Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review: Far From You by Tess Sharpe

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I received this book for free from Disney Book Group in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Far From You by Tess SharpeFar From You by Tess Sharpe
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 8th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Disney Book Group
Buy on Amazon

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.

An emotionally raw story that combines mystery and romance, Far From You offers more than I expected. It’s a poignant look into the life of a girl who’s lived through tragedy after tragedy, which led her into a deep pit filled with pain, secrets, and addiction.

Told in alternating past and present timelines, we slowly learn exactly who Sophie is, what her relationship with Mina was like, and how it all led to today’s misery. While I’m not always a fan of rotating past and present POVs, especially those that send us at different points in time with seemingly no chronological order, but in this case it really worked. We aren’t meant to follow a strict timeline, but rather to witness the brief moments that founded their relationship. It’s more like being privy to memories, really. Happy memories that balances out the heartbreak of the present. We get to see them form a bond and connect, in turn making us grieve alongside Sophie for this immeasurable loss. It was more than just a friendship, they were in love and it was so incredibly genuine. I loved how the book explored their relationship, not putting the focus on homosexuality exactly, but on unconditional love. It’s about the person for Sophie, not the gender.

The addiction, on the other hand, is given a more methodical approach. Maybe having just read Hopkins’ Crank series – a naked look inside the mind of a drug addict – is to blame a bit, but I felt like Sophie’s addiction, and the desperation that comes with, was not demonstrated to its full potential. It’s more an obstacle we’re aware of rather than one we come to feel and experience, especially her rehabilitation which is only briefly summarized. At the same time, for a stand-alone that also explores murder, friendship, love, and death, it incorporates addiction remarkably well. Most importantly, Sophie has this relatable vulnerability that justifies her frame of mind throughout. She’s flawed, for sure, and I loved her for being real.

Surrounding this emotionally compelling story is a murder mystery. A dark secret got Mina killed, and Sophie won’t rest until she figures it out. This called to my murder mystery loving self and I had a lot of fun with it. It’s the kind of mystery that makes you suspect everyone we meet, therefore making the ending not especially shocking, but adrenaline-filled nonetheless.

Far From You is an emotionally driven love story that is just as beautiful as it is tragic. Even though some aspects are left on the surface, it was intensely raw at times. It’s one book I won’t hesitate to recommend to contemporary lovers!


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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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31 Responses to “Review: Far From You by Tess Sharpe”

  1. Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    I have been seeing this around but never added it to my to-read list since there’s something about the cover that’s putting me off, haha. But after reading your review, I’m starting to get really curious about Sophie and her friendship with Mina, as well as her drug addiction. I would really love an emotional read right now. Wonderful review, Giselle.

  2. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I had no idea that this book would be so emotional, Giselle. I thought it was only a murder mystery, but it sounds like it has some deep themes. The friendship between Sophie and Mina sounds interesting and it’s got me very curious about this book.
    Lovely review, Giselle.

  3. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I do not like past/present books. One or two flashbacks…maybe. But consistently usually has me shoving the book to the side (I don’t like it in movies or TV shows, either). I do like the murder mystery aspect, though. A maybe…

  4. Siiri

    I just love love love this cover. I do love the mystery in past ‘n present timelines, but sometimes these stories don’t really work for me, because one timeline is more intriguing than the other. I’m glad this isn’t only a sob story, but has happier memories as well to balance it out. I know you like mysteries (who doesn’t, really?) so I’m glad it’s done the right way and you cannot help but suspect everyone. So happy that you enjoyed this pretty:)

  5. ShootingStarsMag

    Oh this sounds great. I love a gritty contemporary novel and a good mystery so this seems like a really nice fit for me. I’m glad you liked it! The cover is so pretty!!

  6. Rashika

    I didn’t even know that this book focuses on homosexuality until now.. although that kind of makes me more curious. Also.. I am drawn in by how this book deals more with love and not the gender of the person who you love.

    Although I sense impending heartbreak… perhaps I should buy some duct tape.. so I can tape my heart back together afterwards??

    Lovely Review, Giselle!! 🙂

  7. Maya

    Ooh, I REALLY want to read this! It sounds so good and I’ve seen a lot of very positive reviews – hope I can get my hands on a copy soon! Lovely review, Giselle 🙂

  8. Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

    Far From You is an emotionally driven love story that is just as beautiful as it is tragic.”

    Wow! This sounds AMAZING Giselle! I’m loving the sound of how heartbreaking and emotion-provoking it is; and the characterization sounds really well-done as well! And the mystery aspect of the story sounds fascinating! Anyway, thanks SO much for sharing Giselle! Definitely going to have to add this to my TBR list! 😀

  9. Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Book Blog)

    I can’t wait to read this one! I’m glad you liked it!! I really like reading books that go back and forth between past and present, so that’s right up my alley! Plus I love that there’s the mystery element to this book. I love a good YA mystery (when I can find one, because it’s hard!!!)

  10. Megan

    I don’t read a lot of contemporaries, but I find I prefer ones with a bit of mystery or something going on, so I might need to give this one a try.

  11. czai

    I don’t exactly read contemporary but since it seems to have a good murder mystery and it’s an emotionally driven love story, I just might give this one a try.

  12. Abbe Hinder

    I recently finish The Summer I Wasn’t Me and I am DYING to read this one now! Although I’m not a huge fan of mystery stories, I do love stories about teens and addiction (loved the mention of Ellen Hopkins!) and I think I would just love this one. Ugh, I can’t wait for it to come out! Great review!

  13. Melliane

    it sounds like a wonderful book with everything we could like to have. It’s nice to have a mystery like that, it always intrigues me. Thanks for the review!

  14. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    So, WOW. I don’t read very much YA contemporary and almost no mystery at all, but you made me WANT to read this one. I don’t mind back-and-forth in timelines (as long as it’s not incoherent), and poor Sophie just sounds like a MESS. I’m curious to see how it all plays out. Great review!

  15. Pili

    Wow! Seems that this book has a bit of everything and that is done well without cliches.
    Really great review, Giselle, I will be adding it to my TBR list now!

  16. Sandra "Jeanz"

    I have a paperback copy of this to read it’s just scheduling the time to read it! Thank you for the such in depth review.

  17. Jenea @ Books Live Forever

    Been putting this one off, I will certainly be bumping it up on my list. Sounds really good. I don’t read a lot of books that have addictions to drugs in them, so this is a little out o my comfort zone, but I am looking forward to giving it a try. Glad you enjoyed it.

  18. Pamela D

    I have been a big fan of this book’s cover since I first saw it. I am happy to hear that the book itself is quite good too. I am always up for a mystery.

  19. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    This sounds completely amazing, you’ve convinced me that I need to read this Giselle! I like these contemporary mysteries with a raw edge to them. Totally different to the usual fluffy contemporary or romance.

  20. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    So glad to see that you liked this!! I am about half done and I am enjoying it too. I like the shift from past to present. Sometimes it disconnects me from a story, but it works really well with this one. Great review love!!

  21. Danielle

    Wow! Emotional, gritty, raw and a mystery? That’s some tall order and the fact that it delivers is wonderful. Definitely going to keep an eye out for this one!

  22. Georgie

    Really like the cover, and your review has kind of convinced me that I need to read it 🙂 Added to my TBR pile already!