Debut Review: If You’re Out There – Katy Loutzenhiser

Debut Review: If You’re Out There – Katy LoutzenhiserIf You're Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser
Published by Balzer + Bray
Published: March 5, 2019
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four-stars

After Zan’s best friend moves to California, she is baffled and crushed when Priya suddenly ghosts. Worse, Priya’s social media has turned into a stream of ungrammatical posts chronicling a sunny, vapid new life that doesn’t sound like her at all.

Everyone tells Zan not to be an idiot: Let Priya do her reinvention thing and move on. But until Zan hears Priya say it, she won’t be able to admit that their friendship is finished.

It’s only when she meets Logan, the compelling new guy in Spanish class, that Zan begins to open up about her sadness, her insecurity, her sense of total betrayal. And he’s just as willing as she is to throw himself into the investigation when everyone else thinks her suspicions are crazy.

Then a clue hidden in Priya’s latest selfie introduces a new, deeply disturbing possibility:

Maybe Priya isn’t just not answering Zan’s emails.

Maybe she can’t.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I’m a sucker for a book with a good friendship aspect. I under the draw of writing the frienemy, but I love a good female friendship that has its ups and downs but still can withstand the test of time. And I love a story that deals with the possibility of losing that friendship and how that affects one or both parties. If You’re Out There is a book that explores but with a twist and it was done remarkably well.

In If You’re Out There Zan is starting the year off without her best friend, Priya, who just moved to California. As if that isn’t bad enough Priya appears to have ghosted her, only showing up on social media to post pictures of how wonderful her new life is. While trying to figure out how to navigate her Priya-less world, Zan meets the new guy at school, Logan. He isn’t anything Zan is looking for, but he is there for her when she needs him, especially after she starts to notice something strange in Priya’s photos that makes her think…maybe she wasn’t ghosted after all. Maybe Priya is actually in trouble.

What I loved most about If You’re Out There was the focus on how friendships are hard and tricky. Like all relationships they take work and when one person isn’t there the work feel harder and not worth it. It showed how easy it is to let go of a friendship if you don’t fight for it when there is something to fight for. Zan refused to believe that her friend would just ghost her. She knew her better than anyone else and she fought for that feeling, even when she seemed crazy to everyone around her and felt crazy to herself. She fought and fought for her friendship because she believed her friend would fight for it too if she could. To me that showed what true friendship is about and why I loved the book.

I also really loved the mystery aspect of the story. Was Priya really ghosting Zan or was she in trouble? I was never really certain to be honest. I never knew which way the story was going to go because both options seemed plausible. I also liked that Logan was there to listen to Zan when no one else would. That was another huge highlight. Also helped that he was adorable.

All in all I highly recommend this debut by Katy Loutzenhiser. It hits all the right notes and will keep you reading until the end. Definitely a need to read book to add to your TBR.

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