Friday, March 16, 2018

Here So Far Away by Hadley Dyer

Expected Publication: March 20, 2018
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Award-winning author Hadley Dyer’s YA debut is smart, snarky, and emotionally gripping, about a rebellious cop’s daughter who falls in love with an older man, loses her best friend, and battles depression, all while trying to survive her last year of high school.

Feisty and fearless George Warren (given name: Frances, but no one calls her that) has never let life get too serious. Now that she’s about to be a senior, her plans include partying with her tight-knit group of friends and then getting the heck out of town after graduation.

But instead of owning her last year of high school, a fight with her best friend puts her on the outs of their social circle. If that weren’t bad enough, George’s family has been facing hard times since her father, a police sergeant, got injured and might not be able to return to work, which puts George’s college plans in jeopardy.

So when George meets Francis, an older guy who shares her name and her affinity for sarcastic banter, she’s thrown. If she lets herself, she’ll fall recklessly, hopelessly in love. But because of Francis’s age, she tells no one—and ends up losing almost everything, including herself.

This is a gorgeous, atmospheric, and gut-wrenching novel that readers won’t soon forget. 
He glanced over at the farmhouse, then back at me. "No. I knew you were too young for me. Even if you were twenty, you would be too young. But the first thing you said to me was funny." He slapped his hat against his leg. "And I wanted to hear what else you had to say."
I received an ARC from a Goodreads giveaway, but this is still an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, the quote I used may have changed or been altered in some way, but I am quoting from what I received.

I've been trying to figure out what to say, but this one is hard. I was so invested in George's life and how her decisions rippled out and impacted the people around her. She wasn't selfish or insecure, but seemed to be very honest with herself and her thoughts. At the beginning of the book she's full of confidence, but soon learns that you can be lonely even when you're surrounded by people. 

Here So Far Away deals with a lot of tough topics. I don't think they were over-the-top and obvious, but the writing was delicate and deliberate. There's an old man struggling to come to terms with his age and not being able to do the things he once did. We have an irresponsible and unadvisable relationship. A father feeling like he's not up to the challenge of being the man before. A brother struggling to take on more responsibility and dealing with his fears. A mom that feels smothered and underappreciated. A group of friends that are slowly drifting and discovering that they might not want what they've always wanted. A man that wants what he can't have, but still tries to do the right thing. Also, a girl that doesn't know how to mend a broken fence, who does things she wouldn't normally do, and eventually stops being able to deal with reality.

I don't know how Hadley Dyer was able to squeeze so many important issues into so few pages, but she does it incredibly well. My heart beats for these people. I wanted to comfort them when they were sad, cry when the world punched them in the face, and rage when everything comes crashing down. I know that people have to learn to live with their mistakes, and the things that no one has any control over, but that doesn't mean any of it is easy. Living with lies and half-truths doesn't just hurt one person, and making a decision for someone else doesn't give them strength or courage.

My one disappointment is that there wasn't more. I wanted to see the person George became. I wanted to know what happened to her friends and family. Rupert. Bobby. Here So Far Away is filled with witty dialogue that made me laugh-out-loud, and vibrant details that really brought a small valley to life. The story and the characters are so authentic and will forever be real to me.

I'm still internally crying about the pig and the rock (two completely different things). Life is full of mistakes and regret, but it's how we choose to deal with those two things that help define who we are. Friendships don't always last forever, love is incredibly hard, and people will continue to surprise us. 

34 comments:

  1. Great review for this, definitely sounds interesting!

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    1. Thank you! It was a lovely and engaging book! I would definitely recommend it.

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  2. This one might have appealed to me if not for the different age relationship...I just can't...Love the review!

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    1. I know that every book is not for every person, but I love when an author challenges how I think and view the world. I always try to put myself into a character's situation and attempt to understand their motives and reasoning. When I was in high school, I dated a guy that was a lot older than me, so I can relate on some level to begin with. It wasn't gross or perverted, and you see both people struggling with it throughout the book. I think it was beautifully portrayed.

