Emory “Emmy” is the good one. Not strong-willed like her beautiful older sister, Maddie, and not difficult like her brother, Joey. She takes up as little space as possible. When Joey returns from rehab, her parents ask her to act as his guardian. She’s also expected to keep on top of her grades and hold everything together after the tragic events of that summer. The only person who makes her feel seen is her secret lover, Gage, but no one can find out about that… How long can Emmy keep up her careful balancing act before it topples?
Kathleen Glasgow’s previous YA novels, Girl in Pieces and How to Make Friends with the Dark, packed a powerful punch, dealing with themes of homelessness and grief. Her latest novel, You’d Be Home Now, continues to tackle big, challenging themes — this time focusing on teenage drug addiction and how it affects a small-town American family and school community. It’s an incredibly moving, gripping and eye-opening read that is suitable for readers aged 14+ or mature YA readers.
You’d Be Home Now demonstrates that you can never know if someone is struggling internally. Siblings Emory and Joey come from a well-off, seemingly perfect family, yet are both dealing with major challenges. Joey’s battle with drugs at such a young age is confronting, yet it’s important to read about an issue that affects many young people.
The rumours that circulate Heywood High are a central element to this book, and something that I’m sure many school kids will relate to. Glasgow even includes text messages and Instagram posts in the book. Emory is a strong protagonist, trying to be there for her brother whilst navigating her own relationships and growing up. Teenage relationships, sex and revenge porn also feature here, making You’d Be Home Now a relevant read in dealing with such contemporary issues.
You’d Be Home Now picks up pace throughout, leading to a heart-stopping finale. Ultimately, this gritty YA read hits hard, yet it is also hopeful, moving and champions the strength of sibling bonds in getting through hardship.