Review: If You're Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser

Title: If You're Out There
Author: Katy Loutzenhiser
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 320 Pages
Published March 2019

Summary: After Zan’s best friend moves to California, she is baffled and crushed when Priya suddenly ghosts. Worse, Priya’s social media has turned into a stream of ungrammatical posts chronicling a sunny, vapid new life that doesn’t sound like her at all. Everyone tells Zan not to be an idiot: Let Priya do her reinvention thing and move on. But until Zan hears Priya say it, she won’t be able to admit that their friendship is finished. It’s only when she meets Logan, the compelling new guy in Spanish class, that Zan begins to open up about her sadness, her insecurity, her sense of total betrayal. And he’s just as willing as she is to throw himself into the investigation when everyone else thinks her suspicions are crazy. Then a clue hidden in Priya’s latest selfie introduces a new, deeply disturbing possibility: Maybe Priya isn’t just not answering Zan’s emails. Maybe she can’t.

When we were first scouring the internet for 2019 debut authors to feature, Katy and her novel IF YOU'RE OUT THERE popped up on our radar right away. And Katy was sweet enough to send us an ARC to read/review, and she also conducted an interview with us as well and helped us host a giveaway! It's been a pleasure working with her, which is why I made it a priority to go to her launch party in early March. Emily had actually read the ARC of the book, but I hadn't gotten a chance to, so I bought a book at the launch party signing and was super excited to come home and read it. Now I'm really glad that I did, because this book definitely took me on a whirlwind of an adventure!

As the summary explains, Zan is still reeling over the fact that her best friend Priya moved away to California. But not only did Priya move away -- she cut Zan off completely, without explanation. And she suddenly started posting stuff on her social media that doesn't make sense -- things she doesn't normally say, pictures that are definitely not recent, and just a whole bunch of things that don't add up. Everyone's telling Zan that she just needs to move on, that Priya wants to start over in a new place. But Zan can't shake the nagging suspicion that something isn't right. Is Priya really just ghosting her, or is something larger happening here? It's definitely an interesting journey, that's for sure!

You guys, I really loved reading this book. I was expecting a sweet tale of friendship persevering through a big move, but I got way more than I was expecting, in the absolute best way! This story was so much more of a dark, twisting mystery than I originally thought it was going to be, and I found myself flying through this book because I just didn't want to put it down. It was really easy to become a fan of all of the characters in the book. There was a lot of laughing, gasping, crying, and being shocked during the reading experience. And the fact that this book is only about 300 pages means that I was able to breeze through it so quickly! There were also some parts that were super funny, and Katy herself used to be part of a comedian group, so that's definitely prevalent here. You'll get lots of laughs!

My favorite character in this book was definitely Logan. He was super sweet and funny, and it was clear how much he cared for Zan and everyone else in his life. And the fact that he was willing to jump in and help this new girl with this complete mystery, even when nobody else was willing to help her, was also really touching. He's definitely the kind of book boyfriend that I wouldn't mind having!

Another thing that I really loved about this book was Zan and Priya's friendship. It reminded me so much of my own best friends, and just seeing how close they used to be made my heart really warm, and then it made my heart ache for Zan when she was so hurt about being left behind. They were just so close, and I loved all of their little inside jokes, memories, journals, etc. Katy Loutzenhiser definitely does a great job of creating a strong, believable female friendship. It will definitely make you hug all of your best friends tighter after all of this.

(Spoilers in this paragraph -- skip to the next one to avoid them!) The only thing that I wasn't a super huge fan of was the ending of the book. The content itself was really great, filled with a lot of plot twists that I wasn't expecting, but it just felt a bit rushed to me. I was really intrigued with the whole thing that happened with Priya and Ben, and I know that we weren't supposed to know what really happened until we got toward the end, but it feels like it all happened really fast and kind of wasn't really explained beyond the point that Ben was scared about being followed and overreacted. We don't know much of what happened to him after, and just that entire intense scene was really gripping, but it felt like it passed a little bit too fast for me. I would've loved to be in that moment for longer!

Overall, I really enjoyed reading IF YOU'RE OUT THERE. If you're looking for a gripping read about friendship, relationships, loss, and even some mystery, then this is definitely one I'd recommend you put on your TBR immediately. I'm so glad we came across Katy in our search for 2019 debuts, and I'll definitely be reading more of her work in the future!

If you're interested, you can also check out Emily's review!

1 comment

  1. I'm glad you liked this one! I Have a copy for review but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Thanks for sharing. :)
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian


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