Far From You
This young adult novel was surprisingly engrossing for blending several stories — teen romance, a murder mystery, dealing with loss, and most importantly, a young woman learning to handle her pain and be honest with herself — with skill.
Sophie’s story in Far From You is told in interwoven flashbacks, as she copes with first, recovering from a serious car accident that required rebuilding her leg and back. She, her best friend Mina, and Mina’s brother Trev were all affected, but Sophie worst of all. Their relationships were damaged for the first time by Sophie’s addiction to painkillers and the resulting secrets she learns to hide.
The second major event in her life is the night the two girls set out for a party and, after a confrontation that’s more complicated than anyone believes, Mina is shot dead. Surprisingly, by talking about all these events, I’m not spoiling anything. It’s all very quickly established, but the feelings and mysteries are what are slowly revealed over the course of the novel.
Why were Sophie and Mina where she got killed? Why did others lie about the cause? What secret did they share that they won’t admit to anyone else and barely to each other?
Tess Sharpe does an excellent job building characters you care for and want to know more about. The alternating chapter structure, between now and then, could be frustrating, but instead, she doles out information at a solid pace, filling in the picture for the reader in a way that mimics how secrets can be revealed, particularly when people have motives to keep them hidden — some protective, some romantic, some murderous. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)