A World Without You
I finished A WORLD WITHOUT YOU. My head is still spinning. I’m really not sure where to begin in telling you about this book. There are so many things I want to mention, but I don’t want to spoil even a tiny thread of the story for you.
First, so there is no doubt in your mind, I want you to know I really enjoyed reading this book. It is a book that will appeal to YA readers that like realistic fiction, romance, stories of mental illness and a hint of the supernatural. It has a little bit of everything. In my adult words, ‘A WORLD WITHOUT YOU is about mental health, but it is really more than that. It is about acknowledging, accepting and coming to terms with mental illness personally and in others.’
Because the narrator is a mentally ill young man, and it is based on real events, the author’s website calls this book a “semi-autobiographical story”, the book reminds me of CHALLENGER DEEP by Neal Shusterman, which I read earlier this year with my teacher book club. (CHALLENGER DEEP is a whole different discussion.)
To me, the best part of the book is being in Bo’s mind. When I first started A WORLD WITHOUT YOU, I was totally confused and off kilter, which is exactly how Revis wants the reader to feel. I was in Bo’s world where a constant reality does not exist. Every time I thought I understood Bo and his world, his reality would shift and my understanding of the events and characters would shift too. There were several times I needed to stop and reread to make sure that I was really following the story. Once again, Revis does an excellent job of making the reader on edge like reality is constantly shifting. If you feel uneasy and do not like the uncertainty of not knowing what exactly is going on in a book, you might be uncomfortable with this story. I know for me, if I had not read CHALLENGER DEEP earlier this year and experienced life through the mind of a mentally ill youth, this book would have been out of my comfort zone, and I probably would not have enjoyed it as much.
I love how Bo views each character and his sense of how unique each person really is. Because his own grasp on reality is so fragile, he accepts each person as an individual and doesn’t question the “superpowers” each character possesses. Through his narrative, Bo’s “understanding” of each character makes them seem real. The mix-up of personalities and characters’ “superpowers” keep the story flowing. The introduction of Phoebe adds a different perspective to Bo’s illness.
Bo’s obsession with finding Sofia is unnerving. It is a constant throughout the book. It reminds me of a little kid tapping a parent’s shoulder to get attention. Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, “Mom,” tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, “Mom,”... I think it needs to be like that to give the reader the sense of intensitiy that Bo felt. Job well done!
I love the way the ending makes my head spin and still has me thinking. I would love to talk about this book with anyone that has read it! I think it is a discussion that would last through several cups of coffee and well into the night.
Revis’ description of the timestream had me speechless. I love the way Revis uses threads to illustrate Bo’s manipulation of time. This visual helped me understand what Bo was trying to accomplish.
As I was preparing to write this review, I happened on a piece of art titled Tangled Threads. This oil on canvas became my vision of Bo’s timestream in the later parts of the book. The art is by Jennifer Pinder. Please check out her website.