Review: Here So Far Away by Hadley Dyer

Here So Far Away by Hadley Dyer

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

Release Date: March 20, 2018

Format: Hardcover

Source: Library Loan

Find it here: GoodReads

Feisty and fearless George Warren (given name: Frances, but no one calls her that) has never let life get too serious. Now that she’s about to be a senior, her plans include partying with her tight-knit group of friends and then getting the heck out of town after graduation.

But instead of owning her last year of high school, a fight with her best friend puts her on the outs of their social circle.  If that weren’t bad enough, George’s family has been facing hard times since her father, a police sergeant, got injured and might not be able to return to work, which puts George’s college plans in jeopardy.

So when George meets Francis, an older guy who shares her name and her affinity for sarcastic banter, she’s thrown. If she lets herself, she’ll fall recklessly, hopelessly in love. But because of Francis’s age, she tells no one—and ends up losing almost everything, including herself. 


I have such mixed feelings about this one. It's not that I didn't like it, but it's a case of I thought I would like it so much more. I'm just going to hit a few main points instead of a full review.

• I didn't relate to any of the characters. That created a distance between me and the story and I was never fully invested.

• In particular, I could not relate to main character George. She seemed to shun all intimacy and mocked others for any show of genuine emotion. She had this sarcastic veneer and the glimpses beyond that were too infrequent for me. Plus, it started to feel like her life was one bad decision after another.

I wasn't sold on the romantic relationship. I liked the conversations between George and Francis. I liked that George had someone who challenged her. But I never felt an actual romantic connection, so when 'I love you's' were exchanged I actually stopped and thought Really? Huh... okay. 

I liked George's friend group. Their interactions, the arguments, the taking sides, the coming back together... it all felt realistic. (Although I'm left wondering what purpose Sid served... ?)

• The family issues. I don't even know what to say. I wanted to smack both her parents most of the time.

• Rupert was a great secondary character. Really liked Rupert and I especially liked how both George and Francis looked out for him (and Shaggy the pig).

• Francis remained an enigma. I never felt I knew him at all. Maybe that was intentional, maybe not. But I never really understood his motivations, his real feelings, or his real intentions.

• Overall, I was left feeling rather underwhelmed. George made plenty of bad/questionable choices (Joshua, the drinking/drug use, Francis, the lying/covering up) and at the end I wasn't sure of how much growth or change had really occurred.

3/5 STARS

24 comments

  1. Oh, this doesn't sound good which is a shame for the blurb really caught my attention. :(

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    1. You might love it but I just couldn't connect with it even though I really wanted to.

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  2. Gah, I'm so sorry you didn't love this one! The heroine sounds really unlikable--I mean, I'm definitely a sarcastic person, but I love and accept all kinds of affection, thank you very much. If I won't like the romance, I probably won't like the book as a whole, unfortunately. Lovely review as always! ♥

    - Aimee @ Aimee, Always

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    1. Thanks Aimee. Yeah, I'm all for sarcasm but George had such a tough outer shell that it was hard to get to really know her.

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  3. Argh what a pity this one didn't work for you! The premise sure piqued my interest but looks like this one lacks just a little too much, especially with the lack of growth in characters and the underwhelming romance. Great review, though, thanks for sharing! <3

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    1. Thanks Ruzaika! Yeah, I wish there had been more character growth but I just didn't see it.

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  4. That's too bad. Is this supposed to be a romance? Kind of hard to tell from the blurb.

    i love sarcasm in my characters but I also need the story to go somewhere and have the characters grow in some way.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. There was a romance (of sorts) but it was more a coming of age story. And yeah, sarcasm doesn't bother me, but it would have been nice to get to understand the character better.

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  5. So... they're both named Franc(i/e)s? That's... weird and unlikely. Also, how much older is this dude supposed to be? Is it creepy? And it's definitely sad that there wasn't really any growth, that kind of makes it seem a bit pointless. I had been curious, but I think I will probably pass. Great review!

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    1. Yep, they're both Frances/Francis although she goes by George (her middle name). And there was an age difference which was, obviously a central conflict throughout the book. George went from 17 to 18 over the course of the book and I think Francis was 29 (I think?). So yeah, that was an issue, but I never even felt the connection. Boo hiss.

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  6. I'm sorry you didn't like this one! I really enjoyed the story and like how many issues the author handled. I thought there were a lot of delicate topics that had a lasting impact on the characters. Her dad's depression, the marital relationships, her brother's anxiety, the age-difference of her relationship with Francis, etc.

    I did love her group of friends, but I also wondered what Sid's purpose was. He seemed to me mentioned sporadically, but I think he was just meant to be a starting point. His leaving threw off the dynamics of their group. He wasn't replaced, so the other members had to take on additional roles.

    I thought the relationship was sweet and complicated. They were both wandering in life, and I think they found a connection with each other. It tethered them to the here and now without making them think too much about the future. They were both going through a lot, and ended up forming a bond over their problems.

