Right Where You Left Me by Calla Devlin (review)
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Reviewed by
Devlin, Calla Right Where You Left Me. Atheneum, 2017 [256p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-8699-6 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-8701-6 $17.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 8-12

Charlotte has always had an uneasy relationship with her guarded Russian-born mother, making the family dynamic tricky whenever her easygoing journalist father heads off to cover the latest disaster. Now he’s been taken hostage in Ukraine, and a desperate Charlotte seeks to take action that will lead to his return, even as she negotiates the changing equilibrium between herself and her mother without him. While there’s a little too much going on here (Charlotte’s also waiting to hear about college acceptance, expanding her photographic talents, and embarking on a romance with a misunderstood rebel), the writing is fluent and stylish, and Charlotte’s engagement with Russian folklore adds depth to her view of her family’s tragedies past and present. The book is insightful about the delicate equilibrium of families; its portrait of Charlotte’s mother, fierce, self-contained and yet dependent, is original and haunting, and Charlotte’s desperate need for her love is beautifully complicated. The parental abduction plot is suspenseful, but it’s the familial struggle that will really strike a chord with readers. [End Page 13]

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