Monday, December 09, 2013

Review: Letters To Nowhere by Julie Cross

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Review: Letters To Nowhere by Julie Cross
Letters To Nowhere
Julie Cross
Series: Letters To Nowhere #1
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: August 1st 2013

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From the International Bestselling Author of the Tempest Series...

Set in the tough world of Elite Gymnastics...

I've gotten used to the dead parents face. I've gotten used to living with my gymnastics coach. I've even adjusted to sharing a bathroom with his way-too-hot son. Dealing with boys is not something that's made it onto my list of experiences as of yet. But here I am, doing it. And something about Jordan--being around him, talking to him, thinking about him--makes me feel like I can finally breathe again. That's something I haven't been able to do lately. He knows what it feels like to be me right now. He knows what it's like to wonder--what now? I think about it constantly. I need answers. I need to know how to get through this. In the gym, if you're struggling, you train harder, you do drills and conditioning. How do I work hard at moving on? At being on my own? And what happens if I might be...maybe...probably falling for Jordan? I mean we live together now. That can't happen, can it? But kissing him...well, let's just say it's not an easy activity to forget.
-A copy was provided by Julie Cross for review-

Being a big fan of Julie Cross’s Tempest series, I have no idea how I missed knowing about this series of hers before now, but I’m glad I came across it. Don’t go into it expecting anything at all like Tempest, however, as this is a completely different genre. It proves that this is an author with more than one story to tell!

Letters to Nowhere is ultimately about surviving grief, set in the aftermath of a horrible accident that takes the life of Karen’s parents. From the beginning I could already feel Karen’s loss. Her emotions were dripping off of the pages, making vivid her grief, sorrow, and mental anguish. I found myself sympathetic towards her before I even got to know her. Forming a connection to her is made especially easy with the various letters scattered through the novel that exposes her innermost thoughts. Even out loud, I appreciated how realistic – and honest – she was about the more personal aspects of life, like teenage insecurities (including puberty) and romance. And this is where Jordan comes in. An equally well developed character, Jordan is just as much a listening ear as a safe haven for Karen. No matter how embarrassing the situation, he takes it head on. Having had to live through a tragedy of his own, Jordan is able to help her through her own, thus forming a bond that is hard to ignore. The romance that develops between them, unusual for a few reasons – one being their living arrangements, is impressively candid. From uncomfortable teenage insecurities to clumsy intimate moments, nothing is embellished to fit the mold of the idealized Hollywood love story trope. Some of it is sweet, some of it is awkward, and all of it is realistic.

The realism is not exclusive to the romance: The atypical family setting; Karen’s relationships with various people from her teammates to her therapist; the competition and drive to be the best at your sport; every aspect of this story is wonderfully crafted. The sport in question is gymnastics; one I had not come across yet in my many sports-related YA reads. I do admit to being a tad overwhelmed by the gymnastic terms and sometimes lengthy description of routines and such. Not that it’s very complicated or confusing, but more because, even though I enjoy watching it, the technicalities of it all is not especially interesting to me and this book had a large focus on just that. I found myself skipping some of the impertinent gym-related chatter after a while. I still enjoyed the sport theme overall, like seeing Karen fall and pick herself back up, as well as the whole competitive atmosphere.

Letters to Nowhere is a novel full of love, loss, and tragedy, told in the voice of a grief-stricken teenage girl. Fans of contemporary YA are sure to find themselves thoroughly invested in this emotional, yet hopeful story.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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24 Responses to “Review: Letters To Nowhere by Julie Cross”

  1. Ashley

    Hmm I’m intrigued! I hadn’t heard of this book before but it sounds really interesting. I used to be into gymnastics when I was a lot younger. I might give it a shot!

  2. Lyra

    As a huge fan of gymnastics, I LOVED Letters to Nowhere. I think Cross did a good job of explaining the different gymnastics terms, and like you, I loved Karen’s character development.

    Great review, Giselle!

  3. Brianna @ Listful Booking

    This is such a great story! I enjoyed it as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ The following stories in this series are more like novellas and are going to be released on like a serial basis-the second is already out and I believe the third is as well or will be within a week. So happy to see other people enjoy this as well!

