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  • ARC Review: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
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  • Review: Karmic Hearts by Jhing Bautista
  • Review: The Conspiration of the Universe by Kenneth Olanday

Sunday, January 27, 2013

ARC Review: Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

I will be honest and say the main reason why I wanted to read this book was that part in the summary that says "Bonnie and Clyde meets If I Stay". That obviously raised my expectations for this book, and even now after I've finished reading it, I am so conflicted.

Title: Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
Release Date: January 29th 2013
Published by: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher (Thanks Christine!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


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.

Zoe and Will both had it tough. Will grew up being shuffled from one home to another, never belonging to a family, never knowing the warmth of one, troubled, a bad boy. He sees a soul mate in Zoe, battered by an abusive father. So bright and smart, unlike Will. Will wants to save Zoe and Zoe wants Will to be something more. So they ran away, but was it the right thing to do?

I've read this book in two hours, and it left me wondering. Was it really that easy? And then it hit me. All the while I was thinking inside that I need more. I need to feel something more, the white hot pain and anger from the abuse Zoe was getting, the despair and the hurt in Will for all he has experienced, but there was none. I want this book to make me stop and pause for a few moments and let the feelings sink in, soak them all up before I move on, but it never happened. The author filled both characters lives with tragic experiences but it was hard to connect with them because it all sounded so simple and plain, like everything was being told but nothing carries weight. I want words that can move me and make me connect with them both somehow. I want to care about what happens to them, see how far they can go. I want to believe that somehow, despite the warning the summary gave, that there was a tiny bit of possibility that it can change.

I have issues with how Will and Zoe were presented as characters. I felt they were lacking depth. Their relationship was unhealthy to begin with, and both were trying to reassure each other that they can make it work. Will's reason for saving her was admirable, but can doing something wrong make the one thing you want to do right? And Zoe, for being so smart, couldn't even help herself. How can someone with such a brain just stand there and take it all without doing a single thing? Throughout their road trip, I mostly see them both as teenagers who can't hold their tempers and one who is so meek, even foolish. It makes me think, was Zoe really escaping the grips of her father and exchanging it for something far better if Will was acting the way he is, ready to explode when provoked? I was constantly looking out for that moment when Will just gives in to his anger and start hitting Zoe. Was that better for her? For the both of them? Wasn't Will being so unfair to Zoe? He wanted to save her from the life she has when he couldn't even save himself from the darkness he was in. Also, their pride and immaturity were their ultimate downfall. Again, more. I want more. I want to peel back the layers of anger, hate, pain, tragedy and violence that surrounds them and see them as more than two teenagers who were too rash, who thinks that running away and escaping were the only way to deal with their lives.

I might be looking for something that resembles a bit of Gayle Forman's writing style in Kristin Halbrook's words, but all I found was tragedy one after another and a story with a lot of potential but a bit lacking and characters that I barely can connect with. I have to admit, though, that the ending made my heart twinge a little bit. Despite all the issues I had, I wanted a happy ending. I wanted both of them to see hope beyond all the things that life has thrown at them, something good to look forward to, their very own silver lining after the endless storm that ravaged both their lives. There was none. The chases also provided a tiny bit of thrill and that added to the redeeming factor of this book, which was when Zoe, for all that has happened to her, had learned something valuable. To stand up for herself and have enough strength to break free in the truest sense of the word, and even that costed her something that she could never get back.

Overall, Nobody But Us is a story with a great premise, but it was lacking all the things that could have made it such a poignant, beautiful read. I held on and continued reading because I thought it would get better, but unfortunately it didn't work for me. But still, this is YA contemporary and might appeal to some readers who might be a lot more understanding of the theme this book presents. Give it a try if you are curious and tell me what you think!

My rating

Content (plot, story flow, character):
I really want to like this book more than I did.

Okay: Liked, but The Goddess demands more!

Book Cover:
I wish the story was as gorgeous as the cover.


  1. I was really hoping for a better end for Will and Zoe as well even though I knew better than to expect that when Bonnie & Clyde is referenced. I found the ending very powerful with Zoe indicting the people in her life who turned a blind eye to her father's abuse and I hope the future will look brighter.

    1. I just didn't think it was powerful enough for me. There was one point while I was reading that I didn't care about the characters at all and I wanted it to end. Too bad, this book has so much potential to be great but yeah, it just didn't move me the way I expect it to.

  2. I have to agree with the cover - it's gorgeous! I really want to read this book though, and now I know that it may be a bit of a let down. Hopefully I'll be able to connect with the characters a little bit! Thanks for an honest review! :)

  3. Thanks for the review, Kai. I've been seeing some mixed reviews about this book. Characters that lacked depth and can't connect with is not my cup if tea. Awesome review.



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