I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Far From You by Tess Sharpe
Published by Disney Electronic Content on 2014-04-08
Genres: Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse, Homosexuality, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Social Issues, Young Adult
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Sophie Winters nearly died. Twice. The first time, she's fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that'll take years to kick. The second time, she's seventeen, and it's no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina's murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth: Sophie has been clean for months, and it was Mina who led her into the woods that night for a meeting shrouded in mystery. After a forced stint in rehab, Sophie returns home to a chilly new reality. Mina's brother won't speak to her, her parents fear she'll relapse, old friends have become enemies, and Sophie has to learn how to live without her other half. To make matters worse, no one is looking in the right places and Sophie must search for Mina's murderer on her own. But with every step, Sophie comes closer to revealing all: about herself, about Mina…and about the secret they shared.
The thing about books that are murder mysteries is that I am the most oblivious person and never able to figure out who the murderer is until the main character figures it out. This holds true for every mystery thriller book ever and also holds true for Far From You by Tess Sharpe. I went into Far From You having read a few reviews but still not entirely knowing what to expect, at least not knowing anything beyond the fact that there is a murder and that there are LGBTQ elements to this book. I won’t lie, this is both a good and bad thing, as I kept thinking to myself WHEN ARE THE LGBTQ BITS GOING TO SHOW UP? This aside, Far From You is actually a pretty good summertime book, it’s not light or breezy by any means, but it has the type of story that shuts the outside world out and draws you right in.
Tess Sharpe’s book opens with main character Sophie watching her best friend Mina murdered before her eyes. Sophie, a recovering drug addict who has been clean for several months, is shuttered off to rehab because she was found with drugs planted on her person. It is believed that Mina’s death was the result of a drug deal gone wrong. Sophie, however, knows differently. She knows that Mina was headed out to the woods because of a story she was working on, not to help Sophie score drugs. And so, Far From You is the story of Sophie trying to catch Mina’s killer interspersed with the story of Sophie and Mina’s friendship over the years, leading up to Mina’s murder.
I thought that as a character, Sophie was complex and interesting. I have seen a few reviews that allude to her as being unlikable, but honestly, I did not get that vibe. I thought she actually was likable. She is someone I had empathy for. Maybe she’s unlikable because she’s addicted to pain pills? I don’t know. I work in human services so, her addiction did not phase me. I actually thought this made her more interesting. She’s got a limp from an accident that happened when she was younger. However, this does not define Sophie. She also is bisexual. This does not define her. Sophie does not believe in an afterlife. This does not define her. Like I said, she’s complex and I love that. She also is loyal to a T. If you like loyal characters who are flawed, you’ll enjoy Far From You.
Now, to go on what I said in the first paragraph about the LGBTQ bits, when I read Far From You or rather, when I began to read it, I kind of expected the book to immediately delve into gay elements. And I know I am phrasing this all wrong and you guys are probably like stop being offensive. BUT here’s what I mean, I basically mean that I was really interested in this book because it’s a murder mystery with a lesbian main character. That’s awesome and what YA could totally use. So, I kind of expected this to happen right off the bat. However, it takes a while for the book to delve into Sophie and how she’s actually bisexual, which FYI this is like the first book I can remember reading with a bisexual main character. I KNOW. Yay, yay diversity! Anyways, so, I thought that it took way too long to get to that, and maybe I would have liked the book much better had I not been sitting around in total anticipation of Sophie being gay. Does that make sense?
The mystery of who kills Mina rocks. I know, I know MORBID. But hear me out for a second please, there is a MYSTERY WITHIN A MYSTERY. What, I know! So, Mina is killed because she gets a little bit too close to another murder mystery and wow guys, mind blown. Actually this book blew my mind several times. It was pretty intense, unraveling the different clues. The narrative weaves between past and present, which I also mentioned above, but I want to point out that this is the third book in a row that I’ve read that makes use of this style and I actually kind of really like it, to be honest with you all. Far From You is actually a pretty decent thriller. However, I was not 100% into it. I really, really liked this book but it’s not one of my new favorites. I still recommend it though.