Title: Return To Sender
Author: Ashley Kane & Morgan James
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Rating: 4
Emerson has been in love with Jonah for nearly his entire life, now staring at the clock reading 5:53 am wondering if he had really been sitting on the floor for the past two hours since his boyfriend, Jonah had abruptly left in the middle of their most recent argument. He hadn’t realized so much time had passed waiting for Jonah to return so he could make amends. Surely Jonah will calm down soon and return home, desperately trying to denying Jonah would leave yet again without any word but unable to stop the memory from resurfacing.
Emerson and Jonah grew up together, inseparable best friends who had great plans once they graduated high school. They planned to share a dorm room with Emerson pursuing art and Jonah capturing the written word in his studies to become a writer. Two weeks after graduation Emerson anxiously awaits the arrival of his best friend to celebrate his eighteenth birthday. When Jonah doesn’t arrive he attempts to call him but no one answers. The waiting becomes too much and Emerson decides to go over to Jonah’s house. Finding the lights are all turned off and his car sitting in the driveway a deflated Emerson returns home, knowing Jonah has previously forgotten to contact Emerson with change of plans getting sidetracked by girls. Telling his parents Jonah had made other plans, unable to accept he had just been stood up.
The following day, Emerson receives a panicked call from Jonah’s parents asking if he knew where Jonah had gone. The pain of the realization that Jonah had not just blown him off for some girl but had left town without any word left Emerson devastated, angry and wondering what he could have done to cause his best friend to leave him.
After surviving the initial pain of Jonah’s disappearance two months previously, knowing through a series of phone calls with his parents, Jonah doesn’t want to talk with him but he is safe and alive currently living in Boston trying to straighten his head, Emerson finds himself entering into his first semester at college and his new roommate Zack. Shortly thereafter meeting his best gal, pal Hayley and attempts to move forward with his life and forget Jonah until the letters begin arriving.
Feeling the pain resurface from reliving the memories of the last time Jonah ran away he hears the front door open and slam shut. Surely Jonah has returned so they may talk and resolve the argument previously. Emerson stills as he awaits the arrival of Jonah in his doorway, hearing footsteps on the stairs and instead of coming to his door going into Jonahs room. He continues to listen to a series of scuffles and thumping until finally he hears Jonah footfalls descending the stairs once again and then the slam of the door. The realization that Jonah had just left again without a word, he leaves his room to find where Jonah is going. Quickly looking into his room he finds it devoid of all Jonah’s possessions. Emerson rushes down the stairs only to find left on the entrance table a single key, the key Emerson had given to Jonah when he moved in with him for the summer. Jonah had left again without word or explanation.
Return to Sender is masterfully written! A complex story using a classic technique of following each character in their day to day life while divulging previous information and scenarios including the ongoing relationship between the main characters through the letters they have each written and received. By far this is the best book I have read this year and intend to indulge in re-reading it again and again!!
Reviewed by: Kate