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.Far From You by Tess Sharpe
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 8th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Disney Book Group
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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!
4 Hot Espressos