Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Caragh Reviews - Are We There Yet? by David Levithan

Published - 5th February 2007
Publisher - Harper Collins
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - Sixteen-year-old Elijah is completely mellow and his 23-year-old brother Danny is completely not, so it's no wonder they can barely tolerate one another. So what better way to repair their broken relationship than to trick them into taking a trip to Italy together? Soon, though, their parents' perfect solution has become Danny and Elijah's nightmare as they're forced to spend countless hours "together." But then Elijah meets Julia, and soon the brothers aren't together nearly as much. And when Julia suddenly decides that maybe it's Danny she's really interested in, Danny has a decision to make: does he honor his relationship with the brother he thinks hates him, or does he follow his heart, which sorely needs some repairing of its own?

Christmas Day, 2011. That was the day I discovered David Levithan and since then I just can't get enough of his writing. There's just something about Levithan that really appeals to me. Though it feels like it's leaning towards YA, it also deals with very adult issues too such as sex, family, careers - particularly in Are We There Yet? Unlike his co-written books with Rachel Cohn, it took longer than usual to really get to know the Danny and Elijah but interestingly, by the end of the book I felt incredibly close to them. That's probably helped by the fact that we learn things about Danny that Elijah doesn't know and vice versa. 

On the surface, Are We There Yet? is a book about two brothers who, somewhere along the way, became separated and who are forced together on a trip to Italy. The book is split into each place they travel and Levithan applies some great travel writing, showing us the sights and sounds of Italy as well as unraveling the layers between Danny and Elijah. 

The plot was simple, easy to read and thought-provoking as always and Levithan has only moved further up on my list of favourite authors. I'd recommend him to anyone aged 16+ or mature younger readers (some adult content in his books!)

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