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.