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Saturday, February 6, 2021

As Far As You'll Take Me by Phil Stamper ARC Book Review


Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you) and it in no way affects my review, my thoughts/opinions are my own.

TW: homophobia(including slurs), outed(sexuality), eating disorder, anxiety/panic attacks, near sexual assault, bullying, toxic relationships, body dysmorphia.

The first thing that caught my eye was the cover, I am a fan of pastels and this was just so pretty. I also loved the principle of going abroad to find yourself and having to balance who you are with who you were once both realities collide. This is a YA coming of age LGBT+ story. It is hard to find yourself especially when your parents disapprove of you/your sexuality. As he travels through Europe and London he makes friends & starts to fall in love. 

I loved the anxiety representation and the writing of this book. It was light, in the sense that it was really was to read and get into; there wasn't a moment where I felt like I had to re-read it to understand it. The relationships in this book aren't all squared off, they are raw and ugly sometimes, the characters are flawed and real. As "The Gravity of us", the author's previous book and debut, we get real-world issues. I loved the way we got the irrational anxiety, something people without anxiety might not relate to as much as I did, because the truth is anxiety is not always rational, sometimes it just is there, big and present taking control of your emotions.

This book, contrary to it's cover, is not all happy go lucky, it confronts you to deeply touching and heartfelt moments that warm and sometimes plunge a knife in your heart. As someone that was outed bye a "friend" to other friends , thankfully everyone was accepting so it wasn't as much of an issue though not okay, it was a hard read for me. But a read that made me feel seen in so many ways. This book tackles many issues in real ways, it is not sugar coated, it is graphic and messy, just like life really is. I had to take breaks between my reading sessions for this book, but at the same time I did not want to put it down and kept thinking about it. It is one of those books that hurt me, but that I couldn't help but love.

This is an important read that queer youth will relate to and think about long after having finished it.

I enjoyed it, there are somethings I would've changed, I would've liked for Marty's parent to change and accept him, but I know it isn't always the case in real life. I also would've liked for the eating disorder to have been expanded on as much as the anxiety/or at least more than it was. Unfortunately, that part felt more like a plot point than as impactful as it could've been. While the scenario is not as realistic as it could be (taking a plane to another continent with no money and no plan), it was a lovely setting that I did really enjoy.

4/5 stars

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