Book Review: You Don’t Live Here

you dont live hereTitle: You Don’t Live Here

Author: Robyn Schneider

Pub. Date: June 2, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.75

Robyn Schneider, author of The Beginning of Everything, delivers a witty and heartbreaking tale of first love, second beginnings, and last chances in this timely and authentic bisexual coming-of-age story, perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera.

In Southern California, no one lives more than thirty miles from the nearest fault line. Sasha Bloom is standing right on top of one when her world literally crumbles around her. With her mother now dead and father out of the picture, Sasha moves in with her estranged grandparents.

Living in her mom’s old bedroom, Sasha has no idea who she is anymore. Luckily, her grandparents are certain they know who she should be: A lawyer in the making. Ten pounds skinnier. In a socially advantageous relationship with a boy from a good family—a boy like Cole Edwards.

And Cole has ideas for who Sasha should be, too. His plus one at lunch. His girlfriend. His.

Sasha tries to make everything work, but that means folding away her love of photography, her grief for her mother, and he growing interest in the magnificently clever Lily Chen. Sasha wants to follow Lily off the beaten path, to discover hidden beaches, secret menus, and the truth about dinosaur pee.

But being friends with Lily might lead somewhere new. Is Sasha willing to stop being the girl everyone expects and let the girl beneath the surface breath through?

This will be a spoiler free review.

I’m going to start by saying that I loved this book. I read it in one sitting, went through a range of emotions. I was reminded why I love Robyn’s books and how amazing she is at crafting a story.

With that being said, I struggled to figure out what to rate this book, hence the 3.75 rating. I usually don’t break my ratings into quarters, because it can get way too convoluted, but I felt like 4 was too high, but 3.5 wasn’t high enough.

Like I said, I struggled.

I’m super glad that I got to read Robyn’s next release early, and I’m glad that I get to write this post telling you what I loved about it. I’m so glad that I get to help raise the hype for this book and her other books. Not enough people – in my opinion – read them, and you really should. Robyn is incredible at writing books that connect to you – the reader. Even if you don’t share the same experiences, she crafts these characters and books in such a way that you will connect, you will feel emotions and you will pull something from the book. On some level you will connect, and I think that I absolutely amazing and such a skill at this craft.

I’ve shared none of the main experiences any of her characters in any of her books, yet somehow, every time I read one of her YA contemporaries, I feel seen. It’s almost like she’s looked inside my head and put a voice to something that I’ve felt or am feeling. Whether they’re big things or just little things, I find them on the page, in the book, the characters going through them.

Her characters feel so normal and real and like someone you’d know in your own life. They’re so ordinary and human (and I mean that in legit the best way possible) that it’s hard to not see yourself, or aspects of yourself in them.

You Don’t Live Here is an Ownvoice, queer, coming of age love story about figuring out who you are, how to navigate the world after loss and learning to accept yourself for who you are, and stand up for yourself. No matter what part of that, that you connect with, you’ll connect to something, because everyone is dealing or struggling with something. Robyn does an absolutely incredible job at telling this story, and I’ll definitely be recommending it to everyone – I already am. If this book isn’t on your radar, TBRs, in your Amazon cart, it should be. You should also check out her other YA contemporaries – The Beginning of Everything, Extraordinary Means, and Invisible Ghosts – you don’t want to miss those either.

I thought that You Don’t Live Here was going to become my new favorite Robyn Schneider book, simply because that’s been the pattern. Each new book becomes my new favorite. Surprisingly, that didn’t happen, and Invisible Ghosts is still my favorite. I just thoroughly love that book, and I’ve read it a bunch of times. I know I’ll be rereading this newest one, multiple times, because I loved the story, the message, the characters…all of it.

But I think what kind of stops me from declaring my undying love for this book is the political commentary. I know I’ve talked about my dislike for political commentary in books on this blog before, but I really don’t like it when I read. I read as an escape, and I can’t do that when modern politics are shoved at me. This is just my preference, the same way I don’t like pregnancies in YA books – yes it happens, and yes both of these things are true to real life, I just don’t care for them in my books.

Now, with that being said, the political commentary didn’t break this book for me. It just made me roll my eyes and groan a few times, but I’m sure there are other readers who don’t like, or don’t care for it either.

Other than the person preference of political commentary, I found this book to be amazing and I wish I could wipe it from my mind to read it all over again. For a long time, one of my favorite literary quotes has come out of another novel, but there was a line at the end of this book that I just absolutely loved – so much so, I almost want to go get a tattoo of it.

“The world shoves into you, but you stand tall anyway.”

If you want to talk about a line that summarizes the feeling, I got from reading this book, it’s this one. The last two pages of this book were probably some of my most favorite out of the whole book. I won’t be forgetting this book and its message anytime soon, and I really hope you all fall for this book as hard as I did. This book is going to be so important to so many people who are trying to find their way in the world. Whether you have the same struggles as Sasha, or something else entirely, the way Robyn tells this story, it hits home.

You Don’t Live Here comes out June 2, so make sure you preorder, and if you haven’t already, make sure you check out Robyn’s other books and fall in love with them as well!

One last thing – I didn’t love the cover when it was first released, I thought her other’s were better. Now having read the book, knowing the symbolism, I love it and I think it’s so clever. I’m really excited for y’all to read this book.

Oh, and as a final final comment, hey, Netflix, pick up Robyn’s books and adapt them please! They’d all make fantastic movies, and it’s about time for a YA book-to-movie takeover again!


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