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.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Tags: Contemporary, Friendship, Suspense, Romance, POC, Family
(I received a free copy of this book, thanks to Balzer+Bray and Edelweiss, in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinions on the book.)
If You’re Out There was an engrossing contemporary read. It centers around the solid friendship between Priya and Zan, and had some romance and mystery wrapped in the story.
There were a few instances where I got irritated at Zan like how she was quick to make outlandish assumptions on her BFF’s attitude but so slow in figuring out Logan’s situation. Some of her reactions felt unrealistic, as if the author made her slow in connecting the dots just to fit into the plotline. Like, Zan couldn’t spot obvious clues and that frustrated me and pulled me out of the suspension of disbelief. This was a major gripe of mine while reading Katy Loutzenhiser’s book.
The romance didn’t give me a tingly rush but I enjoyed it nonetheless. There were moments where I was like ‘Go girl! Make him feel the pain!’
“…there’s a certain degree of freedom that comes with the total loss of dignity.”
The characters were mostly likeable and I loved her little brother, Harrison! Such a cute fella! I also related to Zan’s doubts and hurt feelings about, possibly, being ghosted/dumped by her best friend. The range of emotions she went through felt real, the doubts followed by disbelief followed by hurt and then anger.
Zan was, on hindsight, quite selfish. I also found her behaviour not entirely right/legal when it came to dealing with the situation with her BFF. It’s unhealthy and unrealistic for readers to be sent the message that your friend would only ghost you if they were in a situation akin to Priya’s. Also, can we please have more nuanced characters? They don’t always have to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, black & white, bubbly & quiet.
Mystery-wise it was slightly wonky, as in, the author made me think it wasn’t one thing and then proceed to switch lanes a chapter later. It was kind of hard to believe but at the same time, it felt plausible.
‘Stars can’t shine without darkness.’
Despite all these points(which make it seem like I didn’t like the story!) there was something about If You’re Out There that just captured my interest and I breezed through it in two sittings! That RARELY happens!
Parental Guidance: 13+
Violence – Mention of a gun, one act of physical violence. Some mention of drugs.
Sex – Some references of sex and sexuality
Religion – No
Profanity – Yes, several uses of the F-word and others but not overflowingly.
Recommended for: Readers who enjoy a somewhat light mystery in a contemporary setting, with a side of romance.