Title: In the Middle of Nowhere
Author: Julie Ann Knudsen
Published: April 5th 2012 by Julie Ann Knudsen (first published April 4th 2012)
Page Count 217
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Shelf: Review Copy
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Butterflies. Little, fluttering butterflies. That’s what fifteen-year-old Willow Flynn feels in the pit of her stomach every time the mysterious boy is near. But Willow has other things to contend with as she deals with the tragic loss of her father, as well as her emotionally preoccupied mother, while being uprooted to a new house, a new school, a new life, far away, on an island, in the middle of nowhere.
At the beginning of the school year, the sickly, but cute Michael sends Willow the first of many cryptic notes during homeroom. He stares at Willow and gives her the creeps. Michael never returns to school after that, but Willow ends up connecting with the poetic boy on-line where they strike up an unusual friendship.
As Willow attempts to fit in and find her niche in the ever-cliquey high school world, she is further confused by Michael who strives to win her over and mend her broken heart. But will he be able to, especially when his own existence remains so uncertain?
This story was absolutely heart wrenching with simultaneously being extremely heartwarming. I don’t think I have ever read a story in which the author manages to combine both of those emotions so seamlessly. It is also an extremely well written novel, allowing you to immerse yourself completely within the pages of the book.
Knudsen’s sentences flow together so seamlessly that you cannot help but transition smoothly from one place to another. This makes it easier to empathize with the plight of each and every character in the novel. Each and every one of these brilliantly developed main characters are dealing with some sort of issue or catastrophe. I found it amazing that I never felt sympathy for the characters. There was no “oh poor you” feeling brought forth by this work. It was a refreshing change. Knudsen does, however, manage to evoke empathy in the reader, pulling you further and further into the story as you identify with the characters.
I also enjoyed the fact that the struggles, challenges, and catastrophes faced by the characters are real events. Knudsen pulls on the challenges facing every day teens, including drugs, alcohol, sex, cliques, death, illness etc, and uses them as trials through which the characters prove themselves. None of the characters ever face a challenge that could not realistically be faced in the real world of normal human beings. The characters realistically display real emotions, evoking similar ones in the reader.
Knudsen’s descriptions are also phenomenal. Everything is very vivid without being overstated. You can picture the island on which the characters reside, but it is not larger than life. It suits the novel perfectly. She also works all necessary back-story into the novel without stopping the forward progression of novel for large periods of time.
I could not believe how caught up I was in this novel, or how much emotion it evoked in me as a reader. For once, it wasn’t solely the characters in the novel feeling, but me as well. It was brilliant.
Buy your copy online here today.