Thursday, November 10, 2011

Review: You Are My Only by Beth Kephart

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, So
phie, 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. . . .

The riveting stories of Emmy and Sophie - alternating narratives of loss, imprisonme
nt, and freedom regained - escalate with breathless suspense toward an unforgettable climax. (summary from Goodreads)

You Are My Only is quite a quick read, but one full of emotion. It's a book you won't forget anytime soon.

It tells the story of Emmy, a young mother who's child is stolen from her backyard during the mere moments she leaves Baby alone while she collects a blanket from inside, and Sophie, a teenager who has spent her life running from town to town with her mother and living each day locked inside their home in order to avoid the No Good. Emmy's story begins as she takes just those 13 stairs up and then back down, only to find Baby gone, and continues through the weeks she is unable to deal with the loss. Sophie's story begins when she ventures outside to get to know the boy next door and his two lovely Aunts, and in doing so finds herself brave enough to discover truths hidden from her all her life. These truths have far reaching impacts and will change everything Sophie thought she knew and believed.

Kephart has written You Are My Only through the alternating points of view of Emmy and Sophie. This worked really well, building the tension with each swap between the two as devastating events are revealed. The pace really flowed so that I found myself reading the book in just one sitting, desperate to figure out answers to the questions you can't help but ask. Kephart made sure to save those much needed answers to the very end, however, and I enjoyed much of the suspense as I wondered just what kind of truth would be uncovered. Certainly you begin with an inkling of what's happened, but as I read I began to think it might not be everything that it seems after all, and so my heart sped up on multiple occasions as it all came together.

I felt for both Sophie and Emmy, and I loved pretty much all of the supporting characters, especially Joey and his two Aunts. Miss Helen and Miss Cloris's kindness was so lovely to read and I definitely wish that I could've gotten to know more about them. You Are My Only never felt bogged down, and I think that's because Kephart gave us just enough about these characters to understand their place and their motivations, without getting lost in any unnecessary - even if wanted - detail. The focus remains on Sophie and Emmy, and each touched me in their own way. At first I was more eager to read Sophie's parts, as it seemed obvious that the answers I wanted would come through her. Sophie's want to believe in her mother and be her best for her warred with her need to know a truth she felt deep down had been kept from her, and it's a battle you can't help but respond to. Still, Emmy's point of view is equally heartbreaking and frustrating, as she fails to find Baby and suffers an emotional breakdown. By the end of the book I found both point of views to be compelling and emotional. Then there's the ending, which I'm sure will effect anyone who reads it. While I loved it, I can't help but wish there had been just that little more, especially in terms of Emmy's life, but also about Joey and his Aunts. I do feel like I have some questions unanswered, though I'm the first to admit it's about details that are not wholly necessary to the hope imbued in the ending as it stands.

You Are My Only is a thoroughly beautiful and heartwrenching read that will appeal to both adults and teenagers alike, and leave it's mark on all. It's truly best summed up by Miss Cloris's philosophy, that tragedy and blessing sometimes occur at the same time through the same thing.


Publisher: EgmontUSA
Published date: 25 October 2011
Pages: 256

Many thanks to EgmontUSA and NetGalley.


  1. I LOVED this book, and Beth is such a fantastic writer.

  2. @Serena It's a gorgeous book, right? I love it too. :-D I don't believe I've read anything else of Beth's, but I certainly plan to!

    Thanks for commenting!