Book 2: You Are My Only by Beth Kephart

You are my Only by Beth Kephart is a beautifully written novel of love, loss, regret, and discovery. The story is told in alternating voices, beginning with the teenaged Sophie whose mother packs up and relocates when the “no goods” knock on the door. Sophie has never gone to school, is not permitted to leave the home, but is book smart due to her mother’s homeschooling. Sophie falls in love with the boy next door, who leads her on a difficult and exhilarating path of righting the life of wrongs she has been a victim to.
The second voice is the teenaged Emmy who, in a moment she will regret for the rest of her life, leaves her baby outside while she runs in to grab a blanket. Baby is stolen, and Emmy’s emotional break down lands her in a psychiatric hospital. Emmy continues to suffer after the kidnapping of Baby, both with her own freedoms being revoked, and watching her roommate’s taken away as well.
This story is not an easy one to read, and the ending is not your typical happy ending. It’s no Living Dead Girl, and the reader is not left smiling, but pondering. The story of kidnapped youth have been popular this year, most notably Stolen by Lucy Christopher, a 2011 Printz Award honor book, and Room by Emma Donoghue. Both of these, despite being award-winning and hugely popular, respectively, focused so much on the kidnapping aspect that the reader could not get away from it. Kephart, on the other hand, used the kidnapping as an undertone. You knew all along that it happened, but it was not overtly mentioned on every page, keeping the reader from reading and grasping the rest of the story.
I will recommend this book to mature 12 year-olds and up. It is poetic in its writing, beautifully descriptive, honest, and intelligent.

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