Published by Disney Hyperion on April 8, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
Source: For Review
I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!
When Sophie’s best friend, Mina, is murdered everyone blames her. Why? Because she used to pop pills after a bad accident and everyone thinks that it was a drug deal gone wrong no matter how much Sophie swears she’s clean. Sophie knows what happened that night — that Mina’s murder was NOT random or a drug deal gone wrong. Her parents send her to rehab and when Sophie returns she comes faces the same distrust, the secrets she and Mina shared and this burning desire to solve the mystery of Mina’s death because she KNOWS as killer is still roaming free and that she has to bring everything to light.
Oh man, Far From You! It’s no secret this one was one of my most anticipated debuts of 2014 and it was even MORE than I was expecting — one of the best debuts of 2014. It was one of those mystery type reads that balances that element so well with this genuine characterization that really had my gut twisted. It managed to be and do a lot of things really, really well!
1. Far From You was really intense: Sophie’s past is rough, friends. As the summary tells, she gets in a car accident that almost kills her and she ends up on pain meds and then she ends up really hooked on them. She gets clean, comes back and then shortly after her best friend gets murdered right in front of her and everyone thinks it is because it was a drug deal gone wrong and they blame her. So THEN Sophie’s parents send her to rehab because they didn’t believe her. Man, Sophie’s pain became my pain in this — the grief of losing Mina, the unanswered questions of their complicated relationship, the hurt of nobody believing her and the fact that she knows Mina’s murder was NOT random and fighting that desire to use pain meds. It was quite an intense, absorbing read. Each and every thread was just handled really well and packed quite a punch and then the action-y bits were intense when the reveal happens and AH TAKE SOME BETA BLOCKERS BEFORE READING. (please do not really consider that as medical advice, k?)
2. I loved the back and forth of the past and the present to learn more about Sophie and Mina: Their relationship was JUST as compelling as the mystery and I loved seeing the bits and pieces of their friendship through the years and in relation to these big events in Sophie’s life. The flow and transition was done really well between them and really added all these dimensions to them individually and as friends. Their relationship was just so complicated and messy and I could feel the hurts and the betrayals and the confusion SO much — all tied together with this deep love for one another. God, my heart ached throughout this whole book when it came to these two. Their relationship was one of the most raw and memorable ones in recent history for me and it made me weep a little. I also loved how Mina’s brother factored into everything and how absolutely complicated his relationship with Sophie was. My heart was torn for Sophie but the heart wants what the heart wants.
3. What a thrilling and page-turning mystery that kept me guessing: I’m that person who ALWAYS guesses the baddie or the twist. ALWAYS. It annoys me that I do this. I actually didn’t figure it out until like a couple of pages before the reveal and even then I was like HMMM COULD IT BE?! The mystery was so interesting because nobody else but Sophie is even looking at it like a true mystery. Everyone else thinks it is this random drug deal related shooting. But Sophie knows, based on the interaction before she gets knocked out, that this person was TARGETING Mina and Sophie has to figure out WHY. So Sophie starts sleuthing like one does, while dealing with the guilt daggers that everyone is throwing her way, and starts to trace back what Mina wanted from the person she thought she was meeting in the woods. And honestly it’s kind of like a mystery withing in a mystery and that just delighted me to no end.
4. Sophie is a damn well written character: You know those characters that you swear are just going to pop out of the book when you are reading? YEP. Sophie. There’s so much to her — all these layers you could just keep peeling back and back. A lot of times with mysteries and thriller-y type books, I find that I don’t find those I FEEL THEIR SOUL sorts of characters and they are wibbly wobbly almost real characters but not Sophie. I appreciated the care in which Tess Sharpe lets us get to know Sophie and her story — especially when it comes to her sexuality. She’s got some tough issues — a murdered best friend, a drug habit that she has to work at every day, she’s got a limp as a forever reminder of her car accident — but I always could feel Sophie not ever being defined by those things and I really felt like, if we got to see Sophie grow up, she was going to kick life’s ass because she already was strong.
Far From You by Tess Sharpe is one of the best 2014 debuts out there! It had this compelling & very emotional mystery element to it — Mina’s murder + the fact nobody but Sophie knows that it was NOT a random murder — that completely knocked me off my game as a person who always guesses early on but the strength in this story is the characterization — something that makes me so, so happy because I need characters who live and breathe. Sophie is as real as they can get and Sophie and Mina’s relationship has this ability to make my heart ache even weeks later. It’s all so complicated and confusing and tender and GOD I COULD FEEL IT ALL. I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on whatever Tess Sharpe is up to next!
Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it? Did you guess who it was??