Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Becky's View: Here by Denise Grover Swank

Here by Denise Grover Swank
♦self published
♦released: November 11, 2011
♦paperback, 350 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from author for honest review
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.

Review:  Here is a great read. Period. It's a quick read that I tore through in 2 days.  The writing is tight and emotionally charged.  Main character Julia's personality and insecurities and dilemmas ring true.  And the story compels the reader to turn page after page out of compassion and an undeniable curiosity to find out what the heck is going on.  

I can't say too much about where the story goes without giving away the incredible twist, but Here unfolds in two main parts. In the beginning, you get to know Julia.  She is suffering from some major survivors guilt after a car accident where she was the driver and her best friend, Monica, didn't survive.  She has bizarre dreams where she is the one who died.  Her family is falling apart and questioning her sanity, and her academic life is quickly spiraling out of control. Then Evan steps into her life. While there is definitely a bit of cliche with the popular boy suddenly having eyes for the outcast, and the cruel popular mean girl who tortures her, I don't think it took away from the story.  When Evan suddenly takes an interest in her, you know something weird is up without the whole situation feeling unbelievable.   I like how Julia doesn't immediately fall in love with him---she remains completely suspicious of why he's helping her.  The foreshadowing was perfectly done---the author drops these perfect little hints that something is really off with Evan, but still leaves you wondering what is gong on with him---is he an alien? Is he a ghost?  Body snatcher, maybe? :)   I literally never saw the truth coming. His interest in her actually starts to tip a little onto the side of obsessive, which bothered me at first, but his intensity made perfect sense in the end.

Like I said, I can't say much more without giving it all away, but I will say that the second half of the book hits you with a shock, then twists into a fast-paced tale full of discovery, danger, excitement, and heartbreak.  It ends with a bang and left me ready to take on book 2.  I'm actually thankful I read it now, with the sequel's release just around the corner in December!

Whether you normally read self-pub books or not, I definitely recommend giving this a try. 

Find Denise Grover Swank online: Website  •  Facebook  •   Twitter

Purchase Here:  Amazon  •  BN.com  •  Book Depository  •  Indiebound


  1. I bought this one last year (after seeing it on your blog, I think!) and shame on me, I totally haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I buy books for my ereader and then they somehow get lost in the pile! This one sounds good though, so must check it out at some point!

  2. Great review! I haven't heard of this one before but it sounds really good. Definitely adding this to my list! I'm curious about the twist. Also I like that it's not a insta-love relationship.

  3. I got this back in July when it was a kindle freebie and forgot about it. I'm glad to hear it's such a good read, I can't wait to start it. Great review!!
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages