I am trying to stop talking about myself, myself, and myself. I really am. But I’m just so pleased to have read these two reviews of Anywhere But Here.
After waiting for months for the book to come out, worrying the whole time about what readers will think of it, it’s such a wonderful feeling (and a relief!) to see that people understand what I was trying to say.
Here’s the Booklist review:
After dating his beautiful girlfriend, Lauren, for two years, Cole has abruptly broken up with her. Despite the long hours when she sat by his side while his mother died, Cole now finds her presence suffocating. In fact, Cole feels that he is constantly suffocating in his tiny hometown, known affectionately to locals as “the Web.” His plan is to escape through film school, and the admission process requires a submission of his work. In an intuitive flash, Cole decides to create a documentary about the Web, but he uncovers secrets that only deepen his entanglement with the town. Kyi’s first-person narration feels organic as Cole grudgingly reveals background information as needed, and secondary characters are distorted by Cole’s grief, reflecting the exhaustion Cole feels when he tries to engage with others. Readers will easily feel Cole’s difficulty with being present. Like Daisy Whitney’s When You Were Here (2013), Kyi’s novel presents a heart-wrenching, realistic depiction of a son grieving the loss of his mother. Grades 9-12.
And here is part of what Quill & Quire had to say:
Kyi demonstrates a certain amount of bravery in her treatment of the characters and their stories: Cole isn’t always as likeable as he thinks he is – in fact, he’s a bit of a jerk – and the other characters are vividly, humanly flawed. The author allows her characters room to make bad decisions and doesn’t flinch from dramatizing the consequences. The novel’s relatability twists inside the reader.
Diane Colson (Booklist) and Robert J. Wiersema (Quill & Quire), these are for you: