harpercollins Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Nobody But Us
by Kristin Halbrook
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publication date: January 29th 2013
Pages: 272 (paperback)
Source: ARC from publisher
Author's website | GoodReads
Bonnie and Clyde meets IF I STAY in this addictively heart-wrenching story of two desperate teenagers on the run from their pasts.
They’re young. They’re in love. They’re on the run.
Zoe wants to save Will as much as Will wants to save Zoe. When Will turns eighteen, they decide to run away together. But they never expected their escape to be so fraught with danger....
When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can’t run fast enough.
Nobody But Us, told in alternating perspectives from Will and Zoe, is an unflinching novel, in turns heartbreaking and hopeful, about survival, choices, and love...and how having love doesn't always mean that you get a happy ending. Described as “beautiful, heartbreaking, and exhilarating” by Kody Keplinger, author of The DUFF, Nobody But Us will prove irresistible to fans of Nina Lacour, Jenny Han, and Sara Zarr.“It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”
Nobody But Us takes us into the lives of Zoe and Will, too extremely troubled teenagers who each had heavy baggage of their own. Sick and tired of their lives, the pair decides to run away from it all and start a new life. I had such goddamned high hopes for this title, purely because it is compared to ‘If I Stay’, and for a short while this fact made me pencil the book wayyy on top of the 'to-read' list.
Zoe is a victim of child abuse. Her mother died when she was young and this cruel circumstance left her in the hands of her alcoholic and extremely violent father. Zoe hid behind heavy makeup and kept her head hung low whenever she went to school and no one even noticed. That is- no one except Will, the newest 'bad boy' from the orphanage. Will pointed out her masked bruises and refused to turn away. The pair eventually found themselves caring for each other, wanting to change each others' lives.
Zoe and Will hightail it out across the States, escaping the weight of the real world. However, the taste of their freedom was bittersweet; Will's past criminal record and latest law violations keep the FBI on their trail, leaving a lot of tension, drama, hesitation, tears, unhealthy suspicions, forgiven apologies, tears, and unsaid thoughts. Whenever something good happened, a thousand misfortunes was always there to follow.
The book is narrated by Will and Zoe in alternating POVs. Because of this, I felt like I truly understood why the characters were doing what they were doing, even if they were so freakin annoying most of the time. I understood their hesitations, their heartbreak, their cautiousness, and their excitement. I understood them, but I didn't really feel them. I felt like they were, well, fictional. The author bombarded them with supposed characteristics and traits and spoonfed them with a million problems, but I never really felt like those problems were there if I wasn't told beforehand. It was as if Zoe and Will were virtual avatars, just the right features and backstories on the outside but nothing on the inside; almost like a hollow shell.
Upon finishing this book, I find that I actually really enjoyed it. This came as quite a surprise to me since I had a hard time getting into it. I previously complained how I couldn't feel the essence of Zoe and Will, but that didn't stop me from wanting them to get a happy ending. I mean, i'm not that heartless. But Kristin Halbrook is apparently a teeny bit heartless; she gave Nobody But Us one of the saddest and most tragic endings in the history of ever. If I was more attached to the characters, I would have been weeping and wailing. I accepted the ending though, because even if Zoe and Will's great escape came to a close, I know that they won't lose the things they got out of, and the things they got in the process.
My rating says it all -- it was OK. Not wonderful. Not terrible. Somewhat thrilling. It wasn't exciting, but it didn't have any tedious moments either. The plot was interesting, the writing was gorgeous, it engages you and wraps you up in the story, but the lack of character depth was really evident to me. It's a book that was aiming for the bullseye but didn't exactly make it. I guess I was just looking, and expecting, something a bit more.
THE NUB AND GIST: 3 STARS