Series: Letters To Nowhere

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

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