I’m Not Missing, by Carrie Fountain
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Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Length: 336 pages
Times Read: Once
Rating: What a great debut about the one who’s actually not missing
When Miranda Black’s mother abandoned her, she took everything—the sun, moon, and stars—and Miranda found shelter in her friendship with Syd, who wore her own motherlessness like a badge of honor: Our mothers abandoned us. We won’t go begging for scraps.
When Syd runs away suddenly and inexplicably in the middle of their senior year, Miranda is abandoned once again, left to untangle the questions of why Syd left, where she is—and if she’s even a friend worth saving. Her only clue is Syd’s discarded pink leopard print cell phone and a single text contained there from the mysterious HIM. Along the way, forced to step out from Syd’s enormous shadow, Miranda finds herself stumbling into first love with Nick Allison of all people and learning what it means to be truly seen, to be finally not missing in her own life.
What I Liked: This was an incredibly well written, if a bit slow in places, debut novel about two best friends who have been left by their mothers to fend for themselves with very different fathers. I have heard surprisingly little about this one, and had seen nothing about it before I received an ARC, but it looked right up my ally so I was excited to give it a try and BOY AM I GLAD I DID.
♥ Miranda. Heyyyyy girl, thank you for providing me with a play-by-play of my incredibly awkward first “romance,” and how weird it was to have to ACTUALLY SAY THINGS TO EACH OTHER and like, be in classes together? And try to decipher if they meant to touch your arm or if you just wanted them to want to touch your arm? And then if things go weird, you’re just like, supposed to still sit in class with them like YOUR VERY SOUL ISN’T TORTURED EVERY DAY I MEAN WHAT?
So Miranda is awkward with Nick, yes, but it’s a very sweet awkward. It’s an awkward that those of us who weren’t totally sure of ourselves have lived and felt ourselves. She has a great relationship with her dad and the rest of her family, she’s tried to make her peace with her mother abandoning the family, and she’s been a really great friend to Syd. I really liked going along this journey with her, all the way up until the end when she did something DUMB but it’s okay, she fixed it pretty quick so I forgive her.
♥ Nick. HI NICK LOVE YOU. I mean, we can all admit that Nick is the best, yes? Even after the prom drama, where Syd harassed him for months after he stood Miranda up for prom (not a spoiler, this is in your intro to him), he handled it so gracefully, and when you get to the whole backstory there? GAH MY HEART.
♥ Miranda’s Dad. I can’t imagine that being the father of a motherless daughter is easy, but this is very much the relationship I wish I, a motherless daughter, could have had with my dad. Miranda’s father takes over, learns to cook, is totally there for her, and teaches her not just about working for NASA, but about life and about being kind. When Nick comes into the picture, her dad takes him under his wing and starts his own relationship with him, letting Nick talk to him separate of Miranda. One of my favorite quotes from the book comes after Syd flees and Miranda starts finding out some not great stuff about her best friend.
“I think I hate her.” -Miranda
“That’s fine. But I think that has to be besides the point right now.” -Dad
When Miranda asks why, her dad simply says because that’s not how they treat people. When Nick later leaves his house and needs a place to stay for the night, Miranda tells her dad she told him to stay with them because it sounded like what he would say. He’s a good person, and he’s taught Miranda to be a good person. He’s a good dad, and he never even tried to get his daughter to care about his NASA “thingies.”
♥ Casual Feminism & Consent. I LOVE when a YA book has consent and feminism sprinkled throughout instead of being entirely ABOUT it. Nick is always careful to check in with Miranda to make sure she was okay with how things are going, all the way from their first kiss to when they start talking about having sex. Miranda tells him that her answer is yes. Unless his is no. Then maybe hers is no too. And then Nick says maybe my favorite awkward piece on the subject ever.
“It can be. Yes. A no for me. Yes. It feels like a no for you. Honestly. Even though you’re saying it’s a yes. I’m just–seriously—I’m just on the level of straight-up consent 101, Your yes doesn’t sound like a yes.”
If you’ve never seen this whole thing, please go see this whole thing it’s amazing
What I Didn’t:
⊗ Syd. I can’t say a single thing about this girl b/c spoilers abound but holy shit, Syd.
Favorite Quotes: “It was so hard loving someone and hating them at the same time. It took so much work, so much effort and precision.”