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Tags:architecture, divorce, fate, premonition, romance, family, read 5/13

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Return to Me by Justina Chen

18 (1) Adult Fiction (1) architecture (4) brother (1) college (1) divorce (6) family (4) family drama (1) fate (1) fiction (2) girl (1) identity (1) intuition (1) journal (1) kids (1) love (1) love story (4) morality (1) moving (1) own (1) premonition (1) realistic (3) relationships (1) romance (3) Seattle (1) teen (4) to-read (3) wishlist (1) YA (2) young adult (5)

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Showing 5 of 5
A little too dramatic for me, and I didn't find the MC to be that likable or to even have much of a personality. Characters could have been more developed, and I think it could have done without the epilogue. But it was okay. ( )
  Tahleen | Feb 16, 2014 |
I had a lot of trouble getting through the first 3/4 of "Return to Me." I just didn't feel at all connected with the characters. I found this odd since some of the things Rebecca went through and worried about I can definitely relate to. Still, I just didn't feel a connection. At times I found her very annoying. The other characters didn't make much of an impression on me either. During the last 2 or 3 chapters of the book I finally started to like Rebecca and become interested in her story. However I still wasn't heavily invested due to the earlier disconnect. Still, I finished the book, and I found the ending satisfying. I liked the epilogue since I was curious about the future, but I think the book would have worked without it as well. Overall, I felt underwhelmed by this book. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. ( )
  bitter_suite | Jun 17, 2013 |
Return to Me is an emotional insight into the life of a college bound female who has accepted - and embraced - the idea of her life changing, only to find that the alterations that are coming at her are unexpected and unwanted. Laced with intriguing aspects of magic realism, this character driven story shows us how quickly plans can fall apart, and how unexpectedly amazing picking up the pieces can be.

Rebecca Muir is getting ready to start her freshman year at Columbia, just about as far away from home possible while staying in the continental U.S.. Her parents' announcement that they are moving with her (to New Jersey) is just the beginning of the destruction of her carefully thought out plans. In addition, Reb has spent most of her life suppressing a part of her that could have saved her from the emotional roller coaster of her move, but knowing this fact doesn't make embracing it any easier.

I had some ups and downs with this one. I was immediately interested, as I can relate to the getting ready to spend freshman year at a NYC school. However, some of the middle lost me here and there. I kept looking for that aspect that made the book different from any other contemporary story dealing with the same issues. I did find it, but it took me a little while.

That aspect I am referring to is a slight interweaving of magical realism. Reb comments a few times that the women in her family are "cursed" to spend their lives alone. While this could just be a figure of speech, is it really? Throughout the novel Reb hears this wailing noise and she is not quite sure of what to make of it. She also knows there is a part of her that her mother has taught her to suppress, a part that her grandmother (who they stopped hearing from) has embraced. I liked watching this almost magical part of Reb emerge and learning more about it as she stops trying to detach it from herself.

There are two other facets that add a unique spin to this story. I really enjoyed how Reb is into architecture, especially that of tree houses and fairy villages. There are so many job descriptions that can be tied to a certain character from YA, but this aspiration seems entirely her own, which was refreshing to read. I will not spoil anything, but I also loved how this book puts a positive spin on a post high school option that not many americans take seriously.

On aspect that I really did not like was her boyfriend from home. He seems very perfect and with an absence of real character flaws. He always says the "right" thing (with one exception), yet, I am never convinced by his words or actions. Reb has a deep attachment to him, but again, it never feels real. I really wish he was just taken out of the plot entirely.

All in all, Return to Me is a nice read. The ending really pulled the book up a few notches for me. ( )
  ilikethesebooks | Apr 29, 2013 |
There is nothing that upsets me more than a broken family. Coming from one myself, I found this book to be both hopeful and enlightening.

The plot of the book faces a broken down family. Reb is torn between her parents and their divorce. She thought she knew her father and the image she has of him image shattered before her. It moves quickly between shock to hurt to hope. Each chapter the broken family faces a new dynamic that, what you think may tear them apart is actually making them stronger.

Reb is going through changes and trust issues. Now being upchucked from her home, Reb is questioning everything she thought she knew. I mean, who wouldn’t? Reb is discovering that no matter what her parents go through she can still have her life. She doesn’t have to be afraid of it.

The ending of the book is what places the hope in reader. No matter what crossroads Reb faced by herself and with her family, she made it. She lived her dream. And that’s what counts.

Return To Me is an compassionate story of love and hope. Remember no matter what your parents go through, you don’t have to follow that. You can live your dream and find love. A touch of hope that proves you can accomplish anything, Return To Me is wonderful. ( )
  Bookswithbite | Apr 12, 2013 |
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Always following her parents' wishes and ignoring her psychic inner voice takes eighteen-year-old Rebecca Muir from her beloved cottage and boyfriend on Puget Sound to New York City, where revelations about herself and her family help her find a path to becoming the architect she wants to be.… (more)

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