Review: Here by Denise Grover Swank
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Here by Denise Grover Swank is about the life of 16-year-old Julia Phillips after her best friend is killed in a tragic car accident. The book begins about 6 months after the accident. Julia is having a lot of trouble trying to ‘go on’ with her life. She once had excellent grades, but now is in serious jeopardy of failing every class. Home isn’t any better and her family is being torn apart by the strain.
Julia’s school counselor and teachers give her an ultimatum either she start doing her school work or be sent to the alternative school. Even though it is only about half way through the fall term, Julia finds herself dozens of assignments behind per class and faces an uphill battle to complete all the work. Her counselor also arranges for a couple of students to tutor her in her subjects to help her catch up.
Much to her surprise Evan Whittaker is one of the students who volunteers to tutor her as he never paid one speck of attention to her before the accident. Now Evan is offering to drive her home and is calling her often. His personality seems to have changed overnight! Evan’s girlfriend who is in the popular crowd and never been very nice to Julia is even less nice since he is spending much less time with her and much more time with Julia.
Even her sleep is restless as she is plagued by nightmares of the accident that killed Monica, but the scenes in her nightmares are very different from what she is told happened. Julia doesn’t have any memory of the accident due to what is deemed a head injury she only knows what she has been told by the police. Her nightmares feel very real and vivid, but in them she was the one killed, not Monica. How can this be? Is this just residual from her head injury? survivor’s guilt? Or something more sinister?
I gave Here a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars because while I did enjoy the novel I felt that the first third of the novel was dragging and that it took a long time for the main part of the plot to be revealed. Also by the time the truth is revealed about Evan, I had pretty much forgotten all about the beginning of the book! Also I thought that the ending was too abrupt and didn’t have any sort of wrap up or conclusion. Nor did it say if there would be a second book. I very much hope there will be a second book as I would really like to know what happens to Julia, Evan, and everyone. That said, I did think that the premise was interesting and I haven’t read another book with a similar plot as of yet.
I would definitely like to read a sequel and found the characters relatable. Once the story picked up the pace about a third of the way in, it stayed with a quick pace for the rest of the story. But then ended too quickly.
Here by Denise Grover Swank is available for purchase now.
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Review: Here by Denise Grover Swank”