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  3. What a wonderfully complex novel -- and review -- this is. Hadley Dyer sounds like she's managed to balance so many difficult themes so well!

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    1. She definitely does! I thought this book would be heavy and in-your-face, but it's not. Each issue was discussed and portrayed with care and consideration. The author neatly weaves them into the story, so they don't always present themselves as problems at first. (Does that make sense?) It was people living their lives, but also dealing with underlying issues just below the surface.

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  4. I passed on this book, because the May-December thing was beyond my comfort zone in a YA book, but I always appreciate when an author is able to integrate so many different issues into a book without overwhelming me. That takes a lot of skill. Great review.

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    1. May-December? Is that a reference to the age gap? I haven't heard the phrase before. I feel like this book is more YA/NA, because it's her senior year in high school and everyone is preparing for college. The characters are still discovering themselves and who they are, plus I think the author handled the issues beautifully. My in-laws have a 12-year age difference, and they are two of the happiest people I know. Their marriage is enviable, and their love profound.

      It's difficult when a relationship like this begins when it does, but you see them struggle and work through the problems. It's not like they are blind to the world, but know how much of an impact it could have. They are intelligent, conscientious people dealing with feelings they didn't ask for. Ignoring something doesn't make it do away, and those feelings still need to be dealt with in some way. This book just shows their process and their thoughts.

      It wasn't pervy or creepy, if that's what you're worried about. There's also so much more going on this book, that their relationship is just a part of it. It's really a lovely story that I think people should read, but I know it's not for everyone.

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    1. I felt a rainbow of emotions with this one! It was a truly beautiful story that highlights issues that a lot of people deal with, but don't always talk about.

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  6. Sounds like it has lots going on. I love that the author manages to cover it all.

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    1. I didn't realize there was so much going on until I starting writing this review! I was wondering where to start, but then noticed how much was actually discussed and covered within this book. At a glance it's a normal family, friends and environment. It isn't until later that we start to see the cracks and their struggles. It was great! Wonderfully done!

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  7. Glad to hear the author did a good job combining so many issues in one book. I love it when an author can make me feel so much for the characters. Great review, Lindsi! :)

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    1. Thank you, Rachel! A lot of the book really resonated with me, and other parts made me think outside of my box. I think the author really touches on topics that we don't always see in YA books, especially so many at once. It wasn't overwhelming either, but flowed smoothly within the story. It's crazy to think about how much one family, one person, can be dealing with at one time.

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    1. That's a good thing, right? πŸ˜‰

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  9. I like characteres who are honest with themselves. And WOW. It does sound like this book covered A LOT of tough topics, but that's wonderful that it did them justice and made you feel the emotional impact of them!

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    1. It definitely does! I just didn't realize how many topics until I went to write this review. The issues don't jump out at you while you're reading, but are there just enough to make you notice. It was so impactful, and my emotions didn't know what to do with themselves, lol.

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  10. THis sounds really good. I have not come across it before.

    Also pig and rock, I have not cried in a while

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    1. I'm happy I could bring it to your attention! I love when books are able to make me feel something, and this one definitely does. I wasn't sobbing uncontrollably, but there were a few tears trailing down my face. It was like an unexpected punch to the heart.

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  11. OMG, this sounds like an absolutely beautiful book, Lindsi! I can't believe I haven't added it to my TBR yet. I'm curious about how the author will manage to put all of those themes together in a single book. The heroine sounds like she's absolutely realistic, too, so I'm eager to meet her! Lovely review. <3

    - Aimee @ Aimee, Always

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    1. I want you to meet George, too! She's different from what I usually read in YA books, but she felt so real to me. Her emotions were conflicted, my emotions were conflicted, everyone else seems to be dealing with their own issues... it really was beautiful. We all struggle with something, this book just highlights what a few of those things could be.

