You Were Here, Gian Sardar: Book Review

you were here gian sardar book reviewG.P. Putnam's Sons / Joseph Schwehr
You Were Here Book Cover You Were Here
Gian Sardar
G.P. Putnam's Sons

What if the past is never buried?

Death, accidental and early, has always been Abby Walters's preoccupation. Now thirty-three and eager to settle down with her commitment-shy boyfriend, a recurring dream from her past returns: a paralyzing nightmare of being buried alive, the taste of dirt in her mouth cloying and real. But this time the dream reveals a name from her family's past. Looking for answers, Abby returns home to small-town Minnesota for the first time in fourteen years, where she reconnects with her high school crush, now a police detective on the trail of a violent criminal. When Abby tries on her grandmother's mesmerizing diamond ring, a ring she always dreamed would be hers, she discovers a cryptic note long hidden beneath the box's velvet lining. What secret was her grandmother hiding? And could this be the key to what's haunting Abby? As she begins to uncover the traces of a love triangle gone shockingly wrong nearly seventy years before, we, too, see that the layers of our lives may echo a past we’ve never known. With mesmerizing twists and a long-buried secret that may finally rise to light, You Were Here weaves together two worlds separated by decades, asking if the mistakes made in past lives can ever be corrected in the future, and if some souls are meant to find one another time and time again. -Goodreads

This review contains quotes from the book.

In You Were Here, Gian Sardar works excellently at capturing the mystery surrounding two generations of women. First, she works Abby Walter’s perspective in the mystery, as Abby starts to have these dreams about actually suffocating from being buried alive. Then, out of nowhere, a name appears out of her dreams: Claire Ballantine. We learn Claire is a part of Abby’s family’s past. So she feels as if these dreams are trying to tell her something important. So she decides to go back home to Minnesota because, maybe, there, she can talk to her family about what is really going on with her.

When she arrives in Minnesota, however, bigger problems start to unfold. She starts to reconnect with her old high school flame, Aidan, (which is a problem since she has a boyfriend). But Aidan is on a quest of his own, he’s searching for a violent criminal. When Abby is home, though, she notices her grandmother’s diamond ring; and upon her discovery, she finds a mysterious note hidden in the velvet lining of the ring’s box. This leads Sardar to explore the secretive past of Abby’s grandmother.

And this is where the book really picks up its pace because you begin to realize that Abby’s grandmother is not who Abby remembered her to be. Actually, we learn she’s been living a concealed life and now it is coming back to haunt her. Which presents the question: what if the past came back to haunt you?

“Now a little girl has the ring and holds it in her small, hot hand. The door to the bathroom is shut; her mother is at work and her grandmother asleep. Carefully the girl places the ring on her thumb, and with each turn of the stone, each reflected color, a moment flashes in her mind-a moonlit dinner by a river, a kiss among vines and white flowers, a breathless confession as footsteps draw closer.”

“But then the door swings open. Her grandmother is standing there, and immediately her eyes find the ring, that ring she’d never wanted to see again.”

“Get it off. Get it off now.

— excerpt from Gian Sardar’s You Were Here

Overall, I would recommend You Were Here to anyone in need of a page-turner this summer. I could not put this novel down, and I don’t think you’ll be able to either once you’ve started. Sardar’s ability to bring her characters to life in such a vivid way was compelling. Like all good books, it made me feel like I was also a part of the mystery, too. Sardar knows how to mend the past and present with such ease that it really helps bring all the players in this story together by the book’s ending, which made for a satisfying finish. You will not be disappointed with this new thriller. I guarantee it.

This post contains affiliate links and if you make a purchase after clicking on our links Paperback Paris will receive a small commission.

Jessica Duffield
the authorJessica Duffield
Contributing Writer
I am a junior in college. Books are my passion and I hope to work in book publishing once I graduate from journalism school.