Book Review: Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

View from the window seat:
Zoe and Will want nothing more than to save each other. Desperately in love, they decide to run away together when Will turns eighteen. On the road, one mistake after another puts both of their futures in jeopardy. The happy ending they’ve dreamed of might fall beyond their grasp.

The premise of this story is what piqued my interest enough to pick it up and start reading. I’ve never read a story about two teens on the run before, and I was really curious to see how it would play out. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well.

I had a really hard time connecting with either Zoe or Will. I think a lot of this had to do with the fact that much of their characterization is through Will talking about Zoe and vice versa. Everything about them is told, not shown. Zoe’s supposed to be this really smart, levelheaded girl but nothing about how she acts or what she says supports this. At times, she was frustratingly weak, clinging to Will even as he gets them into more and more trouble. Will is supposed to be caring and strong, but his every action contradicts these descriptions. So what we have is this disconnect between the characters’ alleged attributes and their actions. I found myself not really knowing either character by the end.

I also had a really hard time understanding why Zoe loves Will at all. He often acts out with extreme aggression, committing assault left and right. This pattern of violence really disturbed me, especially since I’m assuming he’s supposed to be a sympathetic character. Zoe spends much of the book afraid of him, even flinching from him when he’s angry. Will then immediately apologizes and assures her he’d never hurt her. This constant cycle of fear and reassurance makes me think that he actually would eventually become physical with her. Their relationship is not one that I can get behind, considering how unhealthy it obviously is.

PS. Don’t listen to the Goodreads description at all. This book is nothing like If I Stay. It’s simply not of the same caliber nor does it deal with the same level of emotional depth that If I Stay has.

PPS. So Will is described as having black hair and darker skin (I can’t remember exactly how his skin is described, so I apologize if I’m getting this wrong). Also, his last name is Torres. I assumed from these descriptions that he’s Hispanic (this is never addressed directly in the book, so I am going on assumption here). The guy on the cover is clearly Caucasian. I realize that the author probably had no say in the cover, but I still feel like I should comment on this since whitewashing is a problem with YA book covers and something I’m not ok with at all.

Overall impression:
Though unique is plot, Nobody But Us didn’t have anything I could really connect with as a reader.

Rating:
4

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

  1. I’m glad I found your review of this book. Nobody But Us interested me because of the plot idea. Now I feel like it isn’t one I’d want to ‘instantly’ buy, especially seen as characters are a huge tie breaker for me in books. From your review, I feel like we wouldn’t ‘know’ them.
    Thanks for the review 🙂

  2. I enjoyed this one, but get what you’re saying about it. It was no If I Stay! I definitely didn’t feel any connection to either character, though I did sympathize with them. I got why they were the way they were, and had to keep reminding myself that they were two very young teens with very difficult backgrounds, but sometimes I wanted to yell at them for their actions. I don’t see myself recommending this one to tons of people, but I’m glad I got to read it!

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