Home Reviews You Are Here—escape the heat and fall into a story

You Are Here—escape the heat and fall into a story

You Are Here|Eva Woods|Sphere|ISBN: 9780751585315|€15.99

You are Here by Eva Woods is everything you need to escape the heat and fall into a story.”

by Catherine Murphy

I often wonder about those Sliding Doors moments. Like in the Gwyneth Paltrow movie there are spikes in our lives when we have to make a choice. Take the left road, or the right… Take the bus or the tube… Move there or stay here… Buy the book or don’t buy the book…

(Spoiler: in this case, definitely buy the book.)

In You Are Here by Eva Woods, Ellie Warren is faced with a big choice. A huge one. She’s supposed to be getting ready for her own wedding but she’s lying under her childhood bed, freaking out. Her mother keeps knocking on the door. Her best friends and her relations are all in the house around her, and yet there she is, still lying under the bed, thinking…

What if she didn’t make the right choices?

What if she didn’t take the right roads?

Roads to happiness

Ellie sees a box of her stuff under the bed beside her. The little things we carry around from a lifetime of memories: a Barbie doll… a snow globe from Paris… diaries… a toy stethoscope… One after another, she looks over all of them, each a talisman from the dreams she’d made and never seen through. 

Suddenly, Ellie is thrown into a panic, her mind darting all over the place as we read the different decisions that bring us through her life, to her eventual Happy Ever After.

Because—again, spoiler—we will get to the happiness in the end, even if there are some difficult places to visit along the way. You are Here is always going to deliver what is promised. When it finally came, I adored the end.

Perfect tension

First and foremost, Eva Woods writes really well, whether as Woods for her commercial novels or writing thrillers under her own name, Claire McGowan. Her characters are well drawn and solid, and the tension is perfect. The plot moves quickly with her way of deftly delivering us through one situation straight into the next.

Woods also doesn’t shy away from the difficult stuff—trauma, pain and heartbreak. I was really moved (nope, not spoiling this one for you) at a particular part. I found myself pushing on because I had to know when it would be okay again, and of course life isn’t always okay.

Some things are never going to be okay, and when this happens, Woods gently brings us through the situation, easing the sorrow.

Strong central character

Ellie herself is a strong woman and a great central character. She is always in control of her own destiny, even when undecided as to which way to turn. She takes responsibility for her actions and that’s a glorious thing in a main character.

Her friends support her, but they don’t support unconditionally. They also stand for what is right and what isn’t, and they are rarely quiet when they need to speak.

I loved Michelle—may we all have such a good friend standing alongside us.

Gentle and clever

As the options are laid out through the book and the story progresses, we meet different people who mirror particular qualities of Ellie’s, and I really liked the morality to the book, along with the romance. Ellie’s decisions have consequences for those around her, as well as for her. I like how Woods takes a dip each way and we see what might have happened, for better or for worse.

Back home, the Warren family are like many families—they’re a bit lost, and they’re trying to cope with each situation that comes up. They don’t have it easy. Perfection lies only in fairy tales, and this book isn’t a fairy tale. It’s gentle and it’s clever, and it’s warm and it’s sad. It’s romantic, and funny, and sweet. And most of all it makes me think about all those moments I had to choose, and what if…

And that in the end, it’s ok—because in the world of You are Here, we will always find our Happy Ever Afters. Even if things don’t always work out in life, at least they do in books.

Happy summer reading – You are Here by Eva Woods is everything you need to escape the heat and fall into a story.

Catherine Murphy