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Remind Me Why I'm Here

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An Australian to-do list. A broody host brother. A disaster in the making.

When Maya leaves Chicago armed with an important Aussie must-do list, she assumes she’s heading to Barangaroo with its beautiful Sydney Harbour views—NOT Barangaroo Creek, a fly-ridden, wi-fi dead zone hours from a decent body of water. Like that’s not bad enough, her home-stay host brother Gus clearly wishes she’d landed in somebody else’s sheep paddock.

Gus has important plans this summer— plans that do NOT involve helping an animal-phobe from the States tick off items on her seriously clichéd must-do list. So he devises a list of his own—one guaranteed to send Maya packing, allowing him to enjoy the last of his freedom before he trudges off to agricultural college.

But Maya doesn’t scare that easily and soon sparks fly. Before long, Gus and Maya discover hidden depths to clichéd bucket-lists and secret summer plans. Because sometimes it takes someone half a world away to remind you why you’re really here.


First published August 15, 2020

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About the author

Kat Colmer

8 books57 followers
Kat Colmer is a Sydney-based Young Adult author who writes coming-of-age stories with humour and heart. She has a Master of Education in Teacher Librarianship and loves working with teens and young adults. When not writing, teaching, or reading the latest in YA fiction, Kat spends time with her two resident YA critics - aka her two children.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews
Profile Image for Ariel • The Book View.
405 reviews73 followers
August 15, 2020
My feelings for this book are pretty neutral. I wasn't completely entranced by it, but I didn't hate it either. I enjoyed parts of it and didn't enjoy other parts. It was just kinda there.

The beginning started off okay. There was a good set-up for an enemies-to-lovers trope which I was excited about. The story is told in 3rd person POV and it focuses on Gus and Maya, alternating each chapter. They both have things they want to get out of the summer and feel that the other is standing in their way of those things. I liked that aspect of the book.

Also, there was a decent amount of mystery at the beginning. There were quite a few things we, as the readers, had to figure out about both the main characters' pasts. The author hinted at a few demons both Gus and Maya had but didn't come right out and say them. At least right at the beginning. It was nice to know everything wasn't just laid out from page one. From there, things just kinda happened.

There didn't really seem to be a rise in action, although there were plenty of things happening. I didn't feel the excitement I usually feel when there are fun things happening in a book. It was nice to read about and there were even a few surprise adventures along the way, but I didn't feel the thrill I had hoped for.

Along with this, I didn't feel the spark I had hoped for between Gus and Maya. They're at odds with each other throughout the book so I expected that tension to build and finally explode at the end, but it really didn't. It was just lightly diffused leaving the relationship feeling a little bland.

Overall, the book was good, but I wouldn't read it again. I had definitely hoped for more excitement and sparks in general, but didn't really receive that. Maybe next time.

Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Profile Image for Lindsy.
536 reviews9 followers
September 12, 2020
I really enjoyed this story. I like how it’s a bit of a mystery in the beginning about why Maya is in Australia and why she hasn’t really been paying attention in school for the past year.
I was pretty much hooked from the beginning. I enjoyed Maya as a character and felt bad for her. I liked the Robertson family and liked that Maya and Gus both had things they needed to work on/get past. Pat was an awesome character from the beginning and it was nice to see that Maya had a friend while Gus decided how he felt about things.
The animals and adventures of this story were pretty cool and makes me want to visit Australia more! Besides the lizards and snakes and spiders of course. Just makes me shiver thinking about the huntsmen spider...
I wish they could have gone on more adventures and did more exciting things though. I didn’t expect her to go through the list in a week honestly.
I’m really glad this story included an epilogue because I felt that the ending could use a little more. I thought they would have more of a spark also but this is definitely a slow burn/clean YA romance. I also wish this story included the parents a little more. It’s interesting to see how parents react to certain things and new relationships.
I would recommend this story and author though!
Profile Image for Vedika Sheth.
555 reviews4 followers
September 10, 2020
Title: Great book!

