WHERE YOU END Is A Gritty Look At The Pitfalls of Teen Love

Anna Pellicioli explores what happens in the wake of losing your first love and one girl’s unusual path to acceptance in WHERE YOU END.

Miriam Feldman isn’t quite sure how to recover from the devastation of losing her first love. Up until the end of the summer, she’d been with Elliot for over a year, slowly letting her friends and family fall away. Now they’re done and Miriam watches him, perfectly happy with his new girlfriend, every day at school. It’s all she can seem to focus on until the day she lets out her rage during a school field trip at the Smithsonian… by knocking over and destroying a priceless statue. To make matters worse, a mystery woman sees Miriam’s crime and blackmails her.

The world begins to cave in around Miriam all at once: She’s still clinging on to Elliot. Her blackmailer, who goes by Paloma, slowly reveals herself through a series of strange requests for pictures. Her childhood best friend, Adam, is making one last attempt at pulling her back into the real world. Her parents are trying to tackle her depression through the school therapist, which backfires like crazy. Can Miriam gain her life back and keep her secret with so much pressure all around?

The sweet and sorrowful premise for this story was a real draw, but the execution stumbled a bit. A large portion of the story is focused on the mysterious Paloma and her strange budding friendship with Miriam, but it was very, very easy to guess her secretive life story almost immediately after their first real interaction. Without the mystery there, we sometimes just wanted the story to just get to the reveal.

While WHERE YOU END did a great job humanizing the characters, Miriam could be a hard pill to swallow at times. Surely, heartbreak and sadness can make anyone a bit self-absorbed, but Miriam makes no effort to show care for anyone, including her parents and best friend. She seems to very purposely anger, upset, and avoid them. Never once does there seem to be a consequence for her actions, either. We appreciate her being an artist, but she came off as dramatic and pretentious.
Minor spoiler example: Miriam and Elliot’s break up occurred because Elliot’s father said he didn’t think the arts were all that important. Miriam got mad at Elliot for not sticking up for her, despite the fact that she never stuck up for herself. Then she told him her family survived the Holocaust so she could live her life how she wanted and left in the middle of his family vacation without telling anyone. Yet she thinks she’s perfectly justified and he should have stayed with her.

We loved the close ties to photography and poetry throughout the story. It’s a quiet reminder of the beauty that lingers in Miriam’s world, even when she refuses to notice it. It’s also the passion she shares with Adam, the most likable character in the book. He’s persistent and caring without ever being overdone. We wish there was more of him!

WHERE YOU END certainly has some touching moments, but it isn’t much of a revelation. Still, anyone with a freshly broken heart may find solace in the pages as Miriam rediscovers life after a harsh break up.

RATING: 2.5 Out Of 5 Stars

WHERE YOU END hits shelves on June 8, 2015.


Official Synopsis:

Miriam Feldman was always attracted to the artists, the musicians, the boys who wore broken-down cardigans. Boys like Elliot. Their relationship was intense, passionate, all consuming. When they were together, Miriam knew who she was, in the way you can only know when you’re deeply in love. But then it ended, and Miriam had to move on. Even after Elliot started seeing someone else. Even after she impulsively destroyed a priceless work of art. Even after she was blackmailed by the mystery girl who saw her do it. After all this, Miriam had to go on with her life. If only she knew how.

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