    • Giselle

      Oh I didn’t know the others were novellas/short reads. That’ll probably get me to read them sooner since they’re easier to fit in a crazy review schedule ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Brianna @ Listful Booking

        I didn’t entirely know either till I searched for the second on Amazon:
        “IMPORTANT! Note from the author โ€” Karen and Jordan’s story will continue in shorter installments with more frequent releases. If you haven’t already, please check out the full length novel, LETTERS TO NOWHERE to read how the story began.”

  4. Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

    I must admit, when I first heard about this one, I was really hesitant about it. I mean, I really like the concept and all, but there’s still something that just made me hesitant to make me want to put this on my TBR. It looks like I’ll have to be adding this one, though! I really love this realism. I’ve been craving more realistic, honest teenage protagonists lately, ever since reading This Song Will Save Your Life. There’s just so much going on in my own life that I want to be able to find a protag who is going through the same experiences (typical reader response? haha). But I really love how Cross manages to make the emotions drip off the page from the very beginning- that bodes well for me being able to create a connection with the character. Also, I’m liking the sound of this super realistic romance as well, even with the strangeness with the living arrangements and all.

    Even with the gymnastics terminology, I think this is one I absolutely have to try now. Lovely review, Giselle! <3

    • Giselle

      Hope you love it if you ever try it out, Aneeqah! It does have a lot of realistic emotions and the characters are very well developed.

      Also: I loved This Song Will Save Your Life!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Candace

    I remembering hearing of this one, but I had forgot about it. I have only heard good things though so I’m really glad you enjoyed it. I love her other series as well.

  6. Alexa Y.

    I haven’t read this one yet, but I’ll admit to being mildly curious! I love the gymnastics aspect to it, because I’ve always been fascinated with that sport. And I definitely want to see what Julie can do with contemporary!

  7. Jenea @ Books Live Forever

    I haven’t seen this one before. The emotional aspect sounds like a good one, and the loss of parents and the gymnastics are both something that I can understand and connect with. I think I will check my library for it. Wonderful review.

  8. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    This book sounds like a perfect book for teens because while it deals with heavier topics like grief, it’s realistic towards a teen’s insecurities about puberty and romance. The romance feels like an added bonus to the realistic quality of the book because we all know life is really awkward but it can also be sweet. I’m glad you liked this one, I really want to give this one a try soon.

    Fantastic review! <33

  9. fishgirl182

    I had no idea that Julie Cross came out with a new book, either. This one sounds like a really emotional read. Grief books are really hard for me to read but I will put this one on my list for when I am in the right frame of mind.

  10. Chel

    I’ve been meaning to read Tempest since a year ago but still haven’t gotten around to it. This book though, I had no intention of reading because I always try to stay away from books that deal with tragedy.

  11. Tara

    When I heard it had gymnastics, I read it immediately. I did gymnastics (okay tumbling) when I was younger and my older brother did competitions, so this book hit home, minus the tragedy. It was really a great, quick read.

    • Giselle

      Haha I did some tumbling too but it only lasted a couple months when I realized I was too clumsy for this sport! ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you liked it too!

  12. Zoe

    Great review Giselle! I’m so glad you liked this as much as I did! ๐Ÿ™‚ Like you said, I loved how realistic this was; it felt so real to me! The romance between Jordan & Karen was by far my favorite part though! Being a competitive gymnast myself, I thought the gymnastics element of the story was a definite plus; and I felt Julie did an incredible job explaining the skills in terms that even non-gymnasts could understand. However, I guess I can see how this might be a tad overwhelming for people who aren’t huge gymnastics fans; but I’m glad you liked it overall!

    As always, brilliant review Giselle! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Giselle

      Thanks, Zoe! She did do a good job at explaining it – it wasn’t that it was confusing, there was just a lot of it and I wasn’t that interested in the details on the different flip styles etc. So it was just my personal lack of interest in these technicalities than anything ๐Ÿ™‚ I imagine if you’re into gymnastics it would be a big plus, though! It didn’t stop me from enjoying the book overall ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Danielle

    I’ve had this on my kindle for months and cannot wait to read it especially after this review! I haven’t read the Tempest series yet but when I heard about this one it just sounded like something right up my alley! Great review Giselle, defo gonna try and read this over christmas!