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.
Here so Far AwayFeatured
The reader follows George throughout her senior year of high school—a time when everything changes. George and her forever friends are drifting apart, settling on different paths. Her home life is changing as well. From a stable home of love and support to one that seems to be on the verge of falling apart.
What I loved:
George is a tough, sarcastic girl with little experience in real relationships. Then one night she meets Francis. They fall for each other before either of them realize how big the age gap is between them. But it’s too late. They’ve already headed down a path of no return. And that’s okay. They make sense together and we’re left rooting for them to make it. What follows is a sad, funny, poignant coming of age story that will keep the pages turning long into the night. The author’s ability to paint a visual of the setting and beautiful Canadian landscape is one of the best things about this book. She takes you there, to that rural town where everyone thinks they know who you are and no one suspects the struggles you face each day.
What left me wanting more:
I found the synopsis of the book to be a little misleading. I was prepared for the story to go to a much (much) darker place. We’re told “…she ends up losing almost everything, including herself…” but I don’t think George lost herself. I think she found herself along a hard road to adulthood.
There were certain aspects of the story that never seemed to get resolved or explained. For example, George’s brother faints at the drop of a hat, but it never really explains why. The family unit is falling apart and George’s brother is left holding things together, but we don’t get to see how that comes full circle. The silly falling out with her best friend seemed like something the two should have overcome. The book George receives holds a cryptic message that never has a satisfactory explanation. It just seems much of the secondary plot was rushed in the end and I was left wanting so much more.
Overall, Here so Far Away is a lovely book that skates along the gray areas of right and wrong. George’s story is a simple tale of falling in love with the right person at the wrong time. She’s a relatable character who struggles to put her feelings into words. She’s dark and witty. Brave, yet still afraid of what waits for her in the unknown future beyond the relative safety of high school.