Far From You - Tess Sharpe

Far From You is an exceptionally frank and raw blend of mystery and romance. Sophie is fully-constructed and filled with pain and secrets, alternating her narration between past and present and eventually leading readers to a refreshingly open ending.

"So, today's the big day," Dr. Charles says.
     I look across the desk. From her shiny pumps to her tasteful, "natural" makeup, there's not a hair out of place on her. When I met Dr. Charles, all I wanted to do was mess her up. Slip the glasses down her nose, crush one of those perfectly pressed French cuffs. Tear into that neat, orderly mask and get down to the grist, the chaos.
     Chaos has no place in recovery, Dr. Charles Says.
     But I crave it. Sometimes even more than the Oxy.

As you can see, Sophie has an addiction problem. She's in recovery at some points in the narrative. At other times she's out of recovery. But for the majority of the novel she is dealing with the death of Mina. The alternating timelines throughout the text give readers the feeling that they are privy to a stream-of-consciousness thought process, looking back at the development of their relationship along with Sophie's loss and eventual recovery (from drugs as well as other emotional difficulties).
I shiver, thinking about the extra drugs stashed all over my room. About the lines I snorted this morning before we drove here. About the pills I just took. About all the pills I pop, off schedule, like secret candy. . . .
 I hug myself. The Oxy is starting to kick in, that numb, floaty feeling mixing with the buzz of the alcohol. . . .
While the addiction portion of the narrative follows a rather formulaic approach to recovery (it's addiction, so I'm not saying this is a bad thing!), the rest of the book will keep readers on their toes. Character development and the building of Sophie's world show Sharpe's dexterity. The relationship development between Sophie and Mina is beautifully rendered and makes for very realistic portrayal of a friendship/love that is incredibly realistic. Treatment of queer themes is delicate and secondary to the overall story, but also natural and tender at times.

Often secondary characters fall flat in light of fully developed protagonists. In this case, however, Sharpe's secondary characters are just as fully developed as her protagonists. Aunt Macy, Rachel, Trev, and others, will keep readers interested in Sophie's world, and work well within the overall plot to keep things moving forward. They all contribute to the feeling of intensity and anticipation.
It's unimaginable, the words coming out of her mouth. She had failed me, but only after I'd recovered. She'd refused to see the changes in me, the things I'd overcome and accepted about myself—the ones she never could. She'd stood there, stone-faced to my begging and tears, my heart still a fresh wound pouring out grief and shock, and she'd seen it all as guilt and lies.
I am seriously looking forward to more books from Tess Sharpe in the near future. The novel is at once painful, delightful, and unpredictable. Sharpe's writing is beautiful and her treatment of delicate situations is to be admired. This is a novel you won't soon forget!

Highly Recommended!

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