"Find out what you want. Find out what you don't want. Screw up some more. Get your heart broken again. Try to be decent along the way. That's how you make a life..."
Tess is not okay. Her online boyfriend Jonah just committed suicide. Out of grief, she drops out of high school and moves in with her estranged father. One of her first actions upon arriving is to symbolically purge herself of Jonah by literally dumping her laptop in the lake, after which she jumps in the lake herself. So, yeah, the poor girl has some issues to work through.
Tess' dad used her college fund to pursue his latest career path: funeral planning. He has mixed results. There was a dog funeral that ended with explosives...it wasn't great. Tess ends up helping him plan a funeral for a prized race horse, and it's a massive success.
Tess partners with her dad with the agreement that he will pay back her college fund. Their newest venture: planning a life celebration for a former burlesque dancer before she succumbs to Alzheimer's. They grow closer, and things start looking up for her. Then she gets a Facebook message from Jonah. Impossible, right? Not so much. I'm going to spoil the plot twist, so look away if you don't want to know...
*MAJOR SPOILER AHEAD*
It turn out that part of the time that Tess had been chatting with Jonah online, she had actually been talking to his roommate Daniel. Obviously, this is deceptive and all kinds of messed up. Tess starts to talk to actual Daniel and together they work through feelings about Jonah and his sudden death, and it's kind of nice.
It was nice to be able to see Tess' journey as she went through the process of grieving Jonah. I also liked seeing her bonding with her father. Things I'm Seeing Without You definitely seemed to try its hardest to be quirky and unique. I wasn't always feeling it, but it was still a pretty good story. There was a lot of hope in the ending, and I liked that a lot.
I received my copy of Things I'm Seeing Without You from the Goodreads Firstreads Program, courtesy of Dial Books. It's available for purchase now.