Contemporary · Mental Health · Peter Bognanni · YA

Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni (ARC)

A Break During BookCon
Day 2 at BookCon. I had to rest my feet and eat something. So I snapped a picture of TISWY.

Good morning, readers! The book Things I’m Seeing Without You was on my radar mainly because I had never heard of Peter Bognanni and the book sounded really interesting. So when I was at BookCon this year I saw that the Penguin mammoth-of-a-booth was giving away ARCs for the book, I knew I had to wait it out and get one. I actually managed to get two copies but we will save that excitement for anther post. Maybe. I have not been able to put my BookCon experience in to words. Where was I…? Oh yeah TISWY…now I have read it, and now here are my thoughts about it, so hold on to your knickers! (My friends mom is British…well American now….and she would always say that to us when she was about to do something crazy!)

Before I go too much further, I think you should know the synopsis. So here it is from GoodReads:

Seventeen-year-old Tess Fowler has just dropped out of high school. She can barely function after learning of Jonah’s death. Jonah, the boy she’d traded banter with over texts and heartfelt e-mails.

Jonah, the first boy she’d told she loved and the first boy to say it back. 

Jonah, the boy whose suicide she never saw coming. 

Tess continues to write to Jonah, as a way of processing her grief and confusion. But for now she finds solace in perhaps the unlikeliest of ways: by helping her father with his new alternative funeral business, where his biggest client is . . . a prized racehorse?

As Tess’s involvement in her father’s business grows, both find comfort in the clients they serve and in each other. But love, loss, and life are so much more complicated than Tess ever thought. Especially after she receives a message that turns her life upside down.

20170816_132041217_iOSThis book to me was HER meets All The Bright Places. Maybe not as soul crushing and heart blender-ing as ATBP, but it still had a similar theme and feel to it. I thought this book was going to be about a girl who loses a friend and goes on a self help journey to find herself using her grief as a guiding tool. I was not wrong on that account, but without going into too much detail, because SPOILERS, this book had major technology factors, not like sci-fi futuristic technology but everything revolved around the internet and interacting with people through social media. This book really drove home how much this generation relies on social media. We have connected with people on these platforms and form real online connections that we have started to feel as though we really knew the person on the other side of the screen. But do we really? We show off our best selves for the world to see, but how many of us hide the darkness? How can you truly form a lasting relationship/friendship? That was more what this book was about. In more words of course.

The book itself was an easy read. It was not too heavy, although at one point in the beginning it felt like for me. Mainly because it hit really close to home. I lost a childhood friend who was pretty much my best friends surrogate dad and it rocked us pretty hard. The books main character, Tess Fowler, was the star of the book. If she was not as funny and witty as she was I would not have finished this book. I can say that with 100% certainty. She kept the story going. The book did not touch too much on grief and how Tess was dealing with it. Or not dealing with it, which was more the case. Instead it focused more on spontaneity and going wherever the wind takes you. Which can be good, but not at 17 and grieving…

20170815_180755705_iOSThe title of the book, Things I’m Seeing Without You, surprisingly, was not a common theme throughout the book. You would think it would be. It showed up three times throughout the book if I am remembering right. Once in the beginning , then we do not see it again until chapter nineteen, and then again for the third time around chapter thirty something. This sort of bothered me because the whole book is meant to be about how Tess is dealing with the loss of a friend and one of the games her and this friend played was, “things I’m seeing without you.” If it was monumental enough to be the title, I think it would be more common throughout the book.

This book was not what I thought it was going to be. It did not hold up to the expectations I had. They were not high or super low, but I had them and this book, for me, did not deliver. Maybe you will like it. That is all that matters. Just because I was not super blown away does not mean you will not love it. Every book inspires a reader differently.

This review was on an ARC I received from Penguin Books at BookCon 2017. I am glad for the opportunity to have read it. Finished copy is out on September 2017.

I gave this book 3/5 stars.

Thanks for reading!


Live long and Prosper,

Chelsea K.


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