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This is my new low water mark in YA literature. I’m normally pretty fair in my reviews and take into account that other people may appreciate elements of a story (eg the romance) more than I do.
Here, however, is a fundamentally broken story.
I do spoiler-free reviews, meaning I don’t give away anything that isn’t in the audible synopsis. Unfortunately that means I can’t really discuss where this book goes because the mid-point reveal is supposed to be a surprise.
All I’ll say is that the reveal is/requires a complete break in continuity. The setting, characters and story itself have to fundamentally change after the break. This means that most of the build-up in the first half of the book is for naught.
Julia’s story about overcoming guilt, depression and maybe figuring out the mystery around the fatal accident has no real bearing on the story after the break. Likewise, the character relationships we spent so long trying to establish also come to nothing. And I say *trying* to establish because there’s no real ‘development’ – two hot guys come out of nowhere to worship and insult Julia in equal measure and this is supposed to equate to true love in YA literature.
The reveal itself is enormous but there was no opportunity to really play with or explore it because it came so late in the story. This leaves us with a second half full of info dumps, love triangles (there are TWO, I kid you not) and a pointless heroine hell-bent of self-sacrifice that does nothing but collapse to her knees on three separate occasions during the climax.
It kills me to be so dismissive of a book; I truly do try to be fair because I’m an amateur writer who’d hate to read a scathing review.
Honestly, though Here go nowhere, does nothing and is utterly heartless. The whole thing has a paint by numbers, YA cliché checklist feel (High concept – check, love triangle – check,check, heroine with a martyr complex – check) but the wasteful setup, focused story, lack of payoff and poor story structure make it fall even flatter than other generic YA out there.
Don’t waste your credits.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Personally, I have little patience for the sentimentality of YA novels, which is fine: I'm old. Also, I generally demand a little Science mixed into my Science Fiction. All that aside, I enjoyed listening to this audiobook. The narration by Bryce Hitchcock, who was only about 14 at the time she recorded it, is outstanding. Most of the credit for my finishing the novel goes to her.
The story is intriguing. Most descriptions of it give away too much, so I'm glad I got the book on sale, without reading much about it. I was genuinely mystified, along with the protagonist, Julia, trying to figure out the bizarre goings-on.
Once the mystery is revealed, the entire theme falls apart to anyone who stops to think about for even a moment. But the characters are real, the passion and loyalty of teens, true to life, and Julia is someone you can really believe in. There's a sequel called "There", and if the same actress gives it voice, I'll probably get that, too.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful