This is How I Find Her
by Sara Polsky
Original Publishing Date: September 1, 2013
Length: I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is no way influenced my final opinion of the book.
Obtained Via: Netgalley
Format Read In: E-ARC
Book Length: 174 pages
View at the Traffic light:
Sophie Canon has just started her junior year when her mother tries to kill herself. Sophie has always lived her life in the shadow of her mother’s bipolar disorder, monitoring her medication, rushing home after school to check on her instead of spending time with friends, and keeping her mother’s diagnosis secret from everyone outside their family. But when the overdose lands Sophie’s mother in the hospital, Sophie no longer has to watch over her. She moves in with her aunt, uncle, and cousin, from whom she has been estranged for the past five years. Rolling her suitcase across town to her family’s house is easy. What’s harder is figuring out how to build her own life.
This is How I Find Her surprised me in the end. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than I expected. I remember requesting this, forgetting about it, and then not being able to remember WHY I requested it in the first place because it really didn’t sound like my kind of book. And in the end, it wasn’t, but it was still rather decent.
There were parts of This is How I Find Her that I really liked. Sophie’s dealing with her mother was well done, I think. I’ve never been a caretaker for someone with a mental illness, but I have been a caretaker for someone who is sick, and I definitely thought This is How I Find Her portrayed those ups-and-downs well. At sixteen, Sophie doesn’t really get to live a life of her own because she’s spending all her time caring for her mother.
I really loved the relationship between Sophie and her mother. It’s tense, of course, but they really do love each other and it’s easy to see. It was quite difficult at times to see Sophie’s mother portrayed on the page just because I never knew what was coming–a happy memory, or a scary one? And seeing Sophie visiting her mother in the hospital made me ache a little bit for her. I’ve been there, it’s tough.
However, while all that was done pretty well, there were definitely some things I wanted MORE of in This is How I Find Her. It’s quite short, and sort of suffers from a weird syndrome: Having a lagging middle and not enough of an ending all at the same time. The middle of this book is mainly just Sophie thinking over and over again about her life and going to school. There’s no forward motion for too many chapters, and too many flashbacks too early, before I cared about the characters.
There’s some parts of the book that pick up eventually, but by the end, I still wasn’t quite satisfied. Sophie sort of has learned she wants to live her own life, and she takes some steps towards that, but not enough for me to believe that anything will ACTUALLY change for her. Sophie makes friends, but nothing makes me as a reader think it will last. Same with the almost-romance. It just ended too soon, before I could really embrace Sophie at the end of the book.
Final Impression: I think this book suffered a bit because of it’s length. There just wasn’t enough time for me to get REALLY invested in the characters, and I wasn’t sold on the resolution. That being said, I think This is How I Find Her did a few things really well that I appreciated. I liked it, but I probably wouldn’t pick it up again. 3/5 cupcakes.