Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Far from You by Tess Sharpe

I have this terrible habit of buying books and not reading them. I'm a book magpie: the process of acquisition is almost as pleasurable, if not more so, as the act of reading itself. What this means is that I have a whole lot of unread books lying around and I'm constantly buying more instead of reading what I have. I'm trying to change that, though, and what better way than by stuffing books two or three at a time in my bag so they're there?

This is one of those books.

YA is not always my genre of choice, but one type of YA book I keep coming back to again and again is the young adult thriller. I think it's because I'm super nosy and I love the idea of everyone hiding secrets in a claustrophobic environment and then seeing those secrets gradually come to light. And what is more claustrophobic than the fishbowl of high school, where everyone is very interested in what everyone else is doing? And if one of the things that people are doing is murder, then look out world, and put on your Drama Boots™.

I actually just read another YA thriller just before this one, called LITTLE MONSTERS. Both books are somewhat similar in that they serve the dual purpose of exploring the emotionally-fraught relationships between teenage girls amidst the backdrop of a murder. LITTLE MONSTERS is more of a tale of obsession and friendship in the vein of Megan Abbott, however, whereas FAR FROM YOU is more of a romance. Specifically, a doomed LGBT romance where a girl seeks vengeance and the truth when the love of her life is murdered after digging too deep into a half-buried mystery.

Sophie was in two accidents. Both of them took something from her. The first ended up facilitating her addiction to opiates. The second stole away the person she cared about most. After a long, hard road to recovery, Sophie has emerged battered but unbroken, determined to find out what happened to her girlfriend, Mina, and what she knew that was so important that someone was willing to kill for it.

There is so much emotion in this book and I thought the subjects of sexuality and addiction were handled really well. Bisexuality, especially, was described really well in this book. All too often, you encounter books that play into the hands of the usual stereotypes: promiscuity, confusion, etc. But Sophie knows what she wants, and who she wants. And even if she feels attraction to other people - boys and girls - there is only one person that she loves. It was so beautiful. I almost cried at the end of the book, because it was so sad and tragic and poignant. Luckily, I didn't, because I was reading this on the bus, but man, it was close. It's been a while since a book hit me THAT HARD.

If you enjoy YA thrillers with edgy content and good bisexual rep, FAR FROM YOU is a great choice. I really enjoyed it a lot, and between this and LITTLE MONSTERS, I kind of want to go on a YA thriller kick. They're like Pringles, man. You can't stop at just one.

3.5 to 4 out of 5 stars

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