I loved this book and the raw emotion portrayed. Both of the characters were suffering from guilt and sadness while not being brave enough to be what they wanted to be. I loved how Kat was able to keep us in suspense throughout the novel but expose us to information at the right moments. The thoughts and feelings of this novel were well spread out and very nicely put. I loved the plot and the story and pretty much everything about this. The misunderstandings and childish pranks were rather hilarious in an endearing sort of way. I thought it was cute and amusing how they put spiders and lizards in each other’s rooms. I would recommend this is to anyone who is looking for a good teen romance.

I wrote this voluntary review in exchange for an ARC copy.
11 reviews2 followers
July 20, 2020
There were so many things to love about this book! Kat Colmer used wit and humor to deliver a fun, fast paced YA contemporary (with romance) that I devoured in one night.
Main character Maya’s summer in Australia is not what she expected. Reeling from the loss of a close family member, Maya has a touristy bucket list to accomplish on her trip in his memory. When she finds herself on a remote sheep farm with a reluctant host named Gus instead of in the city where she expected to be, she has to make the best of it. Gus has his own reasons to resent her presence, and this sets off a tension filled prank war as he aims to drive her away. But when Maya uses her skills as a mechanic (which I love!) to change the life of a close family member of his, it becomes clear that these two may be able to help each other.
Not to mention the attraction between them. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. My only criticism is that, because I’m guessing the author is Australian, Maya (who is supposed to be from Chicago) used a few phrases that you would not hear from an American. Also, I promise that any American girl meeting an Australian boy would be swooning over his accent because it is SO HOT. There is not one mention of it... Still, I imagined it as I read, and it was very charming.
Overall this book was clever and satisfying.
Profile Image for Regina.
910 reviews
August 14, 2020
I had been looking forward to a new Kat Colmer book for a while, and "Remind Me Why I'm Here" did not disappoint!

Maya and Gus are liekable and relatable main characters I couldn't help but root for. And while this YA romance contains a fair amount of drama and really knows how to tug at those ole heartstrings (I might have cried a time or two...), it also has equally plenty funny moments. Especially the prank war involving Australian wildlife is a hoot to read about (though not something I'd like to experience IRL, tbh)!
Profile Image for Heidi Catherine.
Author 38 books209 followers
August 3, 2020
Another heartwarming and fabulously funny read from Kat Colmer. Remind Me Why I'm Here is a fast-paced and entertaining book that keeps those pages turning. Highly recommended for anyone who loves clever writing, quirky characters and sweet romance.
Profile Image for Nadia.
397 reviews1 follower
September 22, 2020
I have to state that this was a quick and fast read. I think the ebook was shorter than I had anticipated. The book was about Maya who traveled to Australia for her summer break to cross off her bucket list in Sydney. She didn’t read all the important information and somehow ended up in a sheep farm far from Sydney. Gus who was the host family’s son took over as her guide. He wasn’t thrilled by this since he had his own plans that was dashed by her presence. The story had funny pranks, deep conversations about loss, slight romance, and topics about the future. Maya and Gus were a cute and relatable couple that I couldn’t help but cheer on. I also loved Gus’s family. They were supportive in helping Maya with her bucket list. I would have liked to see more activities in Australia. I felt that I only got a glimpsed of the country. Overall, it was a cute but emotional story.

I received this ARC from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Mya.
63 reviews38 followers
August 6, 2020
I put 3 stars but I actually rate it 3.5 stars. It was funny, cute and I really enjoyed the mini war between the two characters Maya and Gus. A nice cute read.
Profile Image for Siobhan Yilmaz.
136 reviews2 followers
July 20, 2020
I literally read this in a few hours as I couldn't put it down! Maya and Gus, (sigh, you'll love them) are thrown together when plans don't go the way they expected. Both judge the other and fail to see the bigger picture until circumstances open their minds and eyes. The situations these two get themselves in are totally relatable and ridiculously humorous, especially the one with the eight legged monster! Revenge is best served large!
Getting to truly know each other and admitting what's holding them back in life; frees them, yet brings them closer together. This book has all the feels, and handles huge life altering senarios...with MacGyver fix-its popping up to save the day.
Cute girl, cute guy, cute animals (minus the scary ones) and we have a fab read.
July 22, 2020
This story is a lot of fun. It's fast-paced and kept me turning pages, not with suspense, but with enjoyment and interest. I read it pretty much in one go. Like in Kat Colmer's other stories, both main characters deal with the weight of parental and their own expectations, to which much of her YA audience will relate. Gus' predicament in particular was justified by his family's backstory. His and Maya's relationship deepens as they find that they need one another to solve their own problems, and culminates in a tastefully electric scene. It's also nice that Maya and Gus both break some gender stereotypes along the way.

