Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “When You Were Here” as Want to Read:
When You Were Here
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

When You Were Here

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  3,665 ratings  ·  418 reviews
Filled with humor, raw emotion, a strong voice, and a brilliant dog named Sandy Koufax, When You Were Here explores the two most powerful forces known to man-death and love. Daisy Whitney brings her characters to life with a deft touch and resonating authenticity.

Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she wa
Kindle Edition, 264 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Little, Brown
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about When You Were Here, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Sarah Lane Laini calls him a "white boy" in one of Danny's flashbacks.
Dare You To by Katie McGarryThis Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. SmithJust One Day by Gayle FormanEleanor & Park by Rainbow RowellThe Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
2013 Contemporary YA
202 books — 1,500 voters
Allegiant by Veronica RothClockwork Princess by Cassandra ClareThe Indigo Spell by Richelle MeadThe Elite by Kiera CassRequiem by Lauren Oliver
YA Novels of 2013
1,575 books — 11,047 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,665 ratings  ·  418 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am going to do something I have never done before. Leave a series of pictures to explain my feelings through out this book. \

When I first started reading When You Were Here.

In the middle when Danny is really getting to know what happened and feeling his mothers presence all around in Tokyo.


But then as I read on my anger set in. I felt the betrayal and hurt that Danny felt.

Now the ending..that is really where all the deep
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
2.5 stars

I have students who write about childhood traumas, and I feel bad giving them a C on their paper, because if someone spills their guts out, how can you give them a C? But I have to separate the event and emotion from the form. That's not to say this book is poorly written - it's not - but just because Danny's mom dies of cancer doesn't mean this book deserves a higher than 2.5 star rating.

The book begins right before Danny's high school graduation. He's the valedictorian, but he's angr
Melannie :)
So glad to see YA authors are branching out and leaving High School cafeterias behind. Can't wait to see where Daisy's talent takes us <3


May 29th.

I always feel awkward when I review books (which is very unfortunate since that’s what I do) but this time I feel especially inadequate. Because this book was beautiful and heartfelt and all I could think about was: WHAT KIND OF CANCER DOES ELIZABETH HAVE?

Really. My mind couldn’t stop swimming around all the
3.5 stars

Danny Kellerman wanted his mom to see his graduation - after fighting cancer for five years, she almost made it, but succumbed to the disease just two months before his valedictorian speech. His address to his high school relates to the meat of his journey: F*ck high school. F*ck everyone. I'm outta here. In an attempt to distance himself from his magnetic ex-girlfriend and to uncover his mother's secrets, he travels to Tokyo, where he meets an uncouth yet helpful girl and a doctor who
Nov 17, 2011 rated it really liked it

Heartbreaking, aching, and yet utterly hopeful.

Danny's mom, who has toughed out five years of cancer, wants to make it just long enough to see him graduate valedictorian from high school. But before that date comes, his mom dies. Devastated by the loss, as well as the loss of his father a few years before and the loss of his adopted sister who chose to move to China to rediscover her roots, Danny is angry, broken, and confused about what the future could possibly hold. There's also another
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
As far as Young Adult - and New Adult - is concerned, When You Were Here has so much to offer. Whitney has broken free of the constraints these two genres seem to impale and created a novel that, really, has so much to love. From the beginning itself, the grief of Danny, our narrator, is so palpable. Not only has Danny's mother recently passed away after a long, five-year battle with cancer, but his father was killed in a car crash years back and he is now alone. With graduation looming around t ...more
Wendy Darling
2.5 stars I read this entire book waiting to feel sadness or joy or grief, or...something. It seemed like I was on the brink a few times, none of those emotions were ever really stirred. I'm afraid I didn't connect with this one on anywhere near the level most people seem to be.

Short review to come.
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
*Also posted at Oops! I Read A Book Again*

First and foremost, thank you to Kelly of Inkslinger PR for the chance to read one of my favorite novels of the year and that's saying a lot as I've read tons of five-star books just this May. But not all five-star books are gonna be in my favorites shelf but this is one book I will never forget.

Danny Kellerman will graduate as the valedictorian in his high school but no one will be able to see it. His dad died in an accident years ago, his estranged sis
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
First of all, I need to start with an explanation as to why it took me over a month to read a book that weighs in at less than 300 pages, since that is totally not the norm for me. This is a perfect example of why I prefer physical galleys. With e-galleys, I stick them on my Nook and read them whenever I'm away from home and have some free time for reading, but that doesn't necessarily happen to me all that often, really, so then it takes me about a month to read a single, short book. I mention ...more
Karla Mae (Reads and Thoughts)

"My mom dies two months ago, my dad was killed in an accident six years ago, and my sister, Laini is in China trying to rediscover her roots..."

Japan has been Danny and his family's home every summer since he's a little boy. Now, after his mother died of cancer he would spend another summer there but with a different agenda - instead of having fun and leisurely taking a walk through the busy streets of Tokyo, he would spend his time figuring out the answers to the questions that his mother left
Jul 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
I couldn't finish it. It was hard to like the main character and the whole story was unbelievable. Boys have to separate from Mommy when they are a teenager. That is an important part of becoming a man. If he was ten then I could see losing his mother as a traumatic event. But teenage boys are rarely best buds with a parent and selflessly hang out to take care of them.

The book is a good example of an author blurring any sense of what is ethical and letting her character get away with poor behavi
Melissa (i swim for oceans)
When I look for contemporary fiction to read, I look for something that will actually tug at my heartstrings and make me feel something. There is something to be said for a book that can coax you to the brink of tears, and then ever-so-carefully walk you back off that ledge and help heal you through its pages. I've read some of Daisy Whitney's work before, and I have to say that When You Were Here is a standout among not only her titles, but many books on the shelves today. Intricately weaving t ...more
Kate (The Bookaholic Blurbs)
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bought, kindle
Review originally posted over at The Bookaholic Blurbs! :)

When You Were Here touches the core of the soul. Sometimes we see and welcome happiness after being clouded by such horrible circumstances we don't think we could overcome. This novel might be too heavy for a drama but the things it would make you appreciate and realize are beyond amazing! It encapsulates freedom, love, healing and peaceful closure that definitely bring tears to the eyes. Heart warning novel that I listed as one of my to
Aug 01, 2011 marked it as to-read
Lost in Translation meets Where She Went? Um, hell yes!
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, fiction, young-adult
"When You Were Here" is the story of Danny, who loses his mother to cancer. All he has left is his mom's best friend (Kate), her daughter (Holland), and his dog. He is trying to deal with loss but it feels like the odds are stacked against him. When he inherits his mom's apartment in Tokyo, he flees to Japan, a place of happier memories in order to figure out his mother a little more. He will end up unraveling even more mysteries than he ever expected.

This was a strong story but there was so muc
Kimberly Sabatini
Sep 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-ya
This is a book that checks all the boxes. It's funny AND heart wrenching. It's familiar AND different. It's smart AND relatable. It's literary AND commercial. Then to top it all off, this novel has voice. It's not just the MC Danny--but all of the characters, they are real, believable, flawed and likable. Additionally, I was mesmerized by the contrasting settings of California and Japan--unique and fascinating. When I closed the cover on WHEN YOU WERE HERE, I felt like I'd really been in the liv ...more
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is definitely a new favorite! I really loved this a lot. I thought that the Japan setting was perfect and made me enjoy it even more. The characters were awesome and had great backstories. I definitely recommend this book to you if you enjoy emotional, but happy contemporary stories!
Jillian Heise
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Achingly, heartbreakingly, healingly incredible novel. It ripped me apart and stitched me back together one small piece/scene/conversation at a time.

*Full review to come in April closer to the June publication*
 Soph - Lock&Key
Jun 12, 2013 marked it as to-read
Hell, with the title and the blurb, I know I am gonna cry my eyes out while reading this!

I'm coming back to this soon. :)
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Originally reviewed on my blog Reading the Best of the Best.

3.5 stars

I wanted to love this book so much. I began this book almost three weeks ago and I just finished it yesterday. It took me forever to like the book enough to finish and even though the middle of the book got considerably better, I’m not the biggest fan of When You Were Here. I loved Daisy Whitney’s previous two books but I wasn’t able to care for the characters in this book as much as I had hoped to.

Danny is a very hard charac
Joy (joyous reads)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book has been on my ‘Currently Reading Shelf’ for the past four days now. Don’t let that fool you… it only took me half this night to get through it. Life just got in the way, you now? Anyway, this book's left me feeling satisfied… and happy with how refreshingly different it read.

