Author: Tess Sharpe
Publisher: Disney - Hyperion
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Cover Impressions: The cover is pretty, but I don't really see the connection to the story itself. There isn't really anything to make it stand out on the shelf.
Sophie Winters is a survivor. She survived a car crash that left her with a limp, physical limitations and a crushing oxy addiction. She survived getting clean with the help of her family and she survived a brutal attack that left her best friend murdered and her locked away in rehab. As she returns home she must face a new reality without Mina and with all eyes on her. Under this intense scrutiny Sophie is determined to find out what actually happened that night and bring the killer to justice.
I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed the book. I don't read a great deal of mystery but, when I do, I tend to find them fairly predictable. Far From You, however, kept me guessing for quite some time. The mystery was solid and the plotting was well done, with tidbits of information keeping the story moving. Sophie was a great narrator who was aware of her own limitations, but did not whine about them. I was happy that this choice allowed me to see Sophie's struggle with her addiction in a very realistic way. She avoids certain triggers and fights through cravings with breathing and mantras. I have never read anything else that so thoroughly understood the constant struggle of addiction.
Where this novel really shines is in the story of love and friendship between Sophie and Mina. It is not your conventional love story and was actually not something I was expecting. Despite being the character who as died, Mina is not portrayed as a flawless saint as we so often do of our dead. She is shown to be a girl who had some serious trust issues, who was childish and tempestuous and who may have put herself into a very dangerous situation. Yet, as a reader, I truly liked her sense of fun and her unwavering loyalty to Sophie in her time of need.
The story plays out by jumping through time to points in and around several key events: the car accident and recovery, the development of Sophie's drug addiction, Sophie getting clean, The lead up and day of the murder, and the present day. I had thought, upon starting, that this would quickly get confusing but each shift is marked by how long ago it was and what age Sophie was. This allowed me to follow very easily and, if a reader were so inclined, you could even make a timeline of the events. This approach actually worked very well to allow the secondary story to be fleshed out as well as to create a sense of suspense in the primary storyline.
This novel does have some adult themes and a considerable amount of swearing. While it certainly didn't take away from the story, I would be careful about recommending this to readers who are a little too young.
Tess Sharpe has created a fan in me. I am signing on for whatever else she has in the works.
"Sometimes we were downright ruthless to each other. For once, it isn't some cotton-candy idea of her; it's who she was, in all her maddening, heart-squeezing truth."
"I'm too in love with the idea of more and numb and gone."
Age: 16 and up
Sex: Kissing, Sex between teenagers
Violence: Statutory Rape, Gunplay, Hand to Hand Combat, Attempted Strangulation, Murder by Gunshot
Inappropriate Language: Ass, Whore, Fuck, Piss, Bitch, Jesus Christ, Shit, Dyke
Substance Use/Abuse: Underage Drinking, Abuse of Prescription Medication