Jan 25, 2013

Review: Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

Title: Nobody But Us
Author: Kristin Halbrook
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: January 29, 2013
Pages/Format: 288, ARC

Bonnie and Clyde meets If I Stay in this addictively heart-wrenching story of two desperate teenagers on the run from their pasts.

They’re young. They’re in love. They’re on the run.

Zoe wants to save Will as much as Will wants to save Zoe. When Will turns eighteen, they decide to run away together. But they never expected their escape to be so fraught with danger....

When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can’t run fast enough.

Nobody But Us, told in alternating perspectives from Will and Zoe, is an unflinching novel, in turns heartbreaking and hopeful, about survival, choices, and love...and how having love doesn’t always mean that you get a happy ending. Described as “beautiful, heartbreaking, and exhilarating” by Kody Keplinger, author of The Duff, Nobody But Us will prove irresistible to fans of Nina Lacour, Jenny Han, and Sara Zarr.

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: Broken

I've noticed a trend in the books I've read lately: they're all breaking my heart. And Nobody But Us was definitely not an exception. And it wasn't just the end--it was the entire thing, all two-hundred-something pages. From the looks of it, this book may seem like some cute, happy ending, lovey dovey contemporary. But it's not. It's a contemporary full of two broken pieces that will never fully be put back together.

Zoe's dad is an abusive asshole. There's not one thing that's good about him. So when her boyfriend, the eighteen-year-old, fostered Will (who's three years older than her) gets out of the foster care system, he takes her with him. Of course, it's not that simple. She's fifteen. She can't just leave the state. They have no jobs, no one to help them--there's no one but them. As they head toward their destination of Las Vegas, they hit several roadblocks along the way. And when they get to the end--I can't even. Like, WHY, KRISTIN? WHY? (My heart was shattered into a million little pieces throughout this book. Again. And again. And again.)

The chapters--alternating between Will and Zoe--really show the differences between the two lovers. At first, I wasn't sure that I liked it--Will's point-of-view majorly contrasts, using slang and improper grammar; not something I see a lot of. However, once I got used to it, I didn't mind that and his dialogue--it all plays on his character, shows where he's been, how he doesn't have much, including a nice education. While Will is older and the physically stronger of the two--and therefore more capable of some survival skills--he could be the lesser person, when compared to Zoe. He really has no future plans--except for Zoe--while she has an education, dreams, plans for the future. But they both have problems, and that causes bumps on their trip to escape. 

Part of me loved Will, while the other thought he was a douche. Kristin Halbrook gave something that I don't see a lot--broken characters that probably shouldn't be loved, but you love them anyway. Will's number one problem was his temper--dude, keep it in check. Especially because of where Zoe was coming from--that temper could really mess things up. But Zoe wasn't Little Miss Sunshine herself; in fact, she was kind of annoying. Something about her just bothered me--I know Will's her "savior" and all, but he has some serious issues. Some of the things they'd say were just a little unbelievable, a little to "are you kidding me? Really?" But maybe that's the point--maybe Kristin was trying to show that kind of relationship, because similar ones do exist in real-life. This wasn't some cookie cutter love story--it's a love story where the cookie crumbles. 

While I don't think I liked the book as much as I thought I would--it certainly wasn't what I had expected--I still quite liked it. It's different than other contemporaries out there, dealing with different issues and different kinds of people. It was a quick and good read; enjoyable, in a way. And as I said earlier--THAT ENDING. That definitely took me by surprise. I look forward to reading more of Kristin's books in the future, and Nobody But Us was a great debut.

Did I like it? Yes.
Did I love it? Not fully.
Would I reread it? Yes.
Would I purchase it? Yes.
Would I recommend it? If someone asked about it, yes. But I don't think I'd shove it in someone's face--depends on what they're asking.


  1. I definitely found this book heartbreaking too. And I loved Will's narration because it was so different from Zoe; I've read books where it was tough to distinguish the narrators but not in this case.

  2. Another book I'm dying to read. "This wasn't some cookie cutter love story--it's a love story where the cookie crumbles." *sigh* I love that. I seriously, honestly do. Although I don't know how I'll be able to process Will's temper or Zoe's annoying things, I do know that how you worded it right there, about the love story, confirms my wanting to read it. It sounds heartbreaking and wonderful. Love your review!

    Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf


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