Title: Far From You
Author: Tess Sharpe
Genre: YA, mystery
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.
Once again, Disney-Hyperion proves to be one of my favorite imprints. I don’t think there’s been a single book published by them that I disliked, and Far From You is no different. I have a lot to say about this book, so I’m going to throw up a SPOILER ALERT here because I know I won’t be able to contain myself!
There’s a few specific things I want to talk about, rather than the entire book, so I’ll break it down for clarity.
The Mystery. I hate mystery books. I hate murders and whodunits. HATE. But Far From You had my heart racing, my fingers clutching my phone (kindle app), and I kept checking the corners of my bedroom for creepers. I’m going to say it right now: this was one mystery that I’d read over and over again for sure! I did not see that ending coming, and my mouth was hanging wide open when the murderer was revealed.
The Drug Addiction. Far From You has several subplots, one of the major ones being Sophie’s drug addiction. I would have liked to see a bit more of her struggle, but what Sharpe did include was incredibly powerful. She didn’t shy away from what the addiction made Sophie do, and instead of portraying Sophie as perfect despite everything, she wrote about the nitty-gritty – how much Sophie truly screwed up and that constant battle within her to stay clean.
The Family. Thank God for a family who actually cares about what happens to their relatives. When Sophie hit a crisis point, her aunt, both parents, and her best friend Mina all got involved. The support and brutal honesty from all of them was just perfect. They were harsh, but it was because they loved Sophie, and only wanted the best for her. I really loved how Sharpe made a healthy family, but not one that just glazes over what’s going on behind closed doors.
The Flashbacks. Each chapter switches timelines, and the flashbacks aren’t told in chronological order. It’s a bit confusing at first, because I kept thinking, “why aren’t we going in order??” But the timeline isn’t what’s important – it’s the moments. They’re perfectly lined up with where Sophie is at in the “present” timeline, and give more depth to what’s going on.
The Romance. I saved this for last, because the romance isn’t the most important plot point of Far From You. But it’s a huge, pivotal point in Sophie’s life, so I really do need to address it. The synopsis isn’t really clear on this at all, but Sophie and Mina were in love. Actually, Sophie is bisexual. This was my first book with a LGBT romance, so I was a bit surprised when it popped up, but I felt that it was handled very well. Sharpe introduces the characters and who they are, rather than leading with their sexuality. And in that, it felt very organic, and not just some plot point she threw in for shock value.
The Ending. You know, it wasn’t a flawless ending. It wasn’t happily ever after. It was bittersweet, and almost a bit painful. But I think that’s why it was so perfect for this book – it’s realistic and gritty, and while the ending has a lot of hope, it’s also heartbreaking. I almost thought Sophie would end up with Trevor, and I’m really glad she didn’t. The fact that she’s moving away and starting her life is an even better ending than falling in love with her dead best friend/lover’s brother. Because the latter would have been a bit creepy, but the former brings back that theme of picking yourself up and moving on from tragedy.
The Cover. When I started the book, I didn’t understand how the lights meant anything that related to the book. But the final scene at Mina’s grave… wow. Applause for whoever decided to keep the cover; it really embodies the heart of the story.
I think that about covers it. Far From You doesn’t scream “I’m your new favorite book” to me, but it was one that I thoroughly enjoyed, and would read again for sure. I’m actually considering purchasing a finished copy for myself – it can only be better when the formatting and final edits are made!
My Final Rating: