Pretend She’s Here by Luanne Rice | Middle Grade me would love this

Posted February 21, 2019 by Sophia

Pretend She's Here by Luanne Rice | Middle Grade me would love this

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Content and Trigger Warning: This book contains content that may be triggering to some, which we will try our best provide below the synopsis.
Pretend She’s Here by Luanne Rice | Middle Grade me would love thisPretend She's Here by Luanne Rice
Published by Scholastic on February 26, 2019
Genres: Young Adult
Format: ARC, Physical
Source: Publisher

Emily Lonergan's best friend died last year.

And Emily hasn't stopped grieving. Lizzie Porter was lively, loud, and fun -- Emily's better half. Emily can't accept that she's gone.

When Lizzie's parents and her sister come back to town to visit, Emily's heartened to see them. The Porters understand her pain. They miss Lizzie desperately, too.

Desperately enough to do something crazy.

Something unthinkable.

Suddenly, Emily's life is hurtling toward a very dark place -- and she's not sure she'll ever be able to return to what she once knew was real.

From New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice comes a breathless, unputdownable story of suspense, secrets -- and the strength that love gives us to survive even the most shocking of circumstances.

A copy of the book was provided for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore does not affect the opinion or content of the review.

I didn’t want to read Pretend She’s Here at first.

But as I read the synopsis, Luanne Rice’s latest book sounded dark and twisted and Pretend She’s Here sounded very much like a book up my alley. I love a book that is dark.

I found myself pleasantly surprised… and disappointed at the same time.

There were a few things that worked well with Pretend She’s Here and a few things that didn’t, but some of it is a matter of my own personal tastes. 😅

1. Flashbacks work well here (for the most part).

As much as I’m not a huge fan of a ton of flashbacks, this worked really well! Although Emily Lonergan lost her best friend Lizzie Porter a year ago, she continues to grieve over Lizzie’s death. The flashbacks helped reinforce her friendship with Lizzie and how much the two meant to each other.

2. I love the family support.

Emily comes from a somewhat large family and she keeps her family in mind to help her survive each day she is stuck with the Porters, who returned to town to come and visit. Instead of coming and going, however, they take Emily away and have her live as Lizzie. Through the flashbacks, we find out Emily and her family are a close-knit group despite the size, and they’re supportive through the ups and downs.

3. Engaging storyline.

For my personal enjoyment of the book, I wasn’t a huge fan. I found myself interested in continuing Pretend She’s Here, but I also found myself putting a distance with the book. While there is a solid storyline that will keep readers interested in finding out what happens to Emily, everything comes together easily. However, I loved the ending when the characters reflect on everything that has happened, and I know full well younger me would have loved this book. I highly recommend Pretend She’s Here for fans of April Henry or for those who are interested in the bigger picture rather than the thrills and excitement.

pretend she's here luanne rice

Sophia started blogging in February 2012 for the hell of it and is surprisingly still around. She has a GIF for nearly everything, probably listens to too much K-Pop and is generally in an existential crisis of sorts (she's trying her best). In 2020, she graduated with a Bachelor's in Communications and minor in Women's Studies. More of her bookish reviews and K-pop Roundups can be found at The Arts STL.

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15 responses to “Pretend She’s Here by Luanne Rice | Middle Grade me would love this

  1. This one has been on my radar, and I think I will like it from you have mentioned in your review. A solid friendship and family focus always scores points for me.

  2. Glad that you gave this book a try and (kind of?) enjoyed it! I agree with you that flashbacks can be tough to execute in my opinion, but they are so powerful when done well – great that it worked here and gave a bigger glimpse into the family support.

  3. I found myself pleasantly surprised… and disappointed at the same time.- I had to laugh because an eARC I’m reading right now…this is exactly how I feel while reading it. I like it enough to keep going but I’m like ‘meh’

    At least, you got through this one! Hopefully, your next read is like a 5 star one! The book sounds interesting but not something I would go out of my way to read, so, I’ll wait and see if a friend gets it so I can borrow it lol

  4. Sam

    Oooo this sounds like an interesting read as books with solid supportive families are so few and far between, However, I don’t think It is quiet up my alley, as I didn’t get OMG COME HITHER MY BEAUTIFUL NEW CHILD vibes from the synopsis. Happy to hear that you enjoyed your time reading this gem though!

    • LOLOLOL but there are books I read that will scream those words at you so we’ll try again when there’s another very positive review on the radar. 😉

  5. You found yourself putting a distance with the book. I’ve felt the same way and didn’t know how to describe it! I enjoy a story but I can easily set it down and continue later. Thanks for the wonderful review:)

  6. Hi I don’t remember what my next read was, and maybe Goodreads can help me out but I already have a bunch of tabs open so I’ll pass on that. On a side note, though, Pretend She’s Here is definitely something you have to be in the mood for and I think quiet and slow sounds like a good plan!