Review Blog

Oct 11 2019

If you're out there by Katy Loutzenhiser

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Balzer + Bray, 2019. ISBN: 9780062865670. 320p. Hbk.
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Themes: Friendship, Mystery, Romance, Social media. An engrossing story featuring female friendship and a mystery is sure to engage both fans of suspense and those who like a romance. Zan is devastated when her best friend Priya ignores her calls and emails after moving to California. Her social media posts don't sound like her at all and she can't believe that Priya would just leave her hanging without saying why. With Logan, the new boy at school, she begins to investigate what has happened to Priya even though everyone believes that she should just let go of the past. A clue in Priya's latest selfie and then a cryptic email make her continue on her search for her friend.
Zan is the sort of friend that everyone would want. She believes that she knows Priya so well that she can't be the shallow person posting comments and selfies and so she decides to try and do something about it. Logan, who has lots of problems of his own, is a supportive and helpful friend and the dialogue between the two is witty and humorous. Family dynamics play an important background role in the story with Zan's mother giving advice from her therapist viewpoint, and Zan coming to terms with her father's treatment of her when her parents split. Loutzenhiser's skilful writing also gradually brings to light Logan's bad boy background story in a satisfying way and keeps the reader in suspense wondering whether Priya has ghosted her friend or whether she is in trouble.
With its themes of social media, relationships and a diverse set of characters, this light and easy to read story is sure to be popular and its theme of female friendship is one to recommend.
Pat Pledger

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