Things I’m Seeing Without You, Peter Bognanni

Things I'm Seeing Without You, Peter Bognanni

Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni is a book that took me by surprise.  It is about a girl who loses her boyfriend to suicide, and the main character has an entertaining personality. But what really drew me in was the alternative funeral business. It makes the story a little bit lighter and glances out the sadness of the story. I really enjoyed this one, and I found it to be a unique approach to the grieving process.

Things I’m Seeing Without You, Peter BognanniTitle: Things I'm Seeing Without You
Author: Peter Bognanni
Publisher: Dial Books
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Rating: four-stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

Seventeen-year-old Tess Fowler has just dropped out of high school. She can barely function after learning of Jonah’s death. Jonah, the boy she’d traded banter with over texts and heartfelt e-mails.

Jonah, the first boy she'd told she loved and the first boy to say it back.

Jonah, the boy whose suicide she never saw coming.

Tess continues to write to Jonah, as a way of processing her grief and confusion. But for now she finds solace in perhaps the unlikeliest of ways: by helping her father with his new alternative funeral business, where his biggest client is . . . a prized racehorse?

As Tess’s involvement in her father’s business grows, both find comfort in the clients they serve and in each other. But love, loss, and life are so much more complicated than Tess ever thought. Especially after she receives a message that turns her life upside down.

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❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃

Review: Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni

❀ Laugh-Out Loud Moments

This book tells the story of a girl recovering from the suicide of her boyfriend. Their relationship was mostly online, so she logs in and writes to him even though he will never be able to respond. Through her messages, she makes some shocking discoveries about Jonah’s true identity, and even meets someone new. Tess also starts working for her father at his unique funeral business, which helps her cope with her grief. I really enjoyed reading about the business and Tess’s experiences planning unconventional funerals that are more entertaining. This book may seem depressing, but you’ll actually find yourself laughing out loud.

❀ Sarcastic and Witty Character

Tess’s character really lights the mood of this story. She is a high school dropout with a sarcastic and witty attitude. The way she acts and deals with her grief is realistic and believable for someone her age. However, you can tell that she was written by a male author. Tess is easy to sympathize with, and the fact that she loses her first boyfriend is so heartbreaking. She really transforms throughout the book as she moves on, and it is so touching to read.

❀ Funny Story About Grief

This story is actually pretty funny for a book that is about grief. I really enjoyed the way topics like death are handled and balanced out with humour so that the story isn’t all sad. The funeral business provides a lot of comic relief and introduces some quirky characters. Things I’m Seeing Without You really has a unique take on the grieving process, and I would definitely recommend it to those in the mood for a heavier read.

❀ Heart-Wrenching

Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni is a heart-wrenching story about a girl moving on from the death of her first boyfriend. The main character is so real, and her sarcasm brings some humour to the book. This book really blends humour and sorrow, so it isn’t actually as depressing as I had anticipated.

About Peter Bognanni

Image of Peter Bognanni

Peter Bognanni is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His debut novel, The House of Tomorrow, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction and the ALA Alex Award and has been adapted into a feature film. He teaches creative writing at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

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About The Candid Cover

Olivia ❀ Canadian YA book blogger, Starbucks lover, & professional bibliophile.

18 thoughts on “Things I’m Seeing Without You, Peter Bognanni

  1. Angela says:

    Great review! I have this one on my TBR. I figured it would be kind of a dark, sad book, so I’m glad to hear there are moments of humor and lightness.

  2. anovelglimpse says:

    I loved reading your review. It’s a book I’m not sure I would give time to if I hadn’t read your review. Now, I want to pick it up at the library. It sounds like it was more uplifting than I thought it would be.

  3. Marie says:

    Beautiful review <3 I have seen this book around lately and it sounded like such an emotional read, I wasn't sure if I wanted to add it to my TBR. I'm so glad to hear you found that it was way balanced out with humor here and there to make it not "just a sad book". Great review! 🙂

  4. Kym says:

    This book sounds great. I’m definitely going to add it to my TBR list. The book reminds me of The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds. It’s about a boy who loses with mom and begins to work at a funeral home. Have you heard of it? It might be worth checking out. Have a happy Monday.

  5. Sophie @ Blame Chocolate says:

    Oh I’m glad this book wasn’t as depressing as it sounds! I love when authors bring a humorous twist to an otherwise sad tale, just makes everything a bit more bearable 🙂 The funeral business does sound pretty entertaining!
    Awesome review! ^^

  6. Kelly says:

    This is the first review that I’ve seen for this book. It’s on my TBR list for this week, actually, and I wasn’t sure how it was, but it looks like it’s pretty good, so I’m excited to read it now. I’m glad that you enjoyed this one. I usually have a hard time with a combination of sorrow and humor in one, but this sounds like it a did a nice job of doing so. Great review!

  7. Toi Thomas says:

    Sounds like a good book even though it’s not something I’d usually be drawn to. I’ve always wanted to tackle hard subjects while infusing humor, but I’m not quite there yet.

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