Author: Tess Sharpe
Date: March 2014
Source: ARC from publisher
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Nine months. Two weeks. Six days.
That's how long recovering addict Sophie's been drug-free. Four months ago her best friend, Mina, died in what everyone believes was a drug deal gone wrong - a deal they think Sophie set up. Only Sophie knows the truth. She and Mina shared a secret, but there was no drug deal. Mina was deliberately murdered.
Forced into rehab for an addiction she'd already beaten, Sophie's finally out and on the trail of the killer - but can she track them down before they come for her?
Far From You is a strong debut from author Tess Sharpe that packs in an incredible emotional punch set within a compelling, of-the-moment thriller.
This is the story of Sophie, broken in oh-so-many ways. She suffered from a near fatal car accident when she was 15. She recovered from extensive surgery, got addicted to pain pills and went through a difficult recovery period with the help of her aunt. After being clean for nine months, she was held at gunpoint when she was 17, the night her best friend Mina was shot. She was framed, blamed and sent to rehab for three months and now that she’s out, her only focus is discovering the truth behind Mina’s murder.
The book alternates back and forth through different times in Sophie’s life, shifting between now and then with every chapter. This style of narration lets us know Mina—enigmatic, flighty, beloved Mina—and the true impact she had on Sophie and everyone else in her little town. I found the shifts a little jarring, maybe because the chapters are short, however it was wonderful to see the story and characters develop by giving us their past.
It’s not an easy read, by any means. You could feel Sophie’s pain, distrust, confusion and heartbreak with every word of narration. The book captured the emotions of teenagers perfectly and all of the themes Sharpe explores in the book: friendship, forbidden love, heartbreak, parental trust, addiction and so much more are beautifully nuanced and completely believable. Wonderfully, it also explores an unconventional love triangle, which is still breaking my heart. A truly unique love story.
Sharpe’s writing is beautiful, and each sentence was crafted so well. The simplest word or well-placed punctuation mark enhanced the mood and caused my heart to flutter. Each touch, look, even the moments of silence between the characters were positively alive with meaning. It was truly beautiful to read and I found myself savouring each word.
That said, because I loved the mood of the book and the characters so much, part of me wishes it was a more of a conventional contemporary, just about Sophie, Mina, Trev, Rachel, Rich and how they are dealing with Mina’s death. I’m normally a big fan of thrillers, and even though it delivered an exciting ending, my heart wasn’t into the mystery until the final third of the book.
Despite that, I absolutely loved Far From You and as soon as my heart gets over the first reading, I think it would be wonderful to revisit it. It’s one of those books that I’m sure has a hundred hidden nuances just waiting to be discovered. Highly recommended and a great new voice in YA fiction that I’ll watching very closely in the future.