Saturday, January 26, 2013

Book Review: HERE

Here (On the Otherside #1)
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.
(Cover & description from Goodreads. Source.)
Published by: Denise Grover Swank via Create space
Publication Date: November 2011
Kat's Review
The description for this book doesn't do the story justice.  In fact, if someone hadn't recommended this book to me, I would never have picked it up based on the description above. It sounds a bit silly and simplistic.
Instead, I found a book with tight writing and characters that drew me in right from the start.  Julia is struggling with the death of her best friend, and blames herself for the accident.  As a result, she's pushed everyone away, including her family, and sleepwalks her way through life.  No one wants to be around her, so when one of the most popular boys in the school is assigned as her tutor and suddenly takes an interest in her where there was no interest before, the story begins to get interesting.  Rather than becoming cheesy, the story becomes more interesting.
It's rare that a book with such a seemingly simple storyline can deliver truly surprising twists and turns.  I can honestly say that this one did.  I had no idea where this was going.  The twist near the end was so original and expertly handled by the author that what started as an OK book turned into a book I didn't want to put down.  What's even more impressive is that it's all accomplished within the confines of a book that's truly suitable for young teens as well as older readers.  There is some romance, yes, but it's pretty innocent, without any graphic sex scenes.  There is also violence, but the main character struggles with it. 
Without giving away spoilers, this is a very realistic story about a heartbroken girl who meets a heartbroken boy, and together they begin to work through their pain.  With a twist.  A very, very, big twist.  A twist that in some ways is more interesting than the relationship itself. 
Rating: A Good Read
This is one of the more original books I've read in a while, although at the start it seems to be a typical girl meets boy story.  I picked up the second book in the series immediately after I was finished reading this one. 
BUY FROM AMAZON.CA Here (On the Otherside)

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