May 14, 2019
Blurb: Van Sato’s got labels. Tourettes, ADHD, SPD – words that have defined his existence since the time he was old enough to know what they meant. Now, Van wants to prove he’s more than an acronym, a syndrome, a problem kid. He takes a summer job as a day camp counselor to prove he’s capable of independence and moving on to the next phase in his life. Maybe, he might even make a friend while there. Someone who’s got just as many or even more labels than him. Someone who understands what it’s like.
Tabby Dubanowksi wants to forget about everything, the hospitalization, the judgment, the whispers behind her back. As a camp counselor, she will be admired, looked up to, and able to help people who don’t know anything about her old life. Tabby wants a fresh start and a chance to re-ignite her passion for film-making, if only for one summer.
After running away from their pasts, Van and Tabby collide in a storm cloud of attraction laced with self-doubt, insecurity, shame, and blame. Now, with Van feeling like he might have to quit his job, and Tabby struggling to quell the urge to cut, they will struggle to find themselves in a world designed to keep them apart.
SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW
For years, Tourettes was stereotyped as somebody yelling inappropriate language spontaneously. Of course, typically the individual didn’t have Tourettes and would be making a joke. The one thing I definitely came away with from You, Me, & Letting Go by Katie Kaleski is that Tourettes is really no joking matter.
Both main characters, Van and Tabby, have issues that have made their teenage years beyond difficult. For Van, it’s the mix of Tourettes with ADHD and SPD, the latter two syndromes we learn may go hand-in-hand with Tourettes. For Tabby, it’s anorexia and cutting. As a result, they’ve been sheltered, which makes both of them come across younger than the average 17 year old. As counselors at a day camp, they find each other and begin to make huge advances.
Much of this novel felt very young to me, which is okay. It is YA, after all. But I felt like there were characters who were portrayed as having black and white emotions; some were nasty without nuance. In the text, an explanation is offered, that they’re dealing with their own issues of self-esteem or battling some other issues. I suppose that explanation should suffice, but the reader never really knows if that’s true.
My favorite character was Matt, Van’s best and only friend up until he meets Tabby. Matt befriended Van despite Van’s tics and Tourettes and kept being his friend but not out of pity. He treats him like an equal. I also loved how the very young campers are open to Van and their interactions.
The one issue I have regards the message I gleaned, which may not have been intended. Can a person with “labels” only be with another person with “labels” because they’re the only ones who will understand?
You, Me, & Letting Go very honestly deals with Tourettes and accompanying syndromes, allowing the reader a glimpse of what life is like. Likewise, it offers an idea of what it’s like to live with anorexia, how to move on and deal well in situations in which others have no problems whatsoever.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
One (1) winner will get receive a Starbucks Gift Card
About the Author:
Katie Kaleski has started down many career paths and held many jobs—indie craft store clerk, pizza maker, photo developer, shoe salesperson and cashier, dental assistant in the army, daycare teacher, student teacher—but her favorite one by far is being a writer.
She’s originally from Chicago, so she says things like pop, gym shoes, and front room. Her favorite food
group is sugar, and she loves writing young adult novels.