    I think it helped to look at the story from George's perspective and not try to put myself in her shoes. Obviously, I wouldn't make those decisions myself, but I'm also not her or living her life. It's hard to judge her for reacting the way she did. She was a teenager dealing with broken friendships, a disconnected family, an unsure future, and falling for a guy in an unusual situation. I don't know... this book really got to me.

    Rupert was wonderful! Shaggy, too! :)

    I hope you enjoy your next read a little more! Thanks for sharing.
    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. Love your comment, Lindsi! I love any book talk but especially when I feel differently about a book and can discuss other perspectives.

      I agree that Dyer covered a lot of ground - so many topics/issues touched on. I thought George had an interesting relationship with her parents, particularly her father. I tried so hard to really empathize with him, because it was obvious he was slipping further and further into depression, but I was also frustrated with him. I liked seeing how her mom seemed to come into her own a bit with the new job. And I really liked her brother. His would be an interesting story, as well. Poor kid.

      The relationship with Francis was definitely complicated. I think in some ways they were both dealing with searching for something more, a place where they belonged, and that drew them to one another. But for whatever reason I just never felt the connection. I read what they did, what they said, but I never felt it. I know Francis being something of a mystery was part of the story but I would have loved to have known more about him.

      I'm glad you enjoyed this one so much! It's awesome to encounter those books that really get to you. Thank goodness there are enough books out there that there's something for everyone. :)

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    2. I love discussing books! I wish commenting on blogs could be more of a discussion, but I know it's hard to find the time to keep up with ongoing conversations. I still try, though.

      Like you said, discussing different perspectives is fun! We all view the world differently, so it makes sense that we would view books differently, too.

      I really rooted for her father, but I stopped feeling sorry for him when he started neglecting his family and treating his wife poorly. I wanted to high-five her mom when she got a job and did something for herself. The fact that he said no only made the act feel sweeter. I wish he had gotten help sooner and taken his meds properly. He had an opportunity to improve and get better, which would have allowed him to go back to work, but he was stuck on the loss. I can't even begin to understand how depression works, but I wish he hadn't lost himself so completely. Her brother could easily have his own story! I wish there had been more of him in the book.

      "I think in some ways they were both dealing with searching for something more, a place where they belonged, and that drew them to one another." I can agree with this 100%. Okay, so I didn't really *feel* the connection between them, but I understood it. It's hard to explain... there are some romances that completely envelop me as I read about them, but this one was just there. It was another part of the story. I do think it was relevant to the main character and her progression, and the age difference is what drew her away from family and friends. Francis was a complete mystery and I wish he had been given a little more background, but I also think the mystery was part of it. I believe he saw himself in George, at least a little, and maybe their connection should have just been a great friendship. I don't know... I really enjoyed how everything came together in the end. It all felt realistic and shows how unexpected life can be. We get to see how small choices can spiral into things way beyond out expectations.

      If you don't like a book, there's always something else. It's great that we all have so many options to choose from! I did enjoy your review and how specific you were about what did and didn't work for you.

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    3. Oh my goodness, Lindsi, I’m sitting here just laughing because we feel so similarly about so many aspects of the book and yet our overall opinion is so different. Crazy how that can happen! :)

      I’m the same with the father. I was really pulling for him. But yeah, when he just basically gave up... nope. Maybe he could have returned to the force, maybe he could have done a lot of things... but he chose to just check out. Grr.

      You said “there are some romances that completely enevelop me as I read them, but this one was just there.” Yes! I really need to be sold on a romance. I need to feel the connection, root for the characters. And maybe the problem for me here was that this was not a typical romance - and maybe I wasn’t supposed to root for them. So that’s something to think about. I agree that he probably saw himself in George and that helped make that connection. But yeah, it should have just been a great friendship.

      It’s been fun discussing this one with you! :)

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  7. I just struggled with the age difference in the romance. I knew this wouldn't be for me, but I am sorry it wasn't for you either.

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    1. For good or for bad, I'm rarely bothered with age differences. And that might be my own experience coloring my views (my husband is 14 years older than me). So obviously it was an issue and that reflected in several ways, including their relationship being a secret from everyone, but it wasn't even my main sticking point. Wish we had both enjoyed it more!

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  8. I'm sorry this wasn't a better read for you. I think I'd be bothered as well if it didn't seem like any of the characters showed any growth by the end. Thanks for sharing your thoughts though.

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    1. Thanks Suzanne. Yeah, when there's no real growth or change I'm left feeling like, what was the point?

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  9. Aww, i'm sorry this one wasn't as good as it could've been for you. It didn't sound like one I would enjoy either.

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    1. Yeah, I just really expected more from this one.

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  10. It is always such a disappointment when you expect to love a book.I cannot imagine there not being any growth in the characters especially the main character.

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    1. Yes! Especially when you go into it with an expectation that it’s just going to be one of those books that really do it for you. But, they can’t all be hits, I guess. :)

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