Book Review

“When You Came Back” by Yesenia Vargas

When You Came Back (Matters of the Heart, #1)
Description: Two childhood friends, their blossoming romance, and the tragic secret that stands in their way… 
Katia just saw the last person she’d ever expect. Brian, who she hasn’t seen since they were nine years old. Because he moved away without saying goodbye. Brian, who was her best friend in fourth grade and made her laugh and made forts with her in the woods. Who left her alone when she needed him most. Now he’s back. Her best friend, Adam, isn’t thrilled. Except Brian’s completely different than she remembers. He’s not the boy next door anymore. There’s a darkness inside him, and he won’t tell her what caused it. But Katia knows the Brian she remembers is still inside there somewhere. She’s seen a flicker of it in his eyes when he comes in close and tells her to stay away. She’s determined to find the real Brian. And to find out what happened.



When You Came Back” by Yesenia Vargas is a young adult story about two childhood friends reunited after years apart. Brian moved away suddenly and without a word, while Katia was left to get through middle school and high school without her best friend. When Brian unexpectedly returns, Katia is stunned and also confused at why her former best friend doesn’t want to acknowledge her. In true YA spirit, the two are consistently thrown together in class and through school projects. Brian, who has a lot on his plate between going to school and taking care of his younger siblings, finally accepts Katia’s help to babysit one afternoon, reigniting their gradually growing friendship.

Meanwhile, Adam, Katia’s current best friend who stood by her and defended her from bullies after Brian’s disappearance, has his own complicated story and is left by the wayside. As is common in high school, a friend or potential love interest can quickly take over all of our time and cause us to lose sight of everyone else. It’s easy to be annoyed by how oblivious and self-centered Katia is, especially when she’s with Adam, but her character is also entirely relatable and realistic for her age.

Yesenia Vargas does a great job of depicting the day-to-day ups and downs of high school as well as capturing the all-encompassing emotions teenagers become consumed with. As the love triangle unfolds, what I found most intriguing was Brian’s family and their immigration predicament.

The book itself is an easy, fast-paced read – perfect for the end of summer and the start of back to school season! The best part is that Yesenia Vargas resumes the saga in “I’ll Be Here,” just released this week, continuing Katia, Brian and Adam’s story navigating love, friendship, and high school.

Explore “When You Came Back” on Amazon or check it out on Goodreads, and don’t miss the second book of the series, “I’ll Be Here” on Amazon and Goodreads.




I write young adult fiction about teens who are figuring out what it means to make your own choices.

When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading, spending time with family, playing sports, and watching Netflix. In 2013, I graduated from the University of Georgia, the first in my family to go to college.

I live in Georgia with my husband, silly four-year-old daughter (soon to be a big sister!), and college-aged brother (who’s slept over for two years now).

*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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