Monday, June 25, 2012

Through to You by Emily Hainsworth

Every day is a challenge for Camden Pike because his girlfriend Viv was his entire world, but it's been two months since his life changed forever. Two months since the accident. Two months of maintaining her shrine. Two months without holding her.

While visiting the site of the accident one night, Camden notices an eerie green light and a girl on the other side calling his name. He soon learns that the green light is a portal into a parallel world where Viv is still alive. Determined to have her back, Camden ignores the fact that the Viv he lost in his world isn’t the Viv living in the other one. As the portal begins to shrink, secrets unfold and obsessions turn deadly.

Emily Hainsworth’s debut novel is a breath of fresh air. Through her portrayal of a grieving young man, she captures the realistic and complicated internal conflicts that he undergoes while dealing – or not dealing - with his girlfriend’s death. Hainsworth effectively makes Camden a flawed character who must work through multiple issues: his father’s abandonment of the family, his absent workaholic mother, his fall from grace as the football star, and his emotional instability. All of these issues lead to the guiding theme of this novel, which is “What if?” What if we’d chosen something different?

All of us are presented with choices, and based upon those choices, we follow a certain path. Camden is no different. What he discovers in the parallel world is that the same people exist, but their different choices led them to different futures. For instance, instead of giving up on football when his leg was shattered, the other Camden pushed himself to overcome the injury. As a result, even though the “real”Camden’s initial goal for entering the other world was to reunite with Viv, he also realized the possibilities for what he could accomplish if he refused to give up. He had to realize that he possessed the strength within himself to do great things – without Viv.

Nina is the girl that Camden meets the first night that the green light appears. Although he doesn’t recognize her, she knows him from her world, and she serves as his guide – a conscience, almost – as he works through his love and loss of Viv, as well as his renewed discovery of her in the other world. Nina has secrets and she holds the key to Camden’s happiness, but she also wants him to make the discoveries on his own.

The ending of this novel is so bittersweet that I’m STILL thinking about it. There are so many ways that I wanted it to go, but Hainsworth executed it so beautifully that there was only one way that it could end. I love, love, love this book, and I’ll probably reread it in the near future because I didn’t want it to end.

ARC Provided by HarperCollins Children’s Books
Publish Date: October 1, 2012

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