You Are My Only – Book Review

From Nothing to Big Things, I think. From No One to Someone. It’s a whole wide world out there. – from You Are My Only –

Emmy Rane is a mother – first and foremost. She is young, married to a man who is a bully, and has a beautiful baby who is her whole life. So when a moment of inattention results in the disappearance of her child, Emmy’s life is turned upside down.

Sophie is fourteen years old – a captive in her own home, craving human contact and a life lived under a blue sky. She lives with a mother who is decidedly odd. Sophie has become used to the sudden changes in her world – uprooting to move to a new place when the “No Good” threaten her mother’s carefully constructed world. Then one day through an attic window she meets Joey, the boy next door, and his enthusiastic dog, Harvey. Joey lives with his two aunts, Miss Cloris and Miss Helen, who love him unconditionally. Sophie dares to break the rules and leave her house, entering the world of a family which is not only unconventional, but filled with love and cookies and warm custard.

You Are My Only is the story of these two characters, narrated in their alternating points of view. There is never really a mystery as to how they are connected because the story is not about mystery. The story is about mothers and children, nurturing and control, freedom and imprisonment, and that elusive thing in life which brings us happiness. Sophie’s joy is simple – to feel the sun on her face, to enjoy a cookie warm from the oven, to make a kite which will fly high and free.

Higher and higher goes the bright zinging kite, the collars and buttons and seams of its tail, the zippers and puff parts and dainty see-throughs. From far away, I hear Miss Cloris telling me to do as we planned to do, which is to say, let the kite go free. – from You Are My Only –

Beth Kephart’s beautiful new novel is filled with grief and joy and something difficult to define which made me want to re-read it as soon as I had turned the final page. I adored the characters who are lovingly and carefully developed. Emmy and Sophie stole my heart. Miss Cloris and Miss Helen embody all that is wonderful about what motherhood really means. Autumn is a young woman who meets Emmy behind the walls of an institution – she is a wonderful and tragic character whose spirit shines brightly and was one of my favorite characters of the book.

She leaped, furious, like a dancer to her bed. She began to hop, the mattress rasping and squeaking beneath her and the room starting to shake and I going dizzy. “I do my best thinking up here,” she explained, not even a little out of breath, touching her toes when she jumped now, kicking her feet, grabbing at the back of her heels, jumping at a terrible speed, her brow wrinkled, her eyes glazed, her hair slapping her shoulders. – from You Are My Only –

Kephart has a way with words – it is one reason I never miss a day without reading her blog posts. With the skill of a poet, she can create an image or a feeling or simply a way of seeing the world which is breathtaking.

In case you have not already figured it out – I loved You Are My Only – a book that takes the reader into the darkness and then shows them a way to return to the light. Beautifully written and astonishing, this is a book which I highly recommend for readers of all ages.

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You Are My Only is due for release in October through Egmont USA.

Read Beth Kephart’s blog.

FTC Disclosure: This book was sent to me by the publisher for review on my blog.


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  1. Wendy.


    Thank you hugely for this. Hugely. You are such a fine reader and your opinion counts so much. I am gigantically grateful.

    Sending you love,


  2. Beautiful review Wendy! I can’t wait to read this!

  3. I’m looking forward to this because I love Kephart’s writing – it takes my breath away at times.

    • Amused on September 4, 2011 at 14:31

    My goodness, this looks like one I need to watch out for in Oct! Thanks for the heads up 🙂 Sounds wonderful.

    • zibilee on September 5, 2011 at 06:49

    I have been seeing reviews of this book a lot lately, and it sounds excellent! I have never read anything by Kephart before, but I think this is the place to start, for sure. Great review on this one! I am glad that you enjoyed it so much, and think you wrote an amazing review on it!

    • Amy on September 5, 2011 at 12:26

    Oh wow, this book sounds amazing and absorbing. I just love your review, Wendy. Beth Kephart writes beautifully, even her blog posts are compelling and engaging. I’m so looking forward to reading this book

  4. I am so glad you liked this one. Kephart seems to have a great following, so I am excited to read this one.

  5. You’ve convinced me! I don’t read much YA, but I have enjoyed Beth Kephart in the past. I’ll have to make time for this one. It sounds lovely.

    • Wendy on September 12, 2011 at 07:34

    Beth: You are so very welcome <3

    Jill: I think you will find this to be a wonderful read.

    Kathy: It takes my breath away – YES! Exactly!

    Leah: I think you would love it.

    Heather: This is only the second book I’ve read by this author – but I loved them both…and now I need to get the rest of her books into my TBR pile!

    Amy: I completely agree – I never miss her blog posts…they are a fine example of her talent.

    Stephanie: Yes, she has a large fan base! Not only does she write exceptionally well, but she is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

    Carrie: I believe this one really steps into that gray zone of adult and YA…like you, I hardly ever read YA…but her writing is very, very literary and so it feels more adult to me.

    • Serena on September 19, 2011 at 04:41

    I cannot wait to read this!

    • Wendy on September 26, 2011 at 08:48

    Serena: You’ll LOVE it!

    • LINDA Sheehan on November 5, 2011 at 11:34

    Hi Wendy…lovely review, as always and I am definitely looking forward to reading this book! Linda

    • Wendy on November 8, 2011 at 13:57

    Thanks, Linda – Beth Kephart is such an artist with words. Hope you love it as much as I did!

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