Books I’ve Enjoyed: Here, On The Otherside

Here (On the Otherside, #1)Here by Denise Grover Swank
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 From Goodreads: Synopsis
Sixteen year old Julia Phillips buries herself in guilt after killing her best friend Monica in a car accident. Julia awoke in the hospital with a broken leg, a new talent for drawing and false memories of the accident, in which she dies and Monica lives. The doctors attribute this to her head injury, but no one can explain how a bracelet engraved with her name ended up at the scene of the accident. A bracelet no one has ever seen before.

Classmate Evan Whittaker paid Julia no attention before the accident, let alone after. Now suddenly he’s volunteering to tutor her and offering to drive her home. She can’t ignore that his new obsession started after his two-day disappearance last week and that he wears a pendant she’s been drawing for months. When the police show up one night looking for Evan, he begs Julia to run with him, convincing her that Monica is still alive. Julia agrees to go, never guessing where he’s really from.

I recently read Here ( On The Otherside) and all in all, I am glad I did. I have a few complaints which I will share in a moment, however first I want to make it abundantly clear that all in all this book leans toward the positive side of the scale. I liked it enough that I will probably snag the sequel when it comes out.

What I disliked: I found several ( atleast four or five) typos – little things like two periods, backwards quotation marks, etc as well as a few inconsistent issues – again small things. One of our characters was described in memory as having laughed at our main character, clinging onto the sidelines wanting to be a part of things – i didn’t really feel like her best friend would have said that. At another point she tells a teacher she will stop by and see the school counselor, while internally saying she has no intentions of going. Suddenly the next morning she goes immediately to the counselors office? A good round of editing honestly should have caught these mistakes, but they were small enough that while they distracted me enough to be annoyed, I could keep going and ultimately i was glad that I did.

Speaking only to the first half of the book I felt that plot points that were dropped often felt forced and didn’t flow as well as they could have. She freaks out that Evan is actually looking at her, but by everything that had been described so far shes a bit of a spectacle at the school so while I understood where and why the author was going with the tidbit, it didn’t feel natural. I think it would have made more sense if he’d been looking at her in a way that suggested he wanted to talk to her, which understandably would have confused her.

What I did like: Everything else not listed above. The second half of the book was a giant improvement over the first half as far as plot went. Where before it had felt forced here it felt just right. The pacing overall was great, the first half set us up to know and like the characters and want to see them succeed, and i did. The second half was a whirlwind of a good ride. The author definitely nailed the art of pacing a good story and making us want to continue reading dead on. At no point did I want to give up on the book, even though during the first half I really wasn’t entirely loving it.

I also need to touch on the cover. While i love the breathtaking cover I am not sure that it totally fits the book. If i could have, I would have given this book 3 1/2 stars. With a solid edit and a bit of tightening up the first half to be as well written and as captivating as the second half it could easily be 4 1/2.

In conclusion, pick up this book, keep with it through the first half and enjoy the rest of the ride.

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