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YA Review: If You're Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser

Title: If You're Out There
Author: Katy Loutzenhiser
Year Published: 2019

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 304
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2019 Google Reading map)USA (IL and IN)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): After Zan's best friend moves to California, she is baffled and crushed when Priya suddenly ghosts. Worse, Priya's social media has turned into a stream of ungrammatical posts chronicling a sunny, vapid new life that doesn't sound like her at all. Everyone tells Zan not to be an idiot: let Priya do her reinvention thing, and move on. But until Zan hears Priya say it, she won't be able to admit that their friendship is finished.

It's only when she meets Logan, the compelling new guy in Spanish class, that Zan begins to open up about her sadness, her insecurity, her sense of total betrayal. And he's just as willing as she is to throw himself into the investigation when everyone else thinks her suspicions are crazy.

Then a clue hidden in Priya's latest selfie introduces a new, deeply disturbing possibility: Maybe Priya isn't just not answering Zan's emails. Maybe she can't.

Review: This book kept me up until 11:30 reading to finish it last night. That is way past my bedtime. For that reason, I am giving it a 4.5 even though for a few reasons, I am tempted to give it a 4.

I like Zan and can understand how she feels now that her best friend has moved away. There are so many students who have that one close friend and when that person leaves or is out sick from school, they are at a loss. But, this is a YA novel, so of course, a new student shows up and fills a bit of the void. That sounds flip and I don't mean it to be, Logan is a good character, the kind of guy I would have been friends with in high school.

The use of social media in this novel is well done. I liked reading the texts, emails, and posts that were included as they were realistic and how best friends would talk to one another. Especially the posts. As Priya posts about how perfect life in California is, it made me think about how people only put their best life out on social media and not necessarily reality. 

And reality vs the "show" is what this book is all about. I can't say more without ruining the storyline, but yay for best friends and knowing everything about each other (and yay, too, for "safe words.").

The tension in this book definitely kept me reading even though I feel like the ending was a bit unsatisfactory and quick.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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