Balzer + Bray
October 2, 2012
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That's what Emily Hainsworth's Through to You was for me. I'd been dying to read this one and then it lived up to all of the (created by me) hype.
Camden "Can" Pike feels as if the only good thing in his life is gone now that his girlfriend Viv has died. Out of football after an injury, his parents divorced and his father gone, Viv was the one there to see him through his pain - to show him he didn't need football or the popularity it brought. They had each other.
But now she's gone.
Visiting the site of their car accident - deadly for her, not for him - one night, Cam sees a girl. Only she's not really there. The girl, an apparition, a ghost, isn't Viv, either.
She's Nina. Not a ghost, as she tells Cam, but from another world. A parallel world where Viv is alive.
How crazy it all sounds doesn't matter to Cam, all that matters is that there's somewhere where Viv is alive.
|©BBC (I think) but found on Tumblr at some point|
But as he goes to Nina's world, he finds that more than Viv's mortality is different there. The Cam and Viv there have made different choices, gone down different paths. The Viv he encounters doesn't seem to be the same girl he remembers from his world.
With Nina keeping secrets from Cam and the opening between their worlds likely temporary, will Cam find the what he's looking for? Will he find the Viv he lost months ago? Will he see the truth in things - in both worlds - even if it hurts?
Through to You makes excellent use of the parallel worlds. They're not exact replicas of each other nor are they so vastly different that you're left wondering what they have in common. They're two worlds, with the same town, same people who have gone down different paths in life. It's a great way to present things to the main characters - the different outcomes slightly different choices could or would have created.
Hainsworth has created exceptionally strong characters. From the main characters of Cam, Nina and Viv to the more secondary characters of Mike and Owen. They're well developed characters who all bring something great to the book and leave you feeling for them.
I love that this isn't a book that makes the end obvious. If you're like me, you'll be hoping certain things will - or won't - happen and some of them will - and won't - but Hainsworth does an excellent job of the story going up and down with Cam. It wouldn't make sense for him to have everything figured out right away - he's still grieving and then amazed at finding Viv. It's a lot for him to take in and then deal with. The progression going up and down with his emotions, etc flows well. Even if it leaves the readers hoping he'll see what they can, but he can't.
The ending wasn't quite what I was expecting but I think it fits perfectly for the story, I wouldn't change a thing.
In fact, the only thing I really would change about Through to You is the amount of smoking. I understand the initial smoking in the car, but Cam's mother is always smoking, and several other characters/mentions. It just seemed unnecessary.
This is one book where the plot is fantastic - parallel worlds, grieving, finding your lost love in said parallel world, possibly having to choose a world - and the characters are equally strong if not stronger. Whether you're a character girl (or guy) or a plot girl (or guy), Through to You has it.
(egalley received from Harper through Edelweiss)