Book Review: If You Were Me by Sam Hepburn

September 21, 2015 Book review 13 ★★★★

There was a lot of things I loved about this book but if I have to sum it up in just a few works, I’d say it’s smart, diverse and fast-paced.  And when it comes to YA, these are three great elements to see in a book.


Book Review: If You Were Me by Sam HepburnIf You Were Me by Sam Hepburn
Published by Chicken House Books on 2 Apr 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Pages: 356
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from Publisher
Buy on Amazon

From the author of CHASING THE DARK comes a thrilling young teen crime mystery, guaranteed to keep you guessing until the very end.
Not long after Aliya’s family escapes Afghanistan for Britain, her brother is accused of a bomb attack. Aliya is sure of his innocence, but when plumber’s son Dan finds a gun in their bathroom, what’s she to think? Dan has his own reasons for staying silent: he’s worried the gun might have something to do with his dad. Thrown together by chance, they set out to uncover a tangled and twisted truth.

First Line of If You Were Me by Sam Hepburn:

“As I jumped off the bus that night and waved goodbye to Salma the tips of the mountains circling the ciry were already blurring grey against the crimson sky.”

My thoughts on If You Were Me by Sam Hepburn:

As you see from the synopsis, this book deals with the sadly always relevant topic of terrorism and the plight of people having to flee their homelands.  I really thought this book was an eye opener as it gives you just a little snippet of what it’s like to be in a new country.  A country where you thought all your dreams would come through but instead it becomes just another nightmare.

Aliya is a character that I loved spending time with.  She has an old head on young shoulders and I kept forgetting just how young she is.  But through events, she has had to grow up fast.  She has a strong spirit though, has undying loyalty to family and is brave beyond words.  The other main character is Dan, an English guy that she comes in to contact with.

I also really enjoyed Dan’s perspective.  He also has family issues and is trying to work out some trust issues within his family.  I loved that both characters are faced with such different life circumstances and cultural backgrounds but they are basically having their family loyalties put to the test.

The book is also very tense, very fast-moving and full of twists.  It darts and dives all over the place!  A little part of me thought that the book didn’t need so much motion and action as I loved just reading about the characters and the challenges that they were facing.  But on the other hand, my heart was pounding and I couldn’t put the book down, so I’m not going to criticise it too much for all that commotion.

Overall, I loved that If You Were Me bought diversity to the table and not in a token, shallow way.  But in a way that makes you empathise and think.  Great read!


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: four-stars


Who should read If You Were Me by Sam Hepburn?

I’d highly recommend this to you if you are looking for a Young Adult book with smart characters, a family setting and lots of diversity.  Fans of books with lots of twists should also enjoy this.  In addition, I think fans of the Mickey Bolitar series by Harlan Coben would like this.

Thanks to Chicken House Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.




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13 Responses to “Book Review: If You Were Me by Sam Hepburn”

    • trish

      Exactly it was very tense but I really enjoyed it. My fav bit though was seeing Aliya adjust to life in the UK and the difficulties that she encountered. That element was very thought provoking.

    • trish

      Such a relevant topic and very sad when you see just how hard life is an immigrant. I think it’s a book we should all read and I’m making a bit effort to read more diversely this year as I feel it’s important. I love that this one is aimed at YA as they are the generation that can make a difference.

    • trish

      For a YA book, the mystery was fab! And I rarely say that about YA thrillers as I often find them disappointing. Not this one but my fav aspect was definitely the immigrant trying to fit in to England theme.

    • trish

      Thank you for dropping by Sam! And you are very welcome. I really enjoyed it and I love seeing diversity brought to YA books in such an authentic way.

    • trish

      That’s what I thought Megan and it was worth reading for that theme alone. But even putting that aside it was also a fast-paced exciting book.

  1. Lola

    Great Review! It sounds like an interesting book! Both characters sound like they have depth and their own struggles. While I can enjoy a slow moving book, I also like fast paced books and even better if it’s a book you can’t put down.
    It’s great when diversity is added a way that makes you think. I sometimes feel like with the focus on diversity, suddenly every book tries to add it, but it doesn’t always works or it can feel shallow. So it’s great when you find a book that does diversity well.
    Lola recently posted…Review: Star Wars The Clone Wars

    • trish

      I feel exactly the same with books being labeled diverse at the moment Lola, I think it’s a band wagon and some authors are just jumping on it. But here it felt meaningful and most of all real. I feel like a gained an insight into life as a refugee and I love that it delivered that to me.

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