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Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite
"Return to Me" brings readers the story of Reb (Rebecca) Muir just as she was preparing to head across the country to attend college at Columbia University where she planned to study architecture. Reb was looking forward to putting distance between herself and her obsessive mother who ruled with lists and schedules; however, Columbia didn't look quite as exciting when Reb considered she would be leaving Jackson, her boyfriend, or when her mother announced that the whole family would be moving because her father had a new job. The women on her mother's side of the family all had a special gift. They knew things before they happened. Thom, Reb's father, refused to believe in the gift and became a little angry when it was mentioned. Although Reb had the gift she tried to ignore it because she wanted to please her father. In her willingness to please him she was willing to give up her dream of building functional tree houses. Then the unthinkable happened...Reb's father left his family for another woman. Reb and her mother draw closer together and she reconnects with her maternal grandparents.
Justia Chen takes readers on a roller coaster ride of emotions in her book "Return to Me." I was mesmerized by this book. I formed very strong opinions of the characters. I did not like Thom or his girl friend. I loved Reb, Jackson, Reed, their mother and grandparents. The characters are realistic. They are so real that they danced off the pages and right into my heart. The reader experiences the maturing and changing of the characters. Reb matures and learns to help her mother when her mother is devastated and unable to cope. Reb's mother learns that sometimes when you face tough times you come out on the other side happier and stronger. This is a book suitable for middle school and high school but adults will enjoy it too. This tale is filled with romance, compassion, love, hope, heartbreak, and dreams. The genre could easily fall under the categories of relationships, romance, drama and Young Adult. I will be watching for more books by Justina Chen.