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NOBODY BUT US by Kristin Halbrook

NOBODY BUT US

By Kristin Halbrook

Age Range: 14 - 18

Pub Date: Jan. 29th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-06-212126-4
Publisher: HarperTeen

Desperate to escape her violent father, 15-year-old Zoe agrees to run away with her 18-year-old boyfriend, Will.

Their plans go awry almost at once, when Zoe’s father attempts to prevent their flight. Will solves this problem as he always does: with his fists. With one eye on the rearview mirror and the other on his adoring co-pilot, Will steers them into the night and away from a life they both dearly want to leave far behind. However, as the miles tick by, Zoe and Will are forced to confront both their pasts and their dreams of the future. Will’s violence escalates throughout the journey, culminating in a death. The novel is told in their alternating first-person, present-tense voices, giving readers immediate access to each character’s thoughts and emotions. At 15, Zoe’s naïveté about the consequences of their actions feels age-appropriate. However, Will clearly understands the legal and moral ramifications of their plans. This disparity makes it unclear whether Will is really the savior that Zoe imagines or simply the reiteration of her father, as she fears. Unfortunately, as the journey reaches its tragic end, Will’s intentions remain confused. This ambiguity makes Zoe’s parting thoughts either the appropriate tribute to a brave friend or the misguided veneration of a predator.

Random violence and mistaken passion find a bleak end. (Fiction. 14 & up)