Lucy and Owen, high school teens, find themselves and each other stuck in an elevator during a blackout in NYC. They spend the night talking, looking at the stars, sharing wishes and melting ice cream, and the night is magical to them. When the sun comes up the next morning, it’s back to reality. Owen’s mother’s untimely death, his father’s struggle to find happiness, and Lucy’s family making a move to Europe are distractions to them as they keep in touch by postcards, “wishing you were here.”
Smith revolves the story around particular phrases, common hopes, and settings to keep the reader entwined in Owen’s and Lucy’s lives. Each of them knew something special connected them that one night, and even though their “somewheres” are in different places, the “home” is with each other “because that’s what happened when you were with someone like that: the world shrank to just the right size. It molded itself to fit only the two of you, and nothing more.” p. 110
Each of them have profound thoughts throughout the book as Owen, on his way to the house where he grew up to pack it up for selling sums it up with “everything new arrives on the heels of something old, and every beginning comes a the cost of an ending,” as he thinks on his future. Sometimes we know when it’s an end, and sometimes we know when it’s the last time for something, and those moments are the most bittersweet as we run to our future knowing we can not hold on to our past.
The theme of stars is used throughout the story as Owen loved them and shared that love with his mother. During the blackout, he and Lucy share the constellations as the east coast is completely dark making the night seem magical. Lucy longs to stand on the star outside of Notre Dame because it’s the center of Paris, and Owen plans to study astronomy in college. As the story ends, Owen and Lucy agree that where they are right then is exactly the place she wished to be while standing on the star in Paris, and the geography of the two of them couldn’t be more perfect.
Jennifer E. Smith tells the story of Owen and Lucy with such honesty and tenderness while keeping the book completely “G” rated for even a middle school aged reader.