Monday, March 13, 2023

Q&A with Sarah Lyu

Photo by Anna Shih



Sarah Lyu is the author of the new young adult novel I Will Find You Again. She also has written the YA novel The Best Lies.


Q: What inspired you to write I Will Find You Again, and how did you create your character Chase?


A: I Will Find You Again is a love story about Chase Ohara and Lia Vestiano, two girls from an affluent Long Island commuter town close to NYC.


Best friends for years—weekend trips to Montauk, sleepovers on the Vestiano family yacht—they fall in love before falling apart under the pressure from parents, school, and society at large to sacrifice everything in the pursuit of the idea of success.


When Lia disappears nearly six months after their traumatic breakup, Chase tries to piece together the last weeks of Lia’s life in search of answers. What she finds shocks her. Not everything was as it seemed, and if she can’t make sense of the past, she might not get a future.


I was really inspired by the question of how to feel enough in a world that tells us we’re never enough, something I’ve struggled with all my life.


Chase is mostly based on who I was in high school, someone who took herself way too seriously, who had all these grand plans. Someone who was actually just scared of not being able to find a place for herself in this world.


Chase thinks if she could only get that high score on the SATs and those straight-A grades, captain the winning cross-country team, and win student council president, she’ll be safe. She thinks what she wants is power, but what she’s really afraid of is losing control.


Q: How was the book's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: I struggle with titles, and for both of my books, we only settled on a title at the last possible minute (apologies to my cover designers!).


This title came from a line in an ice dance program I loved about partners who love and lose one another before finally finding each other at the end. (The program is “Find Me” by French team Papadakis/Cizeron; go look it up on YouTube and thank me later .)


It’s breathtaking and I loved the sense of longing and loss but also determination and hope in that line. It fit the story perfectly.


Q: How would you describe the dynamic between Chase and Lia?


A: Chase is the driven overachiever, the future CEO; Lia is the impulsive wanderer, the free spirit. The love they have for each other runs deep. Before they fell in love, they were childhood best friends for 10 years.


Chase, always so serious, so busy and overwhelmed, is drawn to the way Lia sheds her obligations in pursuit of joy, the way she always seems to do what she wants. But Lia’s exuberance for life belies something softer, sadder, and Chase is the one constant in her life she can count on.


They’re two parts of a whole, two halves of a conversation about whether power and success is worth the price, especially when the price, for Chase, includes losing Lia forever.


Q: The Kirkus review of the novel says, in part, “An unreliable narrator, Chase’s dependence on fictional drug Focentra—like Adderall, but stronger—distorts her grasp of reality.” What do you think of that description, and do you consider Chase an unreliable narrator?


A: Chase is a classic unreliable narrator, but I’d argue that we’re all unreliable narrators in subtle ways. Often, the story we tell ourselves takes the place of what actually happened.


Maybe that’s why I love them so much; they’re honest in their deception because the person they deceive first is themselves. What makes them great main characters is how close we get to their point of view. We’re by their side at every step so we’re with them as they earn their way to the truth.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: My next project is also about love lost but with very different themes, though like my first two novels, it’ll have a bittersweet ending. I just don’t know how to write any other story!


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Thanks so much for having me! I Will Find You Again comes out March 14, and I can be found at, and on Instagram as @sarahlyu7. Come say hi!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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