Anywhere but Here was my first book that I’ve read by author J.L.Paul, and I have to say I am pleased. Rena’s little sister has been missing, and Rena moved in with her aunt because of her wild behavior resulting from her sister’s disappearance. While with her aunt, she opens up her heart to a group of friends, and and an adorable boyfriend Fin. This is a romantic story about a girl letting go of her guilt, and trying to heal after a tragedy, while recognizing the importance of love and friendship in life.
I’ve read books where the parents die, or the siblings die, or are seriously injured. But I’ve never read a book where a little girl has gone missing, and there is something so utterly sad and haunting about that. There’s the uncertainty associated with it, when you’re unsure if she is still alive or dead. It’s easy to see how Rena’s family fractured, as some chose to believe she is still alive and search tirelessly for her, while others chose to believe she’s dead for her own good. But this story kind of bursts your bubble. You see these things on the news and think that it can’t happen to you, but Camille was just walking home from a friend’s house in her safe neighborhood on the sidewalk when she was snatched. Getting a inside look at the family lets you know how utterly helpless the situation is.
One of the reasons this book only got a rating of “Pterodactyls” is because of Fin. There’s nothing wrong with him, and is actually quite cute, but at times seems too perfect. He always seems to be exactly what Rena needs, always doing the right thing, which can be unrealistic. However, I do really enjoy their relationship, as his persistence in the beginning is quite endearing, and their personalities do mesh well. It’s also good for Rena to have such an understanding boyfriend because it chips away at the hard shell encasing her heart. When they had their first “non-date”, I was grinning like an idiot because it seemed awkward in the perfect first date way. They went ice skating (what a normal first date!) and went out to eat after. Something about it just hit me in the right way, because in Rena’s crazy, unpredictable world, that date was very predictable and normal. It was so pure and innocent, and had me smiling throughout the whole scene.
I also have to say, the twisted part of me loves when the characters have breakdowns, and Rena had a very nice breakdown resulting in closer relationships with those around her and a better recognition of self. The ending left me bawling in school, so it also has a nice emotional cleanse.
If you are looking for a book about healing, romance, friendship, and family, with a unique tragedy, this is definitely a good option.
Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂
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