Review: Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni

Things I'm Seeing Without YouFrom Dial Books:

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.

When the only boy Tess Fowler has ever loved—a boy she only ever met once—dies, she drops out of school and basically drops out of life. She doesn’t know how to grieve for Jonah, the boy who filled up her heart and thoughts through texts and Facebook. So she goes to live with her dad where she finds herself a part of his unorthodox funeral planning business. But when she receives a message through one of Jonah’s accounts, everything gets twisted even more upside down and sideways.

Peter Bognanni’s young adult novel Things I’m Seeing Without You (Dial Books) follows a girl navigating grief in an age of online relationships and social media. Even though Tess and Jonah only met once, the connection she felt for the boy in the computer was as real as if he’d been right next to her the whole time.

Things I’m Seeing Without You could easily fall into the land of the depressing, with it’s heavy topics of death, suicide and grief, but Bognanni’s dark humour creates just the right amount of balance.

Tess is quite different than a lot of female narrator’s I’ve read lately—she can be crude and sarcastic and makes perhaps a few too many sex comments than is entirely necessary. She always has a very fresh way of viewing the world around her. I really enjoyed that the descriptions in the book were down-to-earth, rather than elaborate, gushing paragraphs about love and life beyond. It felt very honest, raw… Think John Green’s Looking for Alaska with a bit of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants thrown in.

This is a book about connection, love, and loss. It’s a beautiful, bittersweet story of relationships in a plugged-in world, with unexpected twists, laughs and tears. I highly recommend.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (4/5 hearts)

Things I’m Seeing Without You is available September 2017.

This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. #PRHPartner

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