Miss You by Kate Eberlen
Published August 2016 by PanMacmillan
Source: the publisher
Rating: 5 stars
From the blurb:Tess and Gus are meant to be. They just haven't met properly yet. And perhaps they never will . . . Today is the first day of the rest of your life is the motto on a plate in the kitchen at home, and Tess can't get it out of her head, even though she's in Florence for a final, idyllic holiday before university. Her life is about to change forever - but not in the way she expects. Gus and his parents are also on holiday in Florence. Their lives have already changed suddenly and dramatically. Gus tries to be a dutiful son, but longs to escape and discover what sort of person he is going to be. For one day, the paths of an eighteen-year-old girl and boy criss-cross before they each return to England.Over the course of the next sixteen years, life and love will offer them very different challenges. Separated by distance and fate, there's no way the two of them are ever going to meet each other properly . . . or is there?
I don't read a lot of adult fiction these days, but when Miss You by Kate Eberlen was sent to me, I could not ignore the adorable cover and the interesting premise: what if you never meet the person meant for you?
I started this after spending a week trying to read another book, a book that left me underwhelmed. So when I finally started this it felt like pure reading bliss. Told from alternating perspectives, I was completely captivated by the lives of Tess and Gus. The author has perfectly crafted two main characters and I was equally invested in both of them.
It's 1997 and Tess Costello has returned home from Italy ready to start university, only to find out her mother's cancer has returned. After her death, Tess is left to care for her younger sister, Hope. It becomes clear that Hope is different to the other children and it takes years before she's tested and diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. Tess' older brothers are both overseas and her father spends more time at the pub than at home. She puts her future on hold and stays home with Hope.
Angus, nicknamed Gus by his first college friend, has recently lost his older brother to a skiing accident. He feels to blame and thinks his parents blame him as well. He enrols in medicine to make his parents happy and starts making a life for himself in London.
The story follows Tess and Gus over the course of the lives, with the end of the book taking place in 2013. Each of their stories was fascinating, something I always think is hard to do in a contemporary book. An author has to work hard to make day-to-day life interesting, and in this case it worked perfectly. Each of them come of age in different ways, making and losing friends, embarking on their first sexual experiences, starting jobs, pursuing passions and then abandoning them.
I won't say whether they do or don't end up meeting, but I know I would have been happy no matter the outcome as each of their stories worked on their own as a realistic look at life, love, and fate. In a typical romance book, the story follows one couple with a predictable ending, but this novel had so much more depth and honesty to it. No love story is as simple as often portrayed in fiction, and I felt a gamut of emotions while reading, culminating with a lot of crying at the end.
I adored Tess' love of reading and Gus' interest in art, running, and cooking. I loved the nod to the title by featuring a Rolling Stones concert. The scenes in Italy were beautiful and vivid, as were the descriptions of their childhood town and London.
Miss You is a compelling love story that's very much true to life. Covering death, grief, family, and destiny, it's a book that will captivate you from beginning to end.
Thank you to PanMacmillan for my copy.
Cover design: Joanna Thomson
I love the adorable simplicity of this cover. I used white nail polish as a base and acrylic paint for the design.