Miss You, Kate Eberlen’s debut novel, is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, there is a whiff of runaway bestselling hit about it. This is helped in no small way by its more than passing resemblance to other recent mega selling love stories, namely One Day and Me Before You. For the most part, though, Miss You is able to stand on its own two feet and add something to the genre.
The novel centres around Tess and Gus, two people who are absolutely made for each other. The only problem is … They keep missing each other.
For most of the 24 hours I was glued to the pages of this novel, there was nothing I wanted more than for Tess and Gus to meet. Eberlen’s writing skillfully brings these characters to life, they live and breathe. She made me laugh and cry along with them.
The ‘miss you’ of the title refers not just to Tess and Gus’s frequently thwarted meetings, but to the fact that both are living in the aftermath of loss and dealing with grief. Eberlen depicts the often sad and messy nature of everyday life with a pleasing lack of Richard Curtis gloss, which, for me, really lifted this novel and gave it an identity distinct from other recent blockbuster love stories.
But towards the end, Miss You runs out of steam. I really lost the sense that Tess and Gus belonged together as we got swept up in the peaks and troughs of their individual lives. I also had to suppress a howl of frustration at the ending (for fear of alarming my family), which was overly saccharine, ill-judged and poorly paced.
That said, there is much to enjoy about this novel and if you are looking for an absorbing love story with characters you can root for, you can certainly do much worse.