Saturday, June 22, 2013

Review- When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney

Goodreads Summary:

Filled with humor, raw emotion, a strong voice, and a brilliant dog named Sandy Koufax, When You Were Here explores the two most powerful forces known to man-death and love. Daisy Whitney brings her characters to life with a deft touch and resonating authenticity. 

Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.

Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.

When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.


Aw, this book was... *opens/ spreads arms/ hands as wide as they can possibly go* THAT good!  It was SO good. But then again, when I first saw the cover and judged the book by it's cover, good is what it was going to be and the best part is that it didn't disappoint. At all. 
Wow. Wow, wow, wow. I am in awe of Daisy Whitney's When You Were Here and I can't even begin to describe how wonderful the story is. 
Danny's mom loses her five year long fight against cancer just a few weeks before her son's graduation, an event she was looking forward to and very much wanted to be part of. 
Danny's dad's last words to his family were that he will see them again soon but he never returns as he dies in an accident. Danny's adopted sister Laini, daddy's little girl, leaves the family when her dad dies to find her true blood and roots in China. 
It won't take rocket science to figure out that Danny is now alone and lonely. All he wants is someone, anyone who will be with him and love him. He was such a darling and sweetheart who I adored from the very first chapter until the end. 
Along the journey that Danny takes to Tokyo to decide what to do with his mom's apartment in the city, to find out more about his mom, her last years of struggle, her belief in Dr. Takahashi's magical medicine, all I wanted was the best for him. I loved seeing Tokyo via this book and it was such a  fresh and lively set up. 
Danny isn't a broken, disturbed or sad boy. Or at least he doesn't show his unhappiness. He is funny, warm and really sweet. All he wishes is to relive his mom's fondest memories, keep his dad's methodology and teachings alive in his day to day life and find peace and solace with everything that he's had to go through. 
Books about cancer usually leave you in a contemplative mood and When You Were Here has left me there too.
Danny's mom was a wonder woman whose memories were filled with colour and full of life. His dad was a gentleman and a fun-loving person. His sister Laini was something else altogether and was nice in her own way. 
Danny's mom's best friend Kate takes care of Danny and her daughter Holland is Danny's crush and girlfriend. Both Kate and Holland were amazing women. When in Tokyo, Danny meets Kana, a super friendly, lively and joyous girl who goes on to become his best friend and confidante.  
And Danny's dog Sandy Koufax! Dogs and I go a long way. I don't remember a time without a pet dog and that's because there's never been a time when we didn't have a dog at home. So I can really understand the  humble, close and loyal relationship between man and dog. God, Sandy Koufax was so adorable and sweet! 
The story of the characters in When You Were Here is the epitome of the phrase "Everything happens for a reason." Each character has reasons for why they did whatever they did and it was mesmerising and beautiful to read about it. 
Author Daisy Whitney's writing is very pretty and Danny's point of view was a wonder to read. This book was full of warmth, emotions and all things wonderful and I loved. Every. Bit. Of. It. It has the right amount of all ingredients that make a book a good read for me- family, love, life, tons of feelings and emotions and messed up stuff thrown in here and there. 
God. Wow. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful- that's what this book is. 



  1. Now everyone seem to be crazy about this book. I've seen it on Goodreads and NetGalley I believe but somehow I never gave it a second thought. But that's why I have awesome friends how point it out to me like this! Now I'm dying to read this book! :) Great review Sarika :)

    1. Right you are, Tanja! You should definitely read this book, I think you'll like it a lot. Thank you! :)

  2. Correct, Aman! They are super good once in a while. :P Thank you!

  3. Right when I saw you gave this book five stars, I had to read your review, and add it to my TBR! Excellent Review Sarika! I love books that make me think, and I do believe that, "Everything Happens for a Reason." I would love to read a book that has a Tokyo setting. This book sounds interesting for so many reasons! Thanks for sharing :)

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

    1. Correct, Lindy! The quote is true and I love it too. I have a feeling you will love this book just as much as I did, so I hope you get to read it soon. :)

  4. Looovee this review! So much. You pinpointed all the things I loved about this one, as well!! Especially all the characters who were lovely. And I also really loved how contemplative and thoughtful and MEANINGFUL this one was. Just wonderful. AND SANDY KOUFAX. Love love love!

    1. Yes! I completely agree with you, Aylee. Thank you so much! Sandy Koufax was the highlight, so adorable! :D


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