The Nearest Faraway Place by Hayley Long
|The Nearest Faraway Place by Hayley Long|
|Reviewer: Rachael Spencer|
|Summary: A brilliantly well written and poignant story about grief for teenagers which I would highly recommend. It's both real and raw whilst still feeling slightly magical. I didn't know quite what to expect when I opened this book, and I'm quite glad about that in the end, because I feel like I got taken on an emotional rollercoaster. Somehow, Hayley Long has managed to find an uplifting story out of the most terrible sadness, and I think that's something which is perfect for a teenage audience. If that's your thing, I don't see how you couldn't like it.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: July 2017|
|Publisher: Hot Key Books|
|External links: Author's website|
On Griff's thirteenth birthday, he and his brother's lives change forever when their entire family is caught up in a road accident. The Nearest Faraway Place is told from the point of view of his brother, Dylan, as they both try to come to terms with the end of their world as they know it.
Griff and Dylan haven't had the most regular of lives; their parents travel from country to country with them, living a pretty nomadic life in order to enjoy it to the full. But in the aftermath of the accident, where does this leave the boys? As the story goes on, Dylan not only tries to deal with his own grief but also his brother's, attempting to look out for him as he thinks an older brother should. But it's difficult when you're only sixteen and the world is on your shoulders, so sometimes he slips off into his 'nearest faraway places' where he relives memories from his life before all this mess. In these segments readers get to know the family's' way of life, his parents, and about his relationship with a girl called Matilda who he's loved since he was a small boy living in Munich.
I loved a lot about this book. I thought it dealt with grief and pain incredibly well for a young adult novel; not sugar coating anything whilst at the same time not hamming up the boys and their reactions into melodrama. I really felt for them both, even though they aren't guys of many words. The supporting characters were strong enough to slot in and out of the story without feeling jarring, and I loved the realness I felt from this book even though the entire world was kind of unreal because of the way the characters flitted between different countries, continents and landscapes.
I'll be 100% honest and say I didn't entirely get the whole massive importance of Matilda in terms of the story as a whole, I felt like she might have been the one thing which detracted slightly from the story I was reading, but I guess that was the point of her, from Dylan's point of view. To get away from the thing he's going through. There, you see, the one negative I had I've just managed to talk myself around on.
I don't know if it was Hayley Long's choice or a publishing decision to use different font sizes to denote volume of speech, and worked so well in context of this particular teen novel. There were quite a few times where the tiny font size had a real emotional impact on me as a reader in relation to what was happening in the story. In fact, I think stylistically it's a superb book. From the cover down to the odd page of different layout skittered throughout the novel, I thought it managed to be really individual without feeling like it was trying to hard to be quirky. I adored how this story roamed around the globe, because it made it feel like a universal story, perfect given that grief is a universal feeling.
The story is an important one, and it's handled both truthfully and compassionately which I think is a great thing not to be overlooked in a young adult market. It tackles difficult circumstances without apology, and I think grief is something which needs to be freely spoken about. There's a twist in the plot which I did see coming, but not for quite a while and that didn't hinder its impact on me.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this immensely and I feel very lucky to have got the chance to do so prior to its publication. I look forward to seeing what else Hayley Long has to offer the world of young adult fiction in the future.
If you like this book, and you don't mind heavy subject matter, then it might be worth you reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green or All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. Alternatively, you could also give another Hayley Long book a go, so why not try What's Up With Jody Barton? by Hayley Long?
You can read more book reviews or buy The Nearest Faraway Place by Hayley Long at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Nearest Faraway Place by Hayley Long at Amazon.com.
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