Danny is not the complete asshole I though he was. It’s clear that one loss then another will have anyone acting like one. There’s this bitterness to him and a load on his shoulders from how somehow some when som
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
You can also read this review on my blog

In short: When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney was a wonderfully moving read with a fantastic cast of dynamic characters.

When You Were Here is a novel about death, but it's also about moving forward after dealing with so much grief and reconnecting with life. Danny is three weeks away from graduation when his mother dies after a long battle with cancer. As he has already lost his father years previously and has broken up with the love of his life, he is lef
Farah Jay
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
When You Were Here was definitely different than most contemporary novels out there, but it was a great different. From a boy's point of view, Danny has lost everything in his life. His father died six years ago. His mother has been fighting cancer for the last 5 years, and has dies just before his graduation. His adopted sister has lost most contact with him when she decided she wanted to learn more about her "roots" and live in China. Danny is all alone in a house in California. His mother's b ...more
Cocktails and Books
May 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was one of those books that as I read it, the constant question that ran through my mind was "How much more bad stuff can this kid endure?"

Danny Kellerman is a few days from graduation and a summer that should be filled with fun, his dog Sandy Kolfax, and his girl. Instead Danny is left dealing with the aftermath of his mother's death and trying to figure out what he's supposed to do now. That question will take Danny on a journey from California to Japan as he tries to piece together the
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
I was lucky enough to win a signed copy of When you Were Here by: Daisy Whitney and I was so happy to read something by her. I'm going to be honest and say that the whole way through the book I was thinking it was going to probably be a three star read, not because the story was bad at all by any means but because I was waiting for something to really hit home for me, and HOLY GOD the last 80 pages freaking broke my heart, that was exactly what I needed to bring it right up to a 5-star rating, a ...more
Tara Simone
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So the book opens after Danny's graduation and his mom is already deceased and Danny's slightly self-destructive from his grieving process. He needs answers and takes off for Japan to learn about his mom's time there while she was seeking alternative treatments for her illness. While in Japan he uncovers the answers to more than one mystery involving his mom and the girl who broke his heart back in LA.

I wish my review could convey the beauty of this story. It's engaging, loving, and heartbreakin
Maria Carmo
I really loved this book. The lightness with which its Author writes about death and loss, the wonderful depth dressed as familiarity, the search for meaning that the main character so well depicts, and the profound love most of the characters in the story share together. The drama unravels as the reader becomes more and more involved with the story. It is almost impossible to stop and reading it within 24 hours is almost mandatory.
Some may write about literature - discuss whether a book is (or
Joy Kirr
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya
This wasn't for me. It started out terribly sad and dramatic, and kept it up all the way through. I should've listened to the author, too, when she said it was for older young adults (too mature for my 7th graders). It didn't hold my attention - I could only read about one chapter a day - but some books are not for some readers, and I think that was just the case with this one.
Sarah (YA Love)
I am so very thankful that Zoe at Little, Brown brought a copy of this to NCTE for me. It's absolutely fantastic. I'll write a longer review closer to the release date which is in June.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Young Adult Conte...: #7 When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney 4 25 Sep 15, 2013 07:43PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Thousand Words
  • Golden
  • How I Lost You
  • White Lines
  • The Lucy Variations
  • My Life After Now
  • The Reece Malcolm List
  • Nobody But Us
  • Return to Me
  • Burning
  • How My Summer Went Up in Flames
  • The Rules for Disappearing (The Rules for Disappearing, #1)
  • Right of Way
  • Fault Line
  • Leap of Faith
  • Then You Were Gone
  • Me, Him, Them, & It
  • Uses for Boys
See similar books…
By day, Daisy Whitney is a reporter and ghostwriter. At night, she writes novels for teens and is the author of THE MOCKINGBIRDS and its sequel THE RIVALS (Little, Brown). Her third novel WHEN YOU WERE HERE releases in June 2013 (Little, Brown), and her fourth novel STARRY NIGHTS (Bloomsbury) hits shelves in September 2013. When Daisy's not inventing fictional high school worlds, she can be found ...more
“Because this is what I believe - that second chances are stronger than secrets. You can let secrets go. But a second chance? You don't let that pass you by.” 83 likes
“ Trains are all the ways you miss each other—wrong train, wrong tracks, wrong time. ” 18 likes
More quotes…