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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NYU chapter.

Welcome back to my Author Spotlight series! You will soon see a surplus of book news now that spring has started, so be on the lookout for some new releases and recommendations. As a crime junkie and thrill seeker, I’m very excited to introduce to you YA thriller author Sarah Lyu. 

Sarah Lyu grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. She loves a good hike and can often be found with a paintbrush in one hand and a cup of milky tea in the other. Sarah is the author of “The Best Lies” and “I Will Find You Again.” You can visit her at SarahLyu.com.

“I Will Find You Again” is an “All the Bright Places” meets “Ace of Spades” in this smart, twisty thriller about a girl who can’t stop pushing herself to be the best—even after losing her best friend and the love of her life.

Welcome to Meadowlark, Long Island—expensive homes and good schools, ambition and loneliness. Meet Chase Ohara and Lia Vestiano: the driven overachiever and the impulsive wanderer, the future CEO and the free spirit. Best friends for years—weekend trips to Montauk, sleepovers on a yacht—and then, first love. True love.

But when Lia disappears, Chase’s life turns into a series of grim snapshots. Anger. Grief. Running, Pink pills in an Altoids tin. A cheating ring at school. Heartbreak and lies. A catastrophic secret. And the shocking truth that will change everything about the way Chase sees Lia—and herself.  

Do you see yourself more as Chase or Lia? Why?

I see myself in both Chase and Lia, but if I had to pick, it’d be Chase, who was based in part on who I was in my teens, all ambition and desperation to prove myself. I wanted to capture that longing and feeling of not being enough. Sometimes the world asks too much of us too early. Sometimes we ask too much of ourselves, setting standards that are impossible to reach. It was therapeutic to explore the perfectionist part of me in Chase, to help guide her to a slightly better place than where she started. 

If you snuck away to the city for a day with your best friend, like Chase and Lia did, what would be on the agenda?

All the food! New York can be so magical especially in small doses. It’s been almost 10 years since I lived there, but I’d visit some of my old haunts: Sugar Sweet Sunshine and Pig & Khao in the Lower East side, Peacefood and Levain in the upper west side, and of course Chelsea Market and the High Line.

You write Chase’s struggles with drug abuse in a way where the audience understands the scholastic hardships she faces. What was your experience with depression like? How did it influence writing Chase’s own journey?

I’ve struggled with depression for most of my life, culminating in a short stay at a psychiatric hospital for severe depression and suicidal ideation. This is the most personal book I’ve ever written. Chase’s story was a way for me to process what happened in my own life and also maybe reach readers who might need a story like hers the way I needed it when I was a teen. It can be so hard to feel good about ourselves when we’re constantly hit by the message that there’s always something to improve, something to chase after (the flip side of which is that there’s always something wrong with us, or there’s something we’re lacking). That happiness is outside of ourselves and attainable only if we work harder. While there aren’t easy solutions and I still struggle with these things myself, I hope I leave readers with the sense that it doesn’t always have to be this way, that there can be more balance between striving for a better future and living in the moment, between chasing after something and finding joy in what we have now.

How does I Will Find You Again differ from your other YA thriller novel The Best Lies?

They’re both books with intense emotions and close, close relationships, but “The Best Lies” is about an obsessive and codependent friendship that turns violent and “I Will Find You Again” is about how the pressure to succeed poisons Chase and Lia’s minds in different ways and destroys their budding romance.

If you could pick a dessert to best represent this novel, what would it be and why?

Pineapple upside down cake—the play between sweet and sour feels like the perfect fit, and of course, the fact that pineapple eats you as you eat it has this ouroboros vibe that matches the way it feels when you climb and climb the achievement ladder but it feels like you’re perpetually falling behind, as if you’re not actually on a ladder but a hamster wheel instead.

How do you hope your writing will help someone who is fighting with identity crises? What would you say to them?

That’s so tough, and it’s something that plagued me throughout my teens and early adulthood. It’s part of growing up—growing out of the person others expect you to be (and perhaps the person you expect yourself to be) and growing into the person you truly are. When I was younger, I believed that my parents and the other adults in my life had all the answers, that once I was older, I’d have it all figured out. But the truth is that the older I got, the more I realized everyone was sort of winging it. Trying their best and falling short sometimes. We make mistakes, we learn and we forgive ourselves for being human—that’s all we can ever really do.

If readers have a misconception about your novel, what is something about “I Will Find You Again” that you want them to know to dissolve this misconception?

I didn’t set out to write Chase as an unlikeable character, but I’ve seen a few reviews calling her one. It caught me by surprise initially, though now I’ve kind of embraced it because Chase is such a complex character, and there are moments where she is simply not nice to Lia, the person she loves most in the world. Ultimately this is a story about someone who starts off all jagged edges, who’s hard on everyone, herself most of all and how losing Lia turns her entire life upside down and forces her to really examine all the things she thought were true about the world—about her history with Lia, about herself and what she wants, about what she’s willing to sacrifice and why.

Thank you so much Sarah for answering my questions so quickly and beautifully! “I Will Find You Again” is definitely a page-turner for me, and I was so happy to have received a published copy thanks to Alex Kelleher from Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. Alex not only supplied me with a copy of Lyu’s work but has acted as mediator between Lyu along with other authors in the past and present. For that, I am forever grateful. 

Be sure to check out Sarah Lyu’s Instagram for more author content and order a copy of her newest novel!


Sabrina Blandon is an English major at NYU with a minor in creative writing. Avid reader herself and literary advocate, she has interviewed over 60 authors from New York Times bestselling ones to debut authors for Her Author Spotlight blog series for Her Campus NYU and Her Campus Hofstra. She loves exploring everything New York City has to offer and is a major foodie.