Author: Tess Sharpe
Published by Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: 08 April 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Young Adult (YA)
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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.
Thank you to Disney-Hyperion and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Far From You in exchange for a fair and honest review.
My Review of Far From You:
I didn’t mean to read this because I usually hate murder-mystery books, but that cover. WOW. It pulled me in. I mean LOOK AT IT. I love white Christmas lights, and the cover was fantastically confusing and out of place right up until the very end, but it is totally fitting and awesome. Fist bump to the designer.
As a tribute to drug addiction (of the hooked-on-pain-killers variety) I thought that Far From You did a good job. Addiction is a powerful force, one that many people suffer with day to day. I loved how Sophie owned her battle. She didn’t say, “I was a drug addict. I’m in recovery.” She said, “I AM a drug addict. I’m in recovery.” She knew every day of her life that she was still fighting the urge to wipe away the pain of her loss, her injuries and her guilt by taking pain meds. I respected that strength in Sophie, and it helped me connect with her as a character and respect the fact that she wasn’t in denial, she wasn’t hiding anything, and she was going to stay clean. Her potential relapse was never really in question because of the strength of her character. Sophie’s struggles both hardened and strengthened her so much. She was so comfortable with herself because after everything she’d gone through with her injuries and subsequent addiction, what does it matter what some stupid kids at school think?
The other struggle is very tastefully and poignantly done. I haven’t read very many books dealing with LGBT characters, but I have heard that bisexual characters in particular are often misrepresented or poorly characterized, and we’ve all ready books with an awkwardly written “token” gay character. Sophie and Mina’s friendship is powerful, and in their teen years, there’s been something else, a secret they keep, one that Mina isn’t comfortable owning up to. Knowing as we do that Mina is dead, it’s hard to read this with any kind of feeling other than “this isn’t going to end well,” but Sharpe wove in enough moments of true friendship and love that Far From You wasn’t entirely depressing.
As far as style, Far From You was pretty good. The writing was solid, with flashes of excellence prose and some really great quotes. At first, I wasn’t a fan of how the flashback timeline jumped around. Once you get into the middle of the novel, though, the flashback timeline is more consistently linear, which helps a lot both with watching how Sophie and Mina grew together and also the order of events leading up to the murder. I actually did like the dual timelines, because you didn’t meet Mina and then see her die. You already knew she was dead and that’s awful, so you want to find out who did it and why.