It feels like something’s opened up to me—not only landscapes and sweeping views, but the future. It’s not clear, but it’s wider than I ever remember it feeling, full of possibility, of places I can go someday.
Some YA books read, to me, like books anyone might read. Others feel like they have gotten right to the heart of their intended audience, which is teenagers, not nearly-50-year-old women. You Have a Match by Emma Lord reads like the latter for me. It tells the story of Abby, who decides to take a DNA test to support her friend Leo, who wants to find out more about his biological family. When the results come back, Leo doesn’t have any matches—but Abby does. Turns out she has a sister, Savvy, and the rest of the book is about them figuring out their relationship and their family secrets.
I am drawn to books about adoption, and this one also includes a bit of hiking, and it’s set in the Pacific Northwest (a place I would like to be more familiar with), plus it’s about sisters (all those being topics I like in books), so I was always going to read this, even before it Reese Witherspoon picked it as a title in her YA book club. I started reading it in the car after Kendell picked up my holds for me, and it was just the escape I needed. (Is that weird? Sometimes I need an escape from a book I’m reading and loving but am also finding dark, which is currently How Much of These Hills is Gold; I intend on picking it back up today but I needed a break from the sadness.) For me (acknowledging that I’m hardly the target audience) it read as a somewhat fluffy, somewhat earnest story that teenagers will love.
OK: that is a chunky, clunky paragraph and I’m finding this review hard to write! I liked this book. I read it really quickly and even stayed up late last night finishing it. But I also found the writing style…well, also clunky. (Maybe it wore off on me?) There were several times the transitions between conversations were actually missing, and the plot points felt like bullets in an outline: first this happened, and then this, and then this, but they didn’t feel vital, if that makes sense. So I’d fall into the stream of the story but then get yanked back out again by the way the story was written. (All the while reading as quickly as I could to find out what the secrets were, and how Abby and Savvy came to be raised by different parents.) Also…the ending. The ending was so neat. Way too tidy and happy-ending for me.
Which of course brings me to my original point: this was a fun book that teenagers will love. Perfect for its intended audience. But as I am not that audience, it fell a little bit flat.
That said, there is a concept I want to remember from the story. Abby’s other friend, Connie, helps her make decisions by making a Connie list. A twist on the usual pros/cons idea, the question is: what would happen if I didn’t do this thing I’m struggling to decide? What would I lose out from not taking this chance? As I am struggling to make some life-altering (or keep-my-life-the-same) choices right now, I am intrigued by this idea.
Glad I read it, glad it helped me escape, glad to have been introduced to that way of thinking through decisions, but not a book I will savor and cherish.