Friday, April 27, 2012

Review: Here by Denise Grover Swank

Julia Phillips doesn’t remember anything about the accident which killed her best friend, Monica, and leaves her feeling confused and guilty. The police think that she’s responsible for the accident, and her schoolmates treat her like a freak. Julia knows that her family is struggling to pretend that everything’s okay, but Julia doesn’t have the strength to play with. All Julia wishes is to die in place of Monica.

Julia’s grades are falling down and she is threatened by the possibility of being sent to alternative school. Her guidance counselor assigns some tutors to help her study. When one of the most popular guys in school, Evan Whittaker, volunteers to be one of the tutors, Julia thinks that it is very strange. Evan didn’t even spare her a glance before the accident, so what is it with thus sudden interest? Why does Evan look at her with such longing and sadness? Evan knows something about the accident. The whole reason why Julia can’t remember anything, why she suddenly possesses drawing skill, and why she owns a bracelet that is not hers from the accident… 

I’ve had my share of YA books but Here still managed to caught me by surprise. There is a twist in the middle of the story, one I didn’t see coming. I got a feeling that Evan is something more than a cute tutor and caring friend, but when the whole truth is unveiled, it still took me completely by surprise. I really like the twist even though I did feel as if the book I was reading suddenly switched its genre. The first half part of the book is the kind of sad contemporary I usually read, but for the rest of the book? It’s different. I don’t want to spoil the fun, but you have my word that the result is amazing.

I have to admit that I didn’t really like Julia at first. She annoyed me with the way she ignored her family’s suffering. Maybe I’m just being too hard to her since Julia obviously has gone through many things. But the more I read this book, the more she grows on me. Julia has a low self esteem, but I’m glad that Evan can encourage her little by little to stand up for herself. I guess the most favorite thing I find about Julia is her brilliant mind and her quick asses of her hard situation. I really like Evan’s character too. He’s not perfect and while his actions are considered brave, it is definitely reckless. However, he’s the one who fixes Julia. I doubt Julia would get better if Evan didn’t risk everything and come to her. Evan’s absolute devotion to Julia is very sweet and touching. 

Maybe one thing that turned me off a bit about Here is the love triangle aspect. I know some readers who enjoy the love triangle in this book, but honestly, I’m a little put off because of it. I was fully engrossed by Evan in the first half of the book, so the later appearance of Reece kind of shocked me. Both guys are cute, brave, and extraordinarily sweet, but I dislike how Julia is torn between two guys. I can see why Julia is attracted to Reece, but I also think that it’s strange considered her earlier romance with Evan.

In overall, Here is a great book that I would recommend to any fans of YA. When I found this book, I was instantly intrigued by the ghostly cover and the premise from the blurb. I thought this book would be another sad read about letting go and moving on, but it turns out to be so much more! Here is a great surprise and I enjoyed it immensely. I was very impressed with the twist and surprises that are thrown in the book. This book might have a slow start but the actions later kept me grinning with delight. It ends with a cliffhanger and even though the suspense is not enough to make me scream and rip out my hair, it certainly is great enough to leave me wanting to read the next book! I can’t wait to see what happens to Julia, Evan, and Reece’s adventure and the tangled relationship between the three of them.

I stand and tug on his arm. “You have to go!”

He grabs my hand as he rises. “Will you come?

His tear-soaked face waits for my answer. Tears over losing me. All I want is for someone to love me. Need me. I have it here, with him.

In the end, there is no question. I lift my chin. “Yes.”

I rate this book: 
Four cups of tea. Amazing! Love the book, it’s simply awesome. I love the tea flavor!  A strong recommendation.


  1. Wow, sounds pretty interesting! The truth is that I don't think I was going to read it. But then I saw quite a few people getting it for reveiew, and now that I've read yours... I might consider it :)

    It sounds a bit like The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, although I haven't read it yet so I can't say anything. I used to LOVE love triangles, but these days I just thing it adds unnecessary drama to the story.

    Great review, Hilda! Now you have me intrigued about this book <3

  2. Can't wait to read this. Great review!

  3. Great review Hilda! I just read a bunch of reviews for this on Goodreads after seeing how much you liked it on there, it it definitely sounds like this is a surprisingly good book! The cover gives of a creepy vibe to me, but it sounds like it is so much more. I can't wait to read it! :)

  4. Wowie zowie, Hilda! This sounds so much better than I expected it to be when I first saw it a few weeks ago! :) I read a TON of books all the time too so I've become really good at predicting plot twists and surprises and all of those kinds of things in books now, so I'm SUPER intrigued about the plot twist that you don't see coming! And even though I LOVE the name Reece (not just because it reminds me of chocolate!) and I actually like love triangles too, I think I'll probably agree with you how the romance would've been okay without him x)

    Amazing review, Hilda! I'll DEFINITELY be paying closer attention to this book now -- I just added it to my Goodreads TBR pile! :) <3

  5. I like the cover for this but like you, I'm not so keen o love-triangles, especially when the boys sound very similar! I'll probably grab a copy when my library gets it in

  6. I think I've heard of this book before! It sounds REALLY cool! And the quotes in the end of your review convinced me to add this book to my TBR and hopefully read it soon!!

    Awesome review, Hilda! ♥ So glad you enjoyed it!

  7. I haven't heard about this book, but it sounds pretty good after reading your review! The synopsis sounds interesting, but your review makes me want to get it! It looks like the main character had some great character development. And I absolutely love well-done plot twists! However, there's a love triangle, and like you, I'm not a fan of those at all, especially the ones that aren't good. :/ But I still think I might give this one a try. Great review, Hilda! =)

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  8. I totally know what you mean about not being a fan of the love triangle. For some reason, the guy that I always like is the one that the girl doesn’t choose (ie. Gale from Hunger Games) and then I get aggrivated because the guy that I like doesn’t get chosen and it just makes me mad. I would much rather just not have a choice than pick the wrong guy! It sounds like it would be a really great book though, thank you for your review, Hilda! Here definitely sounds like a book I would enjoy!

    Darlene @ Leather Bound and Lovely

  9. I've noticed this book more than a few times around the blogosphere and it looked interesting, but I didn't seriously consider it. It wasn't until I read your review that I decided I defintiely want to read it asap.
    The cover is very irresistible!
    I sometimes struggle with characters that appear selfish too, regardless of their troubles, but I love that feeling when I finally get over it. The love triangle is the only thing that worries me a little.
    Wonderful review, Hilda!

  10. Wonderful review, Hilda! I must have been living under a rock for the past week because this is the first time I'm hearing about Here. It sounds fab! I wonder what it really is about- which I guess I'll know only after the twist. I love such books! You never know what to expect from them and you can end up loving or hating the twist! The twist in Liar by Justine Larbalestier was so WOW and genre-changing yet not. Like Sophie, this feels a bit Unbecoming of Mara Dyer-ish to me as well. I guess I have to read this to truly make a decision about it!

    Despite the love triangle (so not fun anymore!), it sounds like a book I wouldn't mind trying out :D

  11. ooh you had me at the plot twist! I'm always on the hunt for a good plot twist and this seems like it delivers. It sounds so creepy from the summary! I think I would be annoyed by the main girl too but I'm glad she grows on you.


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