Book Review: Through to You
By: Emily Hainsworth
Published By: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Page Count: 272
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Young Adult - Science Fiction
Through to You is the debut novel of an author with lots of potential. Emily Hainsworth knows how to create compelling characters and an interesting premise. This novel is sure to appeal to those who enjoy science fiction and fantasy. There is also a good bit of romance sprinkled throughout.
One of my favorite aspects of this novel was the narrator, Camden Pike. Strong, male voices in YA aren't as common as female narrators so it's always nice when I find one I can recommend to my male students. (Although I won't be recommending this one of my middle school students. Due to subject matter and language, it's definitely more of a high school read.) Cam is broken - his parents have just split up, his girlfriend has just died in a car accident that he blames himself for, his grades suck, a leg injury has forced him to leave sports behind, and he's down to one friend. Cam's emotional journey throughout the course of this novel can be a difficult one to watch at times. I did like seeing him pick up the broken pieces of his existence and slowly start to put himself back together. By the end of the novel, Cam's resilience begins to shine through and I felt like I left him in a much better place than where our journey together began.
I can't say too much about plot in this review because I can't think of a way to discuss it without spoilers. I thought the plot was interesting and imaginative, but I did feel like there were some issues with pacing. The beginning seemed to drag on forever and then as the story gained momentum, it ended far too soon. I also felt like the big reveal and last few chapters went by in a flash. Elements in those areas also seemed to be solved too easily. In spite of this complaint, I did enjoy Hainsworth's writing and I feel like she has a lot of potential. I would certainly read her future work without a moment's hesitation.
Through to You is more than just an entertaining read. I feel like many teens who are dealing with grief could relate to Cam. I liked that the realistic, gritty issues weren't sugarcoated. They play as dominant a role in this one as do the science fiction elements. At its core, this novel is one of those where the characters and their struggles take center stage. It creates an intriguing blend of the best elements of raw contemporary and creative fantasy.
One Last Gripe: I didn't like that we never really understand what causes the opening to be created. I wanted to know more about that.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: Cam's growth
First Sentence: It's the same dream I've been having for the past two months - Viv walking away from the glass and fire, her laughter echoing through the night.
Favorite Character: Cam
Least Favorite Character: Logan
Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the meds wore off. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv.
The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all.