P.S. I Miss You was probably one of the most heartwrenching books that I have read not only so far in 2018, but all time. It was a tearjerker, it was inspirational, and it was so beautifully written and emotionally gripping that I couldn’t put it down and read the entire book in a single sitting.
Books that revolve around family are my favorite books – especially when they feel real. They are full of flawed characters, of mistakes, of sibling relationships, and realistic relationships that involve divorce, step-parents and siblings, and different situations that are easy for all readers to relate to.
P.S. I Miss You focused on family, with a strong emphasis on a relationship between two sisters and their parents, and a single problem in the family that caused it to fall apart.
“It must be lonely there.
Maybe I can keep you company.
Write back soon.
P.S. I miss you.”
Evie misses her older sister, Cilla, who was sent to live with a great-aunt after she had become pregnant. Since her parents are strict Catholics, they would not accept her pregnancy or allow her any peace, so she was sent away until after she had the baby. Of course, this broke Evie’s heart, because Evie really loved her sister and looked up to her. So when Cilla is sent away, Evie decides that she will start writing to Cilla, even though Cilla doesn’t really write her back at all. While it hurts Evie that her sister hasn’t been writing back, she continues writing to her, telling Cilla about everything that is going on in her life.
“Thou shalt not do this. Thou shalt not do that. Thou shalt not do anything.
What if we want to do this or that? ISn’t it more important to be happy than to follow some thousand-year-old law about not eating meat? Or not wanting the cute new boots Miri showed up wearing yesterday?
Or not liking girls.”
Although Evie and Cilla don’t actually speak throughout the novel, with the exception of flashbacks, Evie still tells her sister about everything – the feelings that she has toward the new girl in school, her parents, and even the religion that she has grown up into.
When Evie finds herself questioning her own sexuality and even her belief in God, she misses her sister even more. Things start to get strange when Evie finally gets a letter or two back from Cilla, telling her to stop writing and forget her, but Evie doesn’t stop writing – she continues, this time insisting that she is going to find her sister and convince her to come home.
“Even if you’re not answering these letters, it’s still nice to write you. It’s nice to write your name. It’s proof that you exist, even if every trace of you is gone from the house. These letters are the last thread connecting me to you, as strong and invisible as the thread on a spiderweb.”
P.S. I Miss You is one of the most beautiful books that I have ever written about family. I adored Evie and her determination to help her sister, and I felt every ounce of heartbreak and happiness as she felt it. That’s how you know you have a great main character – if you can actually connect to them and feel what they feel, get excited for the things that they are excited for, and love what they love. I loved how Evie talked about Cilla and how she and Cilla were incredibly close. Evie and Cilla clearly had a wonderful bond, and it was inspiring – Evie went through a lot of emotions over Cilla’s pregnancy and move, and it was painful and sweet at the same time, because at the end of the day, she loved her sister and did not judge her like her parents did.
I didn’t care much for Evie’s parents, and since I didn’t grow up in a Catholic home I’m not that familiar with just how strict they can be, except for the books I’ve read, like this one. Evie’s parents allowed their own daughter to be taken away to have a baby somewhere else, and didn’t even allow Evie to talk about her – pretty much abandoning both of their daughters when they needed them most.
I would have loved to see more of Evie’s blossoming relationship with the new girl in school, because I thought the author did a wonderful job of bringing it to life. Evie’s struggle with her sexuality, especially growing up in the shadow of her sister’s “mistakes” and her parents’ heavy judgement really brought a lot of emotion to the book.
While I was able to figure out the big “twist” in the book way before it was revealed, it was still a heartbreaking thing and I really don’t understand why it was handled the way that it was. I won’t say anything else about it, because I don’t want there to be any spoilers, but I guess I was expecting the book to end a bit differently, even though I knew what was going on.
This is a beautiful book for middle grade readers, although I’m 28 and loved it so much. It was one of those books that I know for a fact that I’m never going to stop thinking about, and I’ll probably end up rereading it several times.
Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Jen Petro- Roy was born, raised, and still lives in Massachusetts, even though she rejects the idea that snow and cold are ever a good thing. She started writing in third grade, when her classroom performed a play she had written. It was about a witch and a kidnapped girl and a brave crew of adventurers who set out to save the day. As a kid, numerous pictures of Jen often featured Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins books clutched in her hand, so it was just a matter of time until she started writing her own books for children.
In the past, Jen has worked as a teacher and a teen and children’s librarian. She loves running, board games, trivia, and swimming, and has a mild obsession with the television show Jeopardy! P.S. I Miss You is her debut novel.
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