This is How I Find Her
By: Sara Polsky
Published: September 1, 2013 by Albert Whitman & Company
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!!)
*Note: The above links to Amazon, Book Depository, and Booksamillion.com are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.
Goodreads description--Sophie has always lived her life in the shadow of her mother's bipolar disorder: monitoring medication, making sure the rent is paid, rushing home after school instead of spending time with friends, and keeping secrets from everyone.
But when a suicide attempt lands Sophie's mother in the hospital, Sophie no longer has to watch over her. She moves in with her aunt, uncle, and cousin--a family she's been estranged from for the past five years. Rolling her suitcase across town to her family's house is easy. What's harder is figuring out how to rebuild her life.
And as her mother's release approaches and the old obligations loom, Sophie finds herself torn between her responsibilities toward her mother and her desire to live her own life, Sophie must decide what to do next.
I can already tell that This is How I Find Her is one of those books that isn’t going to get the recognition it deserves. This book was really, really good guys! Seriously! This is another one of those books where I need to clarify that while I love love stories, I just generally love stories that make me feel deeply. This Is How I Find Her does have a romantic relationship building, but that relationship is not the focus of this book as a whole. I didn’t quite cry or bawl my way through This Is How I Find Her, but I did tear up and it was an emotional read.
As the description says, This is How I Find Her is about Sophie deciding how much of her responsibilities for the past 5 years she can continue to handle by herself and how much she needs other people to help her. Sophie’s mother is bipolar. Without having been too close to anyone who has bipolar disorder, I thought the description of Sophie’s mother and her highs and lows felt very real. Sophie begins taking care of her mother from more of a parent role than child around the age of eleven. About the same time, Sophie enters middle school—a time where self-discovery is critical—loses her two best friends, and finds herself completely alone with such a burden of responsibility on her back. Sophie still isn’t in the best of places. She’s very lonely, and while she loves her mother very much, she just has too much on her very young shoulders. I completely felt for Sophie. I connected with her on so many levels—holding her tongue most of the time, but occasionally letting out how she really feels in an angry whirlwind. She’s depressed, scared, and as I’ve already said, lonely most of all.
Sophie is what makes this book. Her friends and family want to help, but they’ve been away for so long, it takes a long, painful, and slow process for Sophie to allow herself to open up to others and ask for what she needs. And it takes everyone else a long time to realize their own mistakes and missteps. One of the loudest messages I got from This is How I Find Her is about assumptions and perceptions. Sophie went so long without asking the questions in her head. Because she didn’t ask, she went years without getting the information she needed and craved. And relationships began to drift apart. She saw everything one sided—though she had no reason to assume there were other sides. But this book proves why communication is so essential to the preservation of relationships.
This is How I Find Her gets 4 stars. I’m keeping my eye out for more by Sara Polsky. Have you read This Is How I Find Her? What did you think? Let me know!