Book Review – Where Are You by Sally Bryan

First published, 2014

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

A story of lost love, Where Are You, follows chronically-shy, Cambridge physiotherapy student, Erin, and her burgeoning friendship with Italian firecracker, Gia.

When Erin’s anxiety sees her almost fleeing before the first lecture, it’s Gia’s explosive entrance and ready smile that convinces her to move forwards. Within months, the pair are drinking in bars, making friends and rowing for their college.

But when Erin realises she has feelings for her lesbian friend, she gets very lost. Gia is her only friend, and Erin lacks the self-esteem to think that she has any reason to hope. But after a major rowing victory and a night together, Gia disappears, leaving Erin to pick up the pieces.

Ten years and an engagement later, Erin is on her way to Italy, but will she find Gia, or will she learn to be happy with fiancé Ben?

The story is really well thought through. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters, especially charming, Scottish brothers – Mikey and Scruffy.

The shift in the women, from forthright to downcast, and from introverted to confident, was intriguing and very well-observed. The dialogue was crackling, by turns humorous and heartfelt. I loved Gia from the get-go. I think everyone needs a friend like her.

Some of the writing could have done with a clean-up. There were a few missing words, shifts in tense, and run-on sentences which I had to go back and reread to ensure I’d got the hang of what was happening. During the story, we spend a lot of time inside the character’s heads, which slowed the pacing a bit, there was quite a lot of information dumping in the early chapters. Also, this line threw me completely…

(Of Cambridge)
“To think some of the world’s best; Newton, Darwin and Hawkins might have gathered to chat or eat at the exact same spot.”
Forlorn, Chapter Two, Where Are You by Sally Bryan

If there’s a Hawkins I’ve forgotten about, then I offer my sincere apologies but I suspected the author was referring to Stephen Hawking and my eyes rolled all on their own.

That said, it was a good story and I enjoyed it.