Remind Me Why I'm Here is a lighthearted teen romance that'll be at home in any school library :)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Belynda.
6 reviews
July 30, 2020
This book needs more reviews! It's so good! *Given free ebook copy for honest review* (Thank you, Kat)
What can I say about this book? I just didn't want it to end! Gus & Maya's fued's were funny and so Australian. I loved it.
Also little hint for anyone wanting to travel to an Australian city: if the name of the town has creek on the end, it's a country town (and hours away from any city)
My only problem with this book was that it was short! I actually don't read contempory at all but this one was about my own country (Australia) so I thought to give it a shot and it might have converted me. I kinda wish we could see more of her 6 week journey instead of just the week though. Maybe have Gus show her more of the countryside?
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kate McMurry.
Author 1 book79 followers
August 23, 2020
G-rated, “enemies to lovers,” YA, romantic dramedy

Eighteen-year-old Maya has been in a mental fog for over a year as the result of a family tragedy. And because of that, she mistakenly assumed, prior to setting off from her home in Chicago for a six-week stay with a host family at a place in Australia called Barangaroo, that it is located in Sydney. Unfortunately, it is not until she arrives in Australia that she discovers that she is actually scheduled to spend her entire vacation on a sheep farm in Barangaroo Creek, many hours away from the bright lights of the big city. Even worse, instead of the teenage daughter of the family serving as her personal guide, she is stuck with the grumpy teenage son, who is anything but welcoming.

Eighteen-year-old Gus had big plans for a final taste of freedom in the form of a surfing vacation before settling down to a lifetime of dutiful service, chained to his family’s sheep farm. But now, because his aunt desperately needs his sister to care for her rambunctious three-year-old twins while she is bedridden during the final difficult weeks of her pregnancy, he’s forced to surrender his vacation to babysit an animal-phobic American girl who is the current teenage homestay guest on the farm. There must be something he can do to drive her away, so that his last, golden summer can get back on course.

This is a mostly G-rated, YA version of an ever-popular, romance-genre trope, “enemies to lovers.” It is also an opportunity for American readers to experience a fun, armchair trip to Australia. Maya and Gus are both sympathetic protagonists, each with a family tragedy in their past, making this book a combination of comedy and drama, that is, what’s known as a “dramedy.”

Of the three main subcharacters, Gus’s mother, father, and brother, his brother plays a very important part in the story and is a very sympathetic, well-drawn character as well.

This book stays true to the two main, popular-fiction genres it represents, YA “coming of age” and romance. For the coming of age: Both Maya and Gus have compelling, well-motivated, maturation growth arcs. For the romance: We are allowed to experience the dual points of view of both Maya and Gus, which allows the reader to get to know Gus much better than if this book offered only the heroine’s single POV, as is all too typical in YA romance. In addition, the romance protagonists are on stage together almost the entire book, so there is no doubt that the romance is the main plot of the story. There is also no cheating and a satisfying HEA.

My only quibble is this: Because the author is Australian, as one would expect, her portrayal of Australian characters and Australian settings is very authentic and colorful. However, since the author is not American (and perhaps did not have beta readers who are American), her portrayal of Maya as an American, teenage girl is a bit less authentic. Her colloquial language is not always that of an American, and the author makes no mention of the inevitable, delighted fascination that virtually all American girls (and women) have with the Australian accent. Maya would certainly have noted and commented, if not out loud, at least in her thoughts, that she loves that accent, especially coming out of the mouth of a sexy, handsome, well-built guy like Gus. In the reverse, many, if not most, of the Australians Maya meets would have noticed her American accent and have commented on it, too.