      Thank you, Aimee!

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  12. I hadn't heard of this book before but it sounds like one I would enjoy. I love it when an author can put so many important and tough topics into a story without it feeling over the top. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one!

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    1. I'm happy you know about it now! This is a book that needs to be read. It's so heartfelt and encouraging. There are ups, downs, lefts and rights. I didn't know what to expect, so I was often surprised by what happened next. The author did an amazing job! πŸ™Œ

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  13. This sounds like one heck of a book! I don't know if I'm emotionally prepared to read it, lol. Such a great review Lindsi!

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    1. It's been days since I finished it, and I'm STILL thinking about it. My chest aches a little when I think about it, because I did want more. The conclusion was perfect for this story, but as a reader invested in the lives of the characters, I always want to know more. What happens next? Plus, George is still dealing with a few things, but that's life. Everyone is always dealing with something, so it was impossible to resolve every issue.

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  14. This one is completely new to me. I would give it a try but as the mother of a 17 year old daughter, I am not sure how I would feel about George being in a relationship with an older man.

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    1. I completely understand! My kiddos aren't teenagers yet, but it would definitely be a challenge for me as a mom. I tried to put myself into George's situation, and I think that helped. I was able to view the experience from her perspective, whether I agreed with her decisions or not, and that helped me to at least understand them.

      I still think you should try it! It doesn't come across oogy or weird. It's just something that happens. I don't know... it's hard to explain without giving too much away.

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  15. Oh wow, this sounds absolutely incredible Linds, utterly poignant with incredibly flawed characters who's lives entwine. I'm curious to know how old this older man is actually. I've been there myself at seventeen. I love how it doesn't sugar coat how hard life is and how not everyone finds that silver lining. Life is bloody hard work and you only get out of it what you put in. I can't wait to meet George, it sounds beautiful. Brilliant review Linds, will be trying to track down a copy <3

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    1. I hope you're able to find one soon! It's release day is today! I've been there, too. In high school I dated a guy that was quite a bit older than me, so I could relate on some level. It wasn't a 12-year difference, which seems extreme, but my in-laws have a 12-year age difference. It works for them! I think it depends on where you are in life, and how you choose to perceive the world. The older man in this book wasn't pervy, but admitted he liked her innocent mind. I think he explained it by saying the world hadn't hardened her yet, because she's able to change her mind (or how she views something) in a single conversation. Most people are stuck in their ways. I'm probably not explaining this very well, but the author does and incredible job! I'll just let her do it, lol.

      Life is fucking hard. It's not always a happy ending all the time. There are struggles that don't just disappear over time. Some things we deal with for years, or even our entire lives.

      I hope you like George when you meet her!

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  16. I just came across this book earlier today and now I see your review post. Perfect timing! The synopsis really hooked and now that I’ve read your review, I’m really on-board. This sounds like such an emotional read - in a good way. I love a book that can truly make the characters come to life and make you feel like they’re out there somewhere living their lives and experiencing these things. I’ve just put this one on hold at my library and can’t wait to read it. Great review, Lindsi!

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    1. I can't wait to see what you think! We'll have to discuss it when you're finished!

      You're so right. I feel like these characters live in another town, not inside of a book. They felt so real to me, and I know their stories will stick around in my head.

      It was so emotional for me! There were good and bad emotions, lol.

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  17. This cover is gorgeous... but I don't think this would be a book I'd like. The subjects seem a little too "risky" in today's society. (Even though I realize the book is set in the 90s, I still think it walks too fine a line.) That said, I'm glad the author deals with the topics well. That's a skill needed when dealing with any tough subject. :)

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    1. Risky? How so? I'm not sure I understand what "walks too fine a line" means either. Are you talking about the relationship, or the other issues mentioned within the book? Just looking for clarification!

      I adore the cover! The author wrote a beautiful story that included a lot of topics we don't often see in YA/NA books.

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