Saturday, September 9, 2017

When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn Review

Title: When I Am Through With You
Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

I found this book through a recommendation from one of the book blogs I follow, and it's been sitting in my library stack for a while. I was excited and pumped up when I was finally able to get to it. First of all, that gorgeous cover, a stark gray sky overlooking a sheer cliff edge, with five silhouettes standing upon it. I've also heard that Stephanie Kuehn is one of the most unique, exciting voices in the young adult literature genre. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, as I've never read her work before, but I was pleasantly surprised by the result: a grim, surprisingly tender survivalist story that dances on the fine knife's edge of love and obligation. It was sad and beautiful and shocking, and I loved every minute of it. It wasn't perfect, but I'm now definitely a fan of this promising author!

Ben Gibson is sitting in a jail cell now, writing a confession of sorts in letter form to the reader. Because, you see, it all started with a school camping trip. Eight people went up the mountain, and only three people came back down. Duncan, Archie, Mr. Howe, Avery, Ben, Tomas, Clay, and Rose. What starts out as a harmless school trip soon turns deadly, and the group must fight the elements and countless other dangers. But there are more secrets this group is hiding, and not everyone will make it out whole, or even alive...

I really enjoyed this book. I was intrigued by the premise; sometimes I get in moods where I'm totally ravenous for survival stories. (And no, in case you're wondering, Lord of the Flies isn't to blame for that.) But what really sucked me in to the story was the format and the writing style. I was absolutely captivated, and more often than not horrified, by Ben, and his frank, maybe honest confession to the reader. But he also had the ring of an unreliable narrator, so, even while I was rooting for him, I had the feeling that he wasn't telling everything. I liked the way the story was told by days, and I was constantly wondering who was hiding what, and why. The ending was what really slayed me though; I wasn't expecting it and honestly, I was bawling. It kicked me in the gut, shocked me to the core, cut open my heart. It's been a long time since I've read a book that scraped me this raw, and I really enjoyed it. Every dark, scary, messy bit of it. But there were times when the characters got confusing, and sometimes it was really hard to keep up with the book's sometimes frenetic pace. Nonetheless, one of my favorite books of 2017! Dark, gritty, and raw, When I Am Through With You is a gutsy, exciting thriller that had me guessing until the very end--a survivalist story that pulls no punches! Next on deck: Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero!

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