Overall, this is a fun, quick read that both teenagers and adults will enjoy.

I rate this book as follows:
Heroine: 4 stars
Hero: 4 stars
Subcharacters: 4 stars
Setting: 4 stars
Romance Plot: 4 stars
Writing: 4 stars
Overall: 4 stars
Profile Image for Chascity-mae.
75 reviews
August 31, 2020
As I reflect back on this story, Kat Colmer did a great job capturing what it is like to figure out what to do with our life after high school. I gave this review 3 stars as an adult, but if I was reading this story as a recent graduate from high school, and still in undergrad than I would give it 4 stars because I would be able to relate to it back when I was 18/19 years old. When I read books it's important to me to find some type of life lesson to learn from the character's story and experience. My lesson from this book is following your heart and your passion even if it isn't what your family, friends, or society is expecting of you. You are only going to enjoy life if you truly love what you do and get to call that your passion.

As a social worker, I love how Colmer adds the small details of Maya fidgeting with her leather band on her wrist. Though we come to find the greater meaning to this leather band, Colmer's descriptions of how Maya reaches for it when she's anxious or nervous normalizes the need for a comfort item or fidget to help her cope. I'm a sucker for a love story and though Colmer gives us a little romance between Maya and Gus, I like that this isn't the highlight or the main story line, there is so much more to grasp and fall in love with than Maya and Gus' love story. Colmer also gives the reader a look into the culture and norms of Australia; having never visited it was nice to escape to another place and be able to visually imagine the landscapes, attractions, and animals.

If you recently graduated high school, currently in college, or just graduated from college and have no idea what you want to do yet I recommend this book! For those who are avid readers, this is a great book to read to take a break from intense stories or when you just want an easy read to escape reality.
Profile Image for Angelina.
607 reviews15 followers
January 20, 2021
Rating: 4/5

I honestly don't remember where I heard about this book, but I do remember reading the synopsis and getting a giddy feeling and I knew right away that I had to read it!

I ended up waiting a couple of weeks but every time I scrolled through my want-to-read shelf this book would call out to me. So I did the very responsible thing and I bought this book and read it in the same night! And it didn't disappoint!

I was pleasantly surprised at how much was packed into a short 175ish page story, and how much emotion I felt while reading it! I enjoyed the two main protagonists and their cute banter, but this book also touches on grief in such a raw way, as well as what it means to grow into yourself and take control of your own life.

Now I guess I should talk about the real reason why I was drawn to this story. Remind Me Why I'm Here by Kat Colmer is a story about a girl who goes to Australia to live with a host family while she completes a cliche to-do list. I absolutely adore travel stories and I have never read one set in Australia before so I was really excited to experience all that Australia has to offer, from the POV of an author who lives in Australia! And once again, this didn't disappoint! While I do wish it was longer, I felt like I was actually in Australia and experiencing things right along with the main character Maya!

Also, I want to point out that while I can't speak on the disability rep, there is a very prominent side-character who uses a wheelchair and I was glad to see that represented in a story!

If you are looking for a cute, short, traveling YA story, definitely think of picking this one up! I had so much fun reading it and I'm so sad that more people haven't read this!
Profile Image for Iola.
Author 1 book2 followers
November 10, 2020
Remind Me Why I’m Here is a fun Australian Young Adult fish out of water story.

Maya Sorenson of Chicago, Illinois, thinks she’s headed to Barangaroo in Sydney, Australia, famous for its harbourside views. Instead, she’s headed to a sheep farm in Barangaroo Creek, hours away from the Sydney beaches and cafes. To make things worse, she arrives at the farm to find Ruth, her host sister, has had to leave to nurse a sick family member. Instead, she’s going to be shown around by Gus, Ruth’s brother, who plainly has somewhere he’d rather be.

