For some, grief is a quiet void carefully tiptoed around. For Miriam, it is a raging storm that wakes her in the night, chews through her ability to reason. The hungry, empty space inside her where Elliot used to be. Seeing him with another girl sends her over the edge. Almost before she realizes what she’s done, a priceless statue lies on the ground at her feet. Panicked, Miriam flees the scene. There’s just one problem: a girl as mixed up as she is. One who saw what Miriam did. One who wants something in exchange for her silence.
Miriam’s emotional journey is the real force behind the story. Her life spins hopelessly out of control following her breakup with Elliot. She withdraws, experiences depression, makes poor decisions, lies to her parents – all things largely outside her normal character. We watch her struggle to recover, to find her way through those dark moments. To find her courage. The journey is both empowering and refreshingly honest.
In a culture that desperately wants to believe that sex—particularly teen sex—doesn’t matter and is all about living large and having fun, Pellicioli dares to deliver a story with a very different message. Miriam has given herself, heart and body, to a boy and the unthinkable happened: they broke up. He’s moved on to another girl. She’s devastated, possibly pregnant. Pellicioli excels at relating the unbalanced heartbreak that drives Miriam to destroy something that would otherwise be precious to her.
There are lots of books about sexually active teens. There are not a lot of books that tackle the heartbreak that can come along with those decisions as boldly and powerfully as Where You End.
Extreme profanity used with moderate frequency.
Miriam had been having sex with her now ex-boyfriend Elliot. She gives some details about frequency, location, and the emotional highs she felt when she was with him. The experiences themselves aren’t much described. She later engages in heavy kissing with another boy and removes her shirt (the scene is a bit confusing… I wasn’t sure what was happening beyond kissing until afterward when she clarified having taken off her shirt.) What’s perhaps most interesting about the sexual content is not the experiences themselves but the emotional roller coaster Miriam experiences in her feelings about Elliot after the break-up.
Miriam’s family is Jewish. She shares memories of going to school to learn Hebrew. Her family keeps the Sabbath, and the celebration is deeply important to her family. Miriam throws a fit at the start of one Sabbath meal, which really hurts her mother’s feelings.
Paloma’s mother used to take her to a church to hear the organ practices. She later retreats there for solitude.
Brief mentions of Elliot being intoxicated at a party.