend, but you won't have any problem hating Darren.

The authors throw in some unexpected turns for Bea and Ezra that kept the story fresh for me. Endings are only perfect in fairy tales. And sadly, life for many young people is anything but. But the ending the authors imagined is just right. This is a story of sibling love, finding your own footing and making your own future.
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