Mini Review: “Right Where I Left You” by Julian Winters

Release Date: March 15, 2022
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary


School’s out, senior year is over, and Isaac Martin is ready to kick off summer. His last before heading off to college in the fall where he won’t have his best friend, Diego. Where–despite his social anxiety–he’ll be left to make friends on his own. Knowing his time with Diego is limited, Isaac enacts a foolproof plan: snatch up a pair of badges for the epic comic convention, Legends Con, and attend his first ever Teen Pride. Just him and Diego. The way it should be. But when an unexpected run-in with Davi–Isaac’s old crush–distracts him the day tickets go on sale, suddenly he’s two badges short of a perfect summer. Even worse, now he’s left making it up to Diego by hanging with him and his gamer buddies. Decidedly NOT part of the original plan. It’s not all bad, though. Some of Diego’s friends turn out to be pretty cool, and when things with Davi start heating up, Isaac is almost able to forget about his Legends Con blunder. Almost. Because then Diego finds out what really happened that day with Davi, and their friendship lands on thin ice. Isaac assumes he’s upset about missing the convention, but could Diego have other reasons for avoiding Isaac?

My Thoughts

I’m not shy about my love for Julian Winters books, and Right Where I Left You is another win. 

The plot is charmingly sweet, emotionally resonant, and engagingly dramatic. Isaac is like most teens; he’s stumbling toward adulthood and making a ton of mistakes along the way. Winters gives him the chance to learn from his mistakes and grow as a person. 

Winters is so good at exploring biracial Blackness without falling into the trap of “I’m not like other Black kids” we often see in these kinds of books written by white authors. And the way he looks at the ways in which queerness, nerditry, masculinity, and biracial Blackness intersect for young adults at the cusp of adult independence is really something wonderful. If I were a teen, Right Where I Left You, like The Summer of Everything, would be just what I needed. 

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy. Buy it at (affiliate link).

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