Rating: 4 / 5
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Drama, Contemporary
Author: Tess Sharpe
Release Date: April 8, ’14 by Disney-Hyperion
Number of pages: 384
Source: ARC from Netgalley
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Sophie Winters nearly died. Twice.
The first time, she’s fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that’ll take years to kick.
The second time, she’s seventeen, and it’s no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina’s murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth: Sophie has been clean for months, and it was Mina who led her into the woods that night for a meeting shrouded in mystery.
After a forced stint in rehab, Sophie returns home to a chilly new reality. Mina’s brother won’t speak to her, her parents fear she’ll relapse, old friends have become enemies, and Sophie has to learn how to live without her other half. To make matters worse, no one is looking in the right places and Sophie must search for Mina’s murderer on her own. But with every step, Sophie comes closer to revealing all: about herself, about Mina and about the secret they shared
I am not a big fan of contemporary books. Sure, I like reading about drama, especially about love, life, and family, but for some reason, drama set in the real world don’t really reel me in. Mysteries and conspiracies in made-up worlds appeal so much more to me than the realistic ones, but Far From You was a bit different in a way it reached out to me few other books could (i.e. Unteachable, If You Find Me). It had that rawness you rarely find in other books, and a sincerity and intensity that reach your core and grip it with iron hands. Make no doubt, the magic worked from the very first page and never let go until my heart was able to breathe freely again.
What I loved about this book was how it genuinely showcased Sophie’s complex relationships with her best friend and Trevor. At first, I thought it would be just your average best friend thingamajig with a few intrigues here and there, but it was actually far deeper than that, and the rawness of it all – how they met, how they grew up together, how they truly understood each other, how they formed a bond so intricate and previous – really got to me. Usually, I am not fond of flashbacks and interludes, but the author really wrote it well here, to the point that it became the certain element that I looked forward to reading the most. It was through those tidbits of the past that I truly understood the impact of Mina in Sophie’s life and Sophie to Mina’s, and that dawning realization was highly intense and honest. Yes, it may disguise itself as a murder mystery, but reading Sophie’s genuine voice and her journey to recovery and closure was this book’s strongest point. Her gradual transformation – from a broken and run-down person to someone relieved of any burden and now has a positive outlook in life – was uplifting and inspiring, and my heart went to her all the way.
Of course, there were a few things I didn’t like… for instance, the mystery aspect was honestly weak. The drama took a huge part of the novel that this factor was left out, making it fail to deliver. This makes me a bit sad as I am a huge mystery fan. There’s nothing greater than looking for clues alongside the main character and piecing everything together with them. In Far From You, not only did it feel dull at times, it was completely random! Truly, what is the point of making us suspicious of certain characters, giving us clues that THIS might be the guy or THAT might be the guy, when in the end it would be some random person I didn’t even give a fuck about? The climax was just so anti-climactic; instead of making my heart jump or bounce in suspense, the poor thing only felt deflated upon discovering the mastermind of the said crime. “He’s the guy??? But….. why…?” It truly felt random. There was no build-up whatsoever. There were so many other people who could have been the real suspect since they seemed to really have the motive to go after her, but we’re given some dude who was only mentioned once and that’s it. I was very disappointed.
There was also a derp moment, near the climax, that made me roll my eyes so much. A bit of warning: this is spoiler-y, so proceed at your own risk.
You see, everyone knows that the murderer was someone they knew and someone who lived in the neighborhood, but despite having that knowledge, our heroine here still decided to go to a party held in an isolated place. I was thinking to myself, “Hey, girl, since your life is in danger, and you already received multiple threats, shouldn’t you try to keep a low profile?!” But no, our main character even separated from her friends to “take a breather”, all by her lonesome, in the woods, with a guy from their group of friends who she didn’t see for the longest time.
In the woods.
Separated from her friends.
I truly thought it was a derp-y scene. It was like trying to force upon the main character to make the climax happen already. It was stupid, stupid, stupid. Your life is in danger and you don’t hesitate to go by yourself in a remote area???? It didn’t feel natural at all. This moment in the novel seemed very contrived to keep the story going and it was at this point that I kept shaking my head. I wish this aspect was thought-out more. Not only did the real plot feel rushed, it felt random and… weird. I know, my description is pretty vague, but I have no other words to describe it. BIZAAAARRE.
Other than that, though, the book is a gem. Don’t read this expecting an awesome murder whodunit mystery, because you’ll only be left sorely disappointed. But if you want to read about some good internal drama-rama that explores a certain kind of love, a certain extent of brokenness and guilt, and a certain kind of friendship that would really punch you in the gut. The emotions here run very high, and you’ll be left gasping.
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