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"I wish this could be like the movies. That I was the type of person who could reach out and trace the letter of her name and feel peaceful. I wish I could speak to this hunk of marble like it was her, feel comforted that her body is six feet below, believe that her spirit is watching from above. But I'm not that girl, I never was." - Tess Sharpe, Far from you.
When I picked up Far from you by Tess Sharpe I was in the mood for a young adult fiction that is not a dystopian novel or a romance fiction. While the book delivers on the former front, romantic love remains a strong driving force in this novel. ‘Far From you’ is a first person narration of the protagonist Sophie Winters, a recovering addict whose best friend Mina was murdered in front of her. With no one interested in her take of the events, the police determined to file it away as a drug deal gone wrong, Sophie inevitably is determined to bring down the killer on her own.
The book begins 3 months post Mina’s death, on the last day of Sophie’s rehabilitation. While the books follows a mostly linear timeline, Sharpe has used flashbacks generously which gives the book an illusion of complexity it does not have in actuality. Sophie has a tendency of counting the number of days she has been sober and Tess Sharpe uses this brilliantly to show the change in time period.
The book appears as a thriller mystery but is in fact a love story. The mystery of Mina’s murder doesn’t take as much of the lime light as expected. The mystery is so simplistic that it suggests that Tess Sharpe isn’t a credible crime writer.
I didn’t particularly like this book, which is odd in front of all the positive reviews it has garnered; perhaps I was simply expecting something else from it. ‘Far from you’ is not necessarily a bad book but it is definitely not a memorable one. It makes a lot of rookie mistakes and falls into the trap of clichés. It hints at a love triangle, the adults in the book are incompetent or plain rude, not willing to listen to teenagers who miraculously know better. The language itself (while easy to understand) uses phrases that have been overused and definitely needs to be banned from the YA genre.
My favourite part of this book (and its only saving grace) is the protagonist Sophie Winters. Bisexual, disabled women with history of drug addiction are something you don’t often come across. Further Sophie is delightfully blunt and refuses to take nonsense from anyone. This isn’t even masked as heroism but shown for what it is – stubbornness of someone who has born loss.
Other characters (Trev, Mina, Kyle, Rachel, Adam) fall flat and appear two dimensional in front of her although Rachel is definitely refreshing. She is the one character I wanted Sharpe to explore further but doesn’t because of her lack of involvement with Mina. This however leaves the possibilities wide open.
If you are looking for something quick to read that is light while being substantial, this is definitely the book for you. However if you want something to consume you, I’m afraid ‘Far from you’ will disappoint.