Gus’s dreams are digital, and he had his summer planned and paid for–a design course in Sydney. Why can’t their brother Pat look after this girl? Pat loves the farm and always wanted to be a farmer. But his dreams are over now he’s in a wheelchair following a farm accident. The result? Two brothers trapped in roles they don’t want, a trapped tourist determined to tick off her to-do list, and more than enough guilt to go around.

Maya and Gus don’t have a good start, especially given May has no interest in staying on a farm. While Maya learns to enjoy her real Aussie farm experience, she’s also battling with Gus–which gives a lot of opportunity for some fun scenes. Together, they both have to learn to deal with their guilt, and stand up for themselves to get the lives they want.

All that sounds very serious. Remind Me Why I’m Here is anything but. Kat Colmer has a unique ability to deliver soften the blog of potentially tough messages with excellent writing and a healthy dose of humour.

Thanks to Rhiza Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
Profile Image for pageswithpayten.
601 reviews38 followers
August 31, 2020
Thank you NetGalley, Rhiza Press and Kat Colmer for gifting me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!
When Maya gets to Australia, a Bucket List list in hand, she’s expecting six weeks exploring Sydney and laying on the beach. Instead she’s taken hours away to a sheep farm, no beaches or buildings in sight. Add the fact that her host sister, Ruth, had to leave town and Maya will be stuck with her brother, Gus, and this trip is officially NOT a good time. But this trip isn’t for Maya and her bucket list is not her own so she’ll make it work. Too bad Gus had plans of his own and will do anything to get her to pack her bags and fly back home. Between pranks a friendship builds and soon Maya and Gus realize they have a lot more in common than they realized.
I thought the storyline of this one was super unique and held my attention all the way through. I blew through this book in one sitting and didn’t even realize it was over until it was over. I wouldn’t say there was really a climax. I know what point was meant to be the climax but the entire book just sits a mid-level. I liked the characters and their growth was nice to see, but we missed a TON of details that could’ve been added to enrich the story. They’re in Australia and I don’t think readers really got to see much of that. Plus Patrick and Maya had more chemistry in my opinion. All in all, this is a solid young adult read, the perfect quick and light pool accessory!

Profile Image for Erin.
255 reviews3 followers
August 30, 2020
I probably would have rated this one as 2 stars if it wasn't YA.

Since it is, it's a cutesy story with likable main characters struggling with life changing choices. It stays light hearted even though both Maya and Gus are dealing with heavy subjects but there is nothing gripping about the story.

The author is clearly an AU based author as she has Maya saying things Americans don't say. For example, Maya says "pop the bonnet", we call it a hood, we don't call our mother's "mum" we say mom, we also call it a trunk not a boot, we say college or university but not uni, and no one refers to it as the Willis Tower, everyone knows it as the Sears Tower. It would help to have a US editor go through Maya's bits.

I also wish this took place over the 6 weeks she was there. We get to peek into a week of her stay there and then there is an epilogue. I wish I could have seen her and Gus's relationship build more, instead of finding out he transferred to Columbia.

It wasn't a bad book, it was just missing something.

I received this ARC from netgalley.
Profile Image for ScavengedReads.
261 reviews6 followers
August 30, 2020
This story starts incredibly relatable for everyone who's read/watched too many stories about life changing gap year travel, only go plan your own trip that doesn’t go exactly as planned. Full of mishap after mishap on Maya’s first adventure alone with a clear enemy attractive “stuck together” style enemy you are cheerleading becomes a romance.

Despite the set up, I did not find this to be a fun enemies to lovers romance. This is a contemporary YA that is a coming of age, learning to cope with grief of multiple kinds. There is a fair amount of drama coming from all angles that I found did take me out of the story with the overwhelming amount of convenient situations you need to believe came together to make the story work.

If there was a romance, and I disagree that there was any romance, it was not the focus of the story. The relationship between Maya and Gus really seemed to have developed a sibling style friendship. The lack of a romance was a good choice for the overall story; there are just more important things going on that a romance wouldn’t have been cohesive.
Profile Image for Sareena.
35 reviews
August 14, 2020
I loved Gus and Maya! They were complex characters who (eventually) brought out the best in each other. Their initial meeting and subsequent prank war and animosity gave way to true friendship and a budding romance that had me reading through this entire book in one day. Both of the main characters were struggling with guilt and letting go of their pasts but by telling each other hard truths they were able to move ahead into the bright futures they were both meant for. I really wanted to see more of Gus and Maya's romance and what they did during her stay after she finished her list. I feel like they had so much more growing to do together and, as a reader, I would have loved to have seen that on the page. Overall, this was a sweet, quick read.

*I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Celestemcolon.
329 reviews
October 26, 2020
I started this book with a feeling of excitement as it sounded like my history of being a teen that traveled to Australia for the summer. However, that's where this was the only connection. This story starts at an Australia farm where the visiting American student will be staying. The two main characters aren't what the other was expecting, and this is where the trouble starts. Soon they start pranking each other, and this is where I decided to stop reading. I was looking for something different more idyllic with rolling fields and sheep farming. There are sure to be readers in the YA who enjoy their interactions, but I decided that I had other books to go read. Also the cover didn't really excite me, which is a big draw for many readers. I received the preview copy from NetGalley.
Profile Image for Nikki.
282 reviews5 followers
August 24, 2020
American Maya travels to Australia to complete a cliche bucket list, but instead of finding herself in Sydney by the harbour, she ends up on a sheep farm hours away. Her host brother Gus isn't so keen for her to be there either.
This is a light, predictable read. As an Australian, I felt for Gus in the huntsman scenes but don't agree with his opinion of Vegemite.
My only real issue with the story is that it felt rushed. Maya was there for a 6 week stay, but the majority of the story is wrapped up in 1 week.
A nicely written story, but probably not one I'd re-read.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Penny Reeve.
Author 27 books30 followers
June 28, 2021
Another fun read by Kat Colmer!
(If you haven't read her 'Can't Beat the Chemisty' grab a copy for the holidays.)
This one has a US exchange student boarding with an Aussie farming holiday by mistake. Mistake because she thought she was going to be staying at Sydney Harbour!
I won't give away all the good bits, but this is a fun, light romance with threads of heart and thoughtfulness too. It'll make you laugh, but also feel for the characters and their approach to friendships, romance and dealing with grief in the past. It's a good clash of cultures too (US and Aussie). I think you'll enjoy it!
Profile Image for June.
611 reviews20 followers
July 6, 2021
The enemies to lovers plot is hard to do in an appealing way, IMHO. Pranking one another and throwing shade makes the main characters seem immature, and that is the case here. It's also a bit hard to believe that the heroine would have booked a trip to a sheep farm instead of the big city and not noticed. I did rather like the author's style, though, so I would read another work by her in the future.

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to review a temporary digital ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.
Profile Image for Danielle .
2,572 reviews69 followers
September 3, 2020
A cute YA story about 2 broken souls who seem to need each other to get over pain in their past.

Maya and Gus are both in a bad place. Maya is am America who comes to Australia looking for healing and to get away from her loss. She thinks she is eating to a big city, but it turns out she is headed to a shoe farm. Gus is forced to look after Maya when his sister bails. But Gus doesn't realize that their stars have aligned and they are destined to help each other in healing.
Profile Image for Parisa.
103 reviews
May 6, 2021
3.5 I don’t now if I liked the book or hated it I liked the story but the romance not so much it was....complicated. The characters were very annoying one sometimes but they were not the worst I have read. But the book is not a totally wast of times because there are some parts which make up for it.
Profile Image for Sue.
946 reviews
August 13, 2020
Another great read from Kat Colmer. I love the dialogue and the two protagonists...one feisty and the other unsure. This is a very Australian YA novel but I think the Yanks would love it too...everything they've ever heard about Australia.
3,390 reviews29 followers
August 16, 2020
The book is a good teen and young adult sweet romance read. The story has a good story line. The characters are good, and they have good chemistry.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
1 review
September 14, 2020
This book helped me get out of a reading slump. With the hysterical pranks and the witty humour there wasn’t a time that I wanted to put the book down.
Even if you are an advanced reader or just getting into reading, this is a book for everyone.
Loved it!!!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews

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