Release Date: March 27, 2014
Sophie Winters nearly died. Twice.
The first time, she's fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that'll take years to kick.
The second time, she's seventeen, and it's no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina's murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth: Sophie has been clean for months, and it was Mina who led her into the woods that night for a meeting shrouded in mystery.
After a forced stint in rehab, Sophie returns home to a chilly new reality. Mina's brother won't speak to her, her parents fear she'll relapse, old friends have become enemies, and Sophie has to learn how to live without her other half. To make matters worse, no one is looking in the right places and Sophie must search for Mina's murderer on her own. But with every step, Sophie comes closer to revealing all: about herself, about Mina and about the secret they shared
I am not a big YA mystery reader (or a mystery reader in general) because I too often have felt like I have figured everything out way too soon. I often fail to just "enjoy the ride" and start to read the text like there's a prize there for the one who figures everything out the quickest (yes, I can be pretty competitive). After Kim Savage's upcoming After the Woods proved to be a GREAT and ENTERTAINING YA mystery experience, I finally decided to give this one a go after hearing so many good things about it ever since it was released.
Sophie is an addict. Ever since a car accident that almost killed her, she has been in pain, and the only thing that seems to numb that are the medication prescribed to her. When she realizes that taking too much pills makes her feel even better than the normal dose, she starts to overdose. But keeping something like that secret from her best friend Mina doesn't last for long, and eventually Sophie is forced to go through a long process of getting herself rid of using. So why is it that now that she is finally clean, she is suddenly pulled into rehab again after her best friend Mina gets murdered?
When drugs are found from the site where the murder took place, Sophie is instantly blamed. Was it a drug purchase gone wrong? Did they go to the woods to meet a dealer? If Sophie wasn't a junkie, would Mina still be alive? Sophie knows that drugs had nothing to do with what happened. She knows that Mina was up to something, and that the murder was something planned. The police are looking at the wrong places, treating it as a drug case, and it falls of Sophie to actually find the truth before Sophie can truly rest in peace.
While the mystery aspect of the novel and the process Sophie goes through to find Mina's killer is interesting, I think the zest of this book is the relationship between Sophie and Mina and the different sides of it we see through present-day narration and flashbacks. I thoughts especially the flashbacks were extremely interesting, because they showed that what happened between Sophie and Mina wasn't just all sunshine and rainbows, but that especially Mina had a "darker" side that sometimes made things difficult for them.
The question of the nature of the relationship between Sophie and Mina is something that I also loved to read about. Sophie and Mina are both confused about what they feel - they both have boyfriends, but it seems like they are more attracted to each other than anyone else around. While I haven't myself gone through a period of similar kind of confusion, I would like to imagine that the way Sharpe writes about conflicting feelings and attempts to find the "true me" is quite realistic.
At points, the mystery aspect of the novel feels kind of dragged out and there are points that I was a bit bored with it, but the dynamic between Sophie and Mina and the flashbacks to previous events helped me with staying interested. This book proved to be once again that I am not a mystery reader, but due to its elements that are often also found from contemporary novels (family drama, coming-of-age tales, etc) Far From You proved to be a quite interesting and entertaining read.