Title: Nobody But Us
Author: Kristin Halbrook
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Format: Paperback, 304 Pages
ISBN-10: 006212126X (HarperTeen)
ISBN-13: 978-0062121264 (HarperTeen)
Reviewed by: Michelle
Maybe I’m too late. Maybe Zoe’s dad stole all her fifteen years and taught her to be scared. I’ll undo it. Help her learn to be strong again, and brave. Not that I’m any kind of example, but we can learn together.
When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can’t run fast enough.
Maybe it’ll take Will years to come to terms with being abandoned. Maybe it’ll take forever. I’ll stay with him no matter how long it takes to prove that people don’t always leave, don’t always give up on you.
Quick & Dirty: A heartbreaking story about a couple who find love despite their broken pasts.
Opening Sentence: He comes down the road in his Camaro sliding left to right on the freshly oiled gravel and skidding to a stop in front of my house.
Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook stands out from a lot of contemporary fiction for young adults. Sometimes a book will talk about a realistic scenario and I wouldn’t be able to connect to it. Or that the main character will be written in a way that I wouldn’t be able to relate. But that isn’t the case for Halbrook’s Nobody But Us. I felt that there were emotions that were so raw, I couldn’t help but feel them.
Will and Zoe had different lives growing up. Both of their childhood experiences weren’t the best, by any means. Will has moved from foster home to foster home. He never fit in with a family, letting his anger get the best of him. Zoe lives in a home of domestic abuse. Only being fifteen, she has met her father’s alcohol-induced anger with a less than loving hand. No one around her has ever spoken up for her, and it didn’t look like anyone ever will. Except when Will meets Zoe and notices a hidden bruise. He vows to take her away from her father. And if that means running away without looking back, so be it.
Will’s voice is from one extreme to another. He has intense emotions for Zoe, loving her as hard as he can. But on the other side, he is also keeping a lot of anger inside of him. Maybe it was due to never having an outlet to let those feelings out. Maybe it’s the nature of his upbringing. But regardless of what it is, he loves hard and falls hard. For me, I didn’t connect to Will as easily as I would have wanted. His character was a little too shielded for me, even if his inner thoughts revealed a lot about him. I wanted to love him and I thought he was swoony enough, but in the end he just wasn’t for me.
Zoe is very young at fifteen. It is evident by her life choices and how she is easily swayed by a boy. Zoe is closed off as much as a young girl can get, with an exception of a close friend or two. I had a difficult time connecting to Zoe. I couldn’t easily place myself in her shoes and walk the fine line of her life. I yearned for her, but that was as far as my emotions got towards her. She was naive when it came to Will, and I felt that it was a little hard to believe since she dealt with her dad for so long. But this is my, and my opinion. I couldn’t place myself in her shoes but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t realistic.
Told in a dual point-of-view, the chapters alternate between the voices of Zoe and Will. It was interesting to see the differences in their thoughts and feelings in Nobody But Us. Seeing the same scene through both of their eyes allowed me to see the complete story. They were in this car for so long, driving to where they needed to go, and to see that journey was great. The world is realistic enough for me to live and believe it. I was transported into where Zoe and Will were, looking behind my shoulder one moment and living blissfully ignorant the next.
I feel that a lot of Will’s and Zoe’s choices and actions were borderline unrealistic in Nobody But Us. Let me explain myself a little more clearly. I think they were realistic enough, but the pacing and time sequence of how things happened were a little too fast for me. The pacing was nice and steady in the first half of the book. And then there was this turning point where everything sped by so fast. I felt that the last half was rushed, but it was understandable. I understood why it had to happen.
There are a lot of raw emotions spoken throughout Nobody But Us. There are a lot of serious topics, some a little uncomfortable to read about more so than the next. But I enjoyed Nobody But Us and I think you will also.
“I know you won’t. It wasn’t that. Not really. But . . . you have to understand, Will, I . . . I see him when you’re like that, is all. My dad. Will, you were so angry.”
She says it like she’s the one who’s got to say sorry, like she did anything wrong at all. I close my eyes, shut out the road, tell her that I ain’t her dad, that I won’t never treat her like that.
That I’m sorry.
This anger-person: he needs to go away before I destroy us both.
FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Nobody But Us. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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