Review + Giveaway: Return to Me by Justina Chen Headley

December 27, 2012 ARC, Book Review, Coming of Age, Contemporary Fiction, Giveaway, Justina Chen Headley, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, Return to Me, YA, Young Adult 25

Publication Date: January 15th 2013

From Goodreads:

Nothing is going as planned for Rebecca Muir. She’s weeks away from starting college–at a school chosen specifically to put a few thousand miles of freedom between Reb and her parents. But her dad’s last-minute job opportunity has her entire family moving all those miles with her! And then there’s the matter of her unexpected, amazing boyfriend, Jackson, who is staying behind on the exact opposite coast.
And if that isn’t enough to deal with, mere days after moving cross-country, Reb’s dad drops shocking, life-changing news. With her mother and brother overwhelmed and confused, Reb is left alone to pick up the pieces of her former life. But how can she do that when everything can change in an instant? How can she trust her “perfect” boyfriend when her own dad let her down? Reb started the year knowing exactly what her future would hold, but now that her world has turned upside down, will she discover what she really wants?
Justina Chen, the acclaimed author of North of Beautiful, has created a moving and powerful novel about the struggles that arise from betrayal, the uncertainty of life after high school, and the joy that ultimately comes from discovering what’s truly in your heart.



Return to Me is a beautiful story about coming together as a family and discovering who you are.

Reb, short for Rebecca, thinks she has everything sorted out. She is going to college at Columbia to study to become an architect and plans to break up with her boyfriend to avoid a long distance relationship she is convinced wouldn’t work. Her family is also making the move across the country, due to her father’s new job in NYC. She is a complete daddy’s girl and often writes her mom off as just being a controlling dictator who is obsessed with to-do lists. But something happens that changes everything…

When we are first introduced to Reb and her father, they seem to have a great bond. He seems supportive and loving, a great father who wants great things for her. But as soon as the entire family moves across country and into their new home, BAM! He drops a bomb that he has been having an affair, and decides to leave his wife. This made me RAGE. I mean, what was the point of having them all move then?? They hadn’t even unpacked! Talk about a midlife crisis. But what we see from this situation is Reb really coming together for her family. She starts to realize how amazing her mom is and how much she wants to help and support her to move on and pick up the pieces of their lives. She had mistaken her mom’s actions before for controlling when in fact it was always concern. The whole family comes together, Reb, her mom, her brother, and her divorced grandparents. It was so refreshing and beautiful to see a family become so strong after something so terrible.

Besides the events happening to her family, Reb is also discovering her dreams for her future might not have been completely her own, and had been heavily influenced by her father. She has a lot to figure out, but she was such a gracious spirit. And what I perhaps loved the most, was how committed her boyfriend was during this whole ordeal. She had let her fears from her father’s decisions and family curses come between them. But, he refused to give up! He was constantly sending texts of love and encouragement, but also stepping back when Reb, or Rebel as he called her, needed. He was so sweet and I almost wish we got even more of him, but this isn’t a story of romance. This is a total coming of age novel about a girl and her mother finding themselves.

The only gripe I had with this novel was the addition of Reb and her family’s sixth sense and premonitions. I could have done without it BUT it all ties into embracing who they are in certain ways so I get why it was included.

If you love a good coming of age story, then I would definitely recommend you check this one out!

I will be giving away my ARC of Return to Me to one lucky winner!

Giveaway Rules:

1. Giveaway is US/CAN only!
2. Must be at least 13 years old to enter.
3. Winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be selected.
4. I am not responsible for any lost, stolen or damaged items.
5. Please follow the entry directions in the rafflecopter. (I do check and will delete entries that do not follow the directions. If you have any questions on how to enter, please ask!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

25 Responses to “Review + Giveaway: Return to Me by Justina Chen Headley”

  1. Rachel

    Great review! I like how you mentioned that you wanted more of the boyfriend, but how this isn’t a romance novel. I read Justina’s NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL, and it was like that too. Sure, there was some romance, but the novel wasn’t based on that, so it wasn’t a big focus. Thanks for the giveaway; I’m looking forward to this book!

  2. Adriana (BooksOnHerMind)

    I’ve read North of Beautiful by this author and although I liked it I felt it didn’t have that something for me to fall in love with it.
    This story though sounds really great. I love that she thinks the long distance relationship won’t work but the guy actually tries unlike in other books. That doesn’t make me like Reb’s decision making all that much but it’s understandable. I love romance but books with a family coming together appeals to me greatly as well. Thanks for the giveaway (:
    Sheโ€™s Got Books on Her Mind

  3. Alyssa Susanna

    I have never heard of this book, but it sounds interesting! I haven’t even read NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL. To my understanding, this one is a contemporary, which is great, since I’m back in my contemporary fandom phase. Great review!

  4. Candace

    I’m REALLY REALLY looking forward to this book! I absolutely fell in love with North of Beautiful and the wait for this has been excruciating (no, I’m not exaggerating, at all ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I’m glad that it was a pretty good book and hopefully I love it but I’ll try not to have too high of expectations.

  5. Angela Chen

    I’d love to read this book! I absolutely loved North of Beautiful! The characters, the plot, the writing, everything. <3 I can't wait for this to be released, and I'd love if I got an arc. :D

    Thanks for the giveaway ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Erika

    This sounds like an insightful coming of age story and I’ll be adding it to my to-read list. Love the cover too! Thanks!

  7. starryblue

    I loved reading North of Beautiful. This definitely sounds like a wonderful coming of age book and I think it’s a splendid that she had a supportive boyfriend.

  8. ohdamnbooks

    Wow, I can already tell that Return to Me will make go through a lot of emotions while I read through it – mainly anger at Reb’s father. I hate it when parents have affairs.

  9. let it be

    Loving the sounds of this book. I enjoy a good read about family. Never read anything by this author before. Thanks for your review ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Whitney H.

    I really like how the review introduces us to the major event that gets the story moving while still leaving much to be discovered about the journey that Reb takes as a result of it. I think this sounds like a very interesting book and I would like to read it. Thank you for the review!

    Whitney H.

  11. Bree

    Great review…I hadn’t heard of this book before, but now I want to check it out! It sounds sweet and touching and it’s nice that it’s a contemporary NON-romance book!

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    Bree ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Megan Bowie

    Thanks for the giveaway! The book sounds really interesting. I like coming of age stories since so many people in this world just never seem to grow up and mature. That’s not to say that we should let go of our innocence, but we should be able to look at things rationally and not like a middle/high schooler.

  13. Cari

    Sounds like a really great story. Yeah sometimes you have to wonder if they add the added paranormal twist just to be current and does it really need it. Great review!

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