Publication Date: 25th October 2011
Book Source: Egmont USA & NetGalley
Synopsis: Emmy Rane is married at nineteen, a mother by twenty. Trapped in a life with a husband she no longer loves, Baby is her only joy. Then one sunny day in September, Emmy takes a few fateful steps away from her baby and returns to find her missing. All that is left behind is a yellow sock.
Fourteen years later, Sophie, a homeschooled, reclusive teenage girl is forced to move frequently and abruptly from place to place, perpetually running from what her mother calls the "No Good." One afternoon, Sophie breaks the rules, ventures out, and meets Joey and his two aunts. It is this loving family that gives Sophie the courage to look into her past. What she discovers changes her world forever . . .
This is a story full of subtleties; quietly moving, intimate, aching, escalating in tension and quite beautiful.
Once I understood the reason for Beth's writing style in You Are My Only, I fell in love with it. I guess it may not be appreciated by everyone but when you think about an author's means of conveying such emotion in a small time frame, it makes perfect sense.
I also love stories with alternating narratives, especially when done well and Beth portrays Emmy and Sophie with insight and compassion. Emmy's voice is almost breathless, loose and disjointed but at the same time poetic which is extremely fitting considering her distressing & pitiful circumstances.
“I have Baby’s sock in my purse. I have the smell of her in my heart.”
It was wonderful to see Sophie gain courage and enlightenment once she had a support network of friends with next door neighbour Joey and his Aunts. In some ways she seemed a lot younger than her 14 years with the running from the unexplained "No Good" but in other ways she was wise beyond her years.
Beth Kephart gives as much attention to her 'minor' characters as she does Emmy and Sophie. I loved Joey and his adorable Aunts, Cloris and Helen and sweet Autumn, Emmy's 'roomie' in the psychiatric institution.
It was easy to relate to the heartache, the circumstances beyond their control but I didn't find this a depressing read. It was equally easy to revel in Sophie's new-found joy in small wondrous things; eating a cookie, flying a kite, having a friend.
I'm wholeheartedly recommending this one to mature YA readers and adults and Beth will go on my "author's who write from the heart" list!
Check out Beth's blog here.