Today is my stop on the Here Blog Tour, hosted by A Tale of Many Reviews, and I’ve got my review for you as well as a fun This ‘N That interview with Denise. You also have a chance to win a copy! How’s that for a great day!? 🙂
Denise Grover Swank
Series: On the Otherside, #1
Release date: November 11th 2011
Sixteen year old Julia Phillips buries herself in guilt after killing her best friend Monica in a car accident. Julia awoke in the hospital with a broken leg, a new talent for drawing and false memories of the accident, in which she dies and Monica lives. The doctors attribute this to her head injury, but no one can explain how a bracelet engraved with her name ended up at the scene of the accident. A bracelet no one has ever seen before.
Classmate Evan Whittaker paid Julia no attention before the accident, let alone after. Now suddenly he’s volunteering to tutor her and offering to drive her home. She can’t ignore that his new obsession started after his two-day disappearance last week and that he wears a pendant she’s been drawing for months. When the police show up one night looking for Evan, he begs Julia to run with him, convincing her that Monica is still alive. Julia agrees to go, never guessing where he’s really from.
Here starts off as a sort of light contemporary romance with a glimpse of possible paranormal elements to come. I wasn’t very impressed at first, I felt it was all very cliché, thus I was foreseeing another “same old” predictable paranormal romance. However, at the turn of a page, I was completely baffled by a sudden change of events which essentially transforms it into a rather dystopian/sci-fi novel. This was a very welcome change as, up to this point, I wasn’t really feeling it with this book. But boy was it interesting! I can’t say very much else without spoilers, but I can tell you that the plot becomes action packed, highly fascinating, and undoubtedly original.
After Julia’s accident – the one where her best friend died – things have been a bit off. She can now draw, she has no memory of the accident, and she’s suddenly caught the attention of the school hottie. Even though the plot at first didn’t completely captivate me, I did find a liking to Julia from the start. I liked her voice and being in her head. It’s emotional; her guilt over killing her best friend is tangible, her mindset is realistic and I understood her. This connection to her easily made the seemingly ordinary plot more engaging. Once you hit about half way, though, nothing about the plot is ordinary!
With a fair amount of romance in the story, we do have a pretty big love triangle in the mists. I wasn’t particularly fond of it as it felt as if Julia was taking advantage of the situation at one point, but I did like the characters involved. The boys are full of charm and wit; they are definitely a great part of the cast. I think we could have easily done without the current triangle’s appearance. The situation is VERY peculiar, though; I do admit that it’s thought-provoking, if nothing else.
This being the start of a series, there is more discovering and digesting, than actual world building. We could have gone deeper now that I think about it, but I was so enticed by what we were uncovering that questions only arose afterwards – which is fine since there’s more to come. I’m particularly curious about the alternate school from the first part. It sounded very ominous, but nothing came of it. I also hope we get to go back and learn what all happened once Julia’s world collapsed.
A complete and fantastic surprise, Here turned out to be extremely different than what I initially expected. We get a story that is exciting, authentic, as well as mind boggling; it makes you contemplate the ramifications of what has happened. I especially recommend it for fans of dystopians who like a deviation from the norm.
|4 Hot Espressos|
10 “Favorites” Interview with Denise Grover Swank
1. Favorite movie/actor/actress? Hmm… this is hard. All I can think is that there is one actor I will just about always go see in a movie—Will Smith.
2. Favorite song/singer? This changes often. Currently stuck on repeat is Relient K
3. Favorite place you would love to visit? Other than Starbucks? (See below) The beach. I love the ocean.
4. One item you cannot live without? My iPhone (yes, I think that makes me pathetic.)
5. Who would you like to meet? (dead or alive) Wow. I’m so lucky to have some awesome people in my life. Umm… I’d love to chat with Suzanne Collins about how her concept for the Hunger Games developed.
6. Favorite hobby? Reading and gardening
7. Guilty pleasure? Starbucks—I visit too often.
8. Favorite author and/book? Sarah Addison Allen. I’d love to write as beautifully as she does when I grow up. 😉
9. Do you collect anything? Other than children and dogs? No. 😉 ( I have six kids and three dogs.)
10. Favorite color? Currently: steel blue. Ask me again tomorrow and it’s bound to change. I’m a Gemini. Enough said. 😉
Denise Grover Swank lives in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. She has six children, three dogs, and an overactive imagination. She can be found dancing in her kitchen with her children, reading or writing her next book. You will rarely find her cleaning. Denise is represented by Amanda Luedeke of MacGregor Literary.
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