Who You Might Be

Three narratives come together across the decades to examine the question of how the stories we tell ourselves affect our lives in Who You Might Be, the thoughtful debut novel from Leigh N. Gallagher.

In the late 1990s in California, 14-year-old friends Judy and Meghan run away for the weekend to visit Cassie, Meghan's friend from a chat room on eating disorders. When they arrive, they discover that Cassie is not there. Furthermore, her diary suggests she is not the glamorous older girl they were expecting--and she may not have been the one they were chatting with at all. Readers learn in alternating chapters that Cassie is also on a trip. All three girls learn about quotidian dangers and relationships that fall short of what they want them to be. At the same time, Miles and his older brother, Caleb, who has just graduated from high school, are unmoored when their family moves to Ann Arbor, Mich. Caleb stumbles into the Detroit graffiti scene, bringing along his new friend, Tez, and Miles. As the relationships among the three shift, a sudden act of violence changes all of their lives forever.

All of these threads entwine 20 years later in New York City. While readers may wish that some aspects of the earlier timeline were more fully tied up or further explored, those characters who return vividly demonstrate the lingering effects of their teenage traumas and the stories they'd told themselves to address them. Gallagher's debut establishes her as one to watch. --Kristen Allen-Vogel, information services librarian at Dayton Metro Library

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