You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz

you are not here
In this heart-breaking verse novel, Annaleah is devastated when she gets the call that her sometime boyfriend Brian collapsed on the basketball court at the park and died. Just like that, Brian is gone. The situation feels surreal and Annaleah is in a state of shock. “It was absurd/that I had dirty laundry/and that Brian/was dead.” She goes to his funeral, even though she’s never met his parents and doesn’t know his friends. Now Annaleah has to manage all the conflicting feelings she had for the boy she only dated for three months and who she was never really sure of. Of course she feels grief at all the things they will never do together: “I will never/take a trip with you./I will never/dance with you at prom./I will never/know if we had a future/beyond this summer./ I will never/know if you would have said,/‘I love you.’” But she also realizes that their short relationship was far from perfect. “I wonder what it would have felt like/to have a relationship with Brian/where I wasn’t always questioning/and worrying/and feeling so alone.” After spending the summer visiting Brian’s grave, nursing her sorrow and avoiding her friends, Annaleah begins to wonder who she is without Brian’s grief to bear. “Feeling sad/has kept me busy–/it’s been my job./And if I come here less,/what will I have?” But then she meets quirky Ethan at the pizza joint where she works and finds out a secret about Brian that casts their brief relationship in a whole new light. Can Annaleah put the past and Brian’s ghost behind her? Or will she allow the memory of her lost love to destroy her ability to make any new ones? Samantha Schutz’s second book is a sad yet interesting look at the phenomenon of grieving over a relationship that never really was. 1 weepie.

9 thoughts on “You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz

  1. Thank you for posting this! It’s so nice to hear (see) someone retell the story in their own words. Check around Oct 1st for a new website with all sorts of info…and a photo contest! Best, Sam

  2. Does the cover seem to be taken from the same portfolio as “Such a Pretty Girl” by Laura Weiss? My first thought was, “Oh no! A bouquet of molestation survivors!”

  3. Is this the author who wrote a free verse memoir of her panic attacks when she was a teen and college student, “I don’t want to be crazy” —–I loved it! When I do nonfiction booktalks this book is always grabbed!!!

  4. I just finished this book yesterday and I loved it! I initially thought it would be a typical, kind of cheesy, romance novel, with the twist of death thrown in. But for me, it was so much more.

    Great pick!

  5. Hi, I already read you novel and it’s so heartbreaaaaaaaaaking. The flashbacks described there is showing there almost perfect relationship but sadly, they’re not legal. And the most hurtful part is, she can’t express herself in front of the people about she love him so much and can’t share about the things they do 😢 Still, this story, your story taught us to appreciate everyone or everything around us before it’s too late. And remember to be strong enough no matter how the rage extremely to let us down 🌿


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