NOBODY BUT US

So, I just finished Kristen Halbrook’s NOBODY BUT US, as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge, hosted by The Hobbitsies. I’d been anticipating this book ever since I read somewhere that it was Bonnie and Clyde meets IF I STAY. Yes please!

From Goodreads:

Will

Maybe I’m too late. Maybe Zoe’s dad stole all her fifteen years and taught her to be scared. I’ll undo it. Help her learn to be strong again, and brave. Not that I’m any kind of example, but we can learn together.

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

Zoe

Maybe it’ll take Will years to come to terms with being abandoned. Maybe it’ll take forever. I’ll stay with him no matter how long it takes to prove that people don’t always leave, don’t always give up on you.

I had high expectations going in, which may have clouded my judgement a bit here. In my opinion, it wasn’t the story it was made out to be. Bonnie and Clyde? Kind of. They’re on the run, anyway. IF I STAY? Um… I have no clue where they got that comparison. That being said, the story that NOBODY BUT US really is is intriguing. I fully believe that if I’d never read anything but the jacket copy, I’d have been much more enthusiastic about this read.

Kristen Halbrook does a great job with both Will and Zoe’s voices, making both sound authentic and three-dimensional. She didn’t pull her punches, which I appreciated, and the pace is pedal-to-the-floor once you get about half-way through. The story gets more tragic by the moment, and though the ending was something I easily predicted, it was no less heartbreaking when it played out.

It’s a slow-starter, but I’d definitely say it’s worth a read. Halbrook brings out a lot of emotions in her very VERY damaged characters, and I like how she dealt with them. Their relationship was unhealthy, and damaged kiddos flock toward unhealthy relationships. It wasn’t the romance I expected–and it certainly wasn’t romantic, but it was a realistic depiction of two teens who feel bound to each other, want to save each other, but ultimately lack the maturity and know-how to help anyone–even themselves.

Have you read NOBODY BUT US? What did you think?

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