Author: Beth Kephart
Publish Date: October 25, 2011
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Emmy Rane is married at nineteen, a mother by twenty. Trapped in a life with a husband she no longer loves, Baby is her only joy. Then one sunny day in September, Emmy takes a few fateful steps away from her baby and returns to find her missing. All that is left behind is a yellow sock.
Fourteen years later, Sophie, a homeschooled, reclusive teenage girl is forced to move frequently and abruptly from place to place, perpetually running from what her mother calls the "No Good." One afternoon, Sophie breaks the rules, ventures out, and meets Joey and his two aunts. It is this loving family that gives Sophie the courage to look into her past. What she discovers changes her world forever. . . .
Emmy had a difficult life. She was a young bride, a young mother and even younger to lose a child. Emmy didn't just lose her child though. Baby was stolen from her front yard in a single instant when she left her for just a moment. Losing Baby meant losing herself, and in losing herself, she lost it all. Sophie is a young teenager with the world on her shoulders. Her mother is world-weary and rigid in her rules. Sophie knows to listen and to obey, but when she meets Joey, she finds that friendship might be more important than essays on Kepler. But Sophie's mother has a secret that spans Sophie's entire life, and uncovering it will tear their worlds wide open.
When I read the premise for You Are My Only, I was sold in an instant. Dark and moody, the synopsis is haunting and draws the reader in. Veteran author, Beth Kephart, is no stranger to issue-driven books. Written in a fantastic and unique writing style, You Are My Only manages to combine illustrative descriptiveness with sparse and wordless pages. By intertwining the two, the prose is rich and balanced, haunting and riveting; all the while drawing the reader into a world where lies are the very foundation of the characters' worlds. You Are My Only doesn't shy away from pain, but rather sings the story of two lost souls whose pain fuels the fire of self-discovery.
I completely mean what I say when I say the writing of You Are My Only was beautiful. That said however, I struggled a bit with this one. I think the writing style was brilliant, but my main issue was the alternating chapters between Sophie and Emmy. Their voices were almost identical, which I could reconcile with because of the connection between the characters, but I felt a bit of a disconnect between the two because of the different time periods between Emmy and Sophie. It felt like it was happening at the same time, and yet it couldn't have been. I loved that You Are My Only dove right into the action from page one with Emmy losing Baby, but I struggled after that, as the plot sped along at the pace of a runaway train. I had a hard time getting into her head, and when Sophie was thrown into the mix, balancing the two was a bit tedious. I think that the secondary characters in You Are My Only stole the show, too. Arlen, Aunt Cloris, Aunt Helen and even Sophie's mother were more well-defined than they were. The ending was beautiful, haunting and poetic but, yet again, a little too rushed. Honestly, my opinion is that this book could have been perfection had it been fleshed out a bit more because it had all the right elements.
Despite my issues with the book, You Are My Only was a really good read. It was fast, and it had a writing style that will stick with me. I give it a 3 out of 5, and I'd recommend it to all fans of the YA and adult genres, especially to those who enjoy contemporary fiction and issue books.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.