Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Book Review: Anywhere but Here by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

Ever since his mom died, Cole just feels stuck. His dad acts like a stranger, and Lauren, his picture-perfect girlfriend of two years, doesn’t understand him anymore. He can’t ditch his dad, so Cole breaks up with Lauren. She doesn’t take the news very well, and Cole’s best friend won’t get off his case about it.

Now more than ever, Cole wants to graduate and leave his small, suffocating town. And everything is going according to plan—until Cole discovers the one secret that could keep him there…forever.

Anywhere But Here could have been brilliant. It could have been important and influential because of the story it told but I just found certain aspects of it lacking, and although it was enjoyable it didn’t wow me as much as it could have.

This book touches on some tough subjects, the death of a parent, alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy to name a few. I think one of my issues with this book was that it used too many of those hard to deal with subjects. I felt like it tries too hard to be series and cool. It meant that I just couldn’t get emotionally involved and the whole thing felt a little cold to me.

Another issue was that I felt the characters didn’t learn anything from all they experienced. The characters were all complex and troubled but they gained nothing. I think if you are going to tackle subjects such as these there has to be a learning curve and the characters have to come out better for it at the end. I am not quite sure this book achieves that. Having the main character realise that his home town is not that bad was not enough considering the seriousness of a lot of the situations.

I thought the writing was strong and that Tanya Lloyd Kyi created a nice atmosphere. I got through this book really quickly and it kept my attention from beginning to end. It was a nice smooth read and there was little about the actual writing that bothered me.

The characters were alright. I found Cole to be extremely self-centred, he rarely thought of anyone but himself. He never really saw things from other people’s point of view and that was something that didn’t really change throughout the book. His best friend seemed a little dull and the girls were sex driven and not very well rounded. The only fully developed character was Cole and I didn’t like him all that much.

Anywhere but here had some good parts and some bad parts. It is a quick read that fans of fairly non-romantic contemporary YA might enjoy.

3 stars

Published October 15th 2013 by Simon Pulse.  A free copy of this book was provided for review.  Cover image taken from Goodreads.

Review by Kate Phillips

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