Review: Through to You by Emily Hainsworth

Through to You
Emily Hainsworth
Series: None
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Number of Pages: 272
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

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Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the meds wore off. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv.

The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all.

(Warning: Possible spoilers, but really nothing you won't find in the synopsis)

On my one and only status update for this book, a brief discussion was held on how there are so many books in the YA genre recently that have an immense amount of potential, but, unfortunately, that potential is never met. And while unmet potential sadly is very common in YA, I went in to this book with very high expectations, sure that I would absolutely love it, only to be disappointed in the long run. Considering how much I was looking forward to this book, it pains me to say that Through to You has yet another case of unmet potential.

In Through to You, Hainsworth has come up with an original and intriguing concept of a high schooler named Camden Pike whose girlfriend recently died in a car crash due to his fault, and one day, he finds a transparent girl calling his name. This girl is eventually revealed to be Nina Larson, and she comes from a different dimension than Camden, and accidentally stumbled through a portal and into his dimension. Nina's dimension, as Camden finds out, is one where everything is opposite than his, and his girlfriend is alive. Anxious to see his girlfriend again, Camden travels to Nina's dimension, only to find out things are not as they seem.

Through to You is an extremely slow moving book, and in fact, the actual plot only kicks in barely before the fifty percent mark. That being said, most of the first half of Through to You is comprised of Camden being incredibly moody, Camden blaming himself for the death of his girlfriend, and Camden's incredibly boring and melodramatic inner-monologue. And all of this remains true even in the second half of the novel, but at least then we had some sort of plot going on, however poorly executed that plot may have been.

At first, I was able to look over Camden's moodiness and his melodrama, and I found it to be believable (for the most part) considering all that was going on in his life*, however, teen angst is not something I enjoy reading, so that was clearly a very large misstep in the novel for me. And, while we're still on the topic of Camden, were we supposed to like him? Because I just... didn't... It was just so hard to empathize with a character I found to be so unlikable and downtrodden and just plain boring. I notice that I might get a few comments on this review saying, "But his girlfriend just died! He has every right to be that way!", and I agree with you, but you come back to me after you read this book and tell me if you think that makes for an enjoyable novel. I've said it before in this review, and I'll say it again: Camden is how he is throughout Through to You for reasons I completely understand, but teen angst, melodrama, self-blaming and moodiness is not enjoyable to me.

And I realize I'm jumping around a lot in my review of this, but I'm lazy right now and can't think of a good way to transition from why I didn't like Camden to why I thought the plot was a huge case of unmet potential, so consider this as the transition. Now, how was the potential this book had not met? I'll get to that soon, but first I have to say that the synopsis provided by Goodreads (and me) are spoiler city for the first half of Through to You. Like I had mentioned earlier in this review, the actual plot kicks in close to the fifty percent mark, so as we're just waiting and waiting for a plot to actually kick in, we're given pages after pages of Camden moping and playing the 'woe is me!' card instead, only to get frustrated even further when the plot kicks in. Why, you might ask? Because we already know the truth about everything, and have to read chapter after chapter of Camden coming up with stupid theories about what's really going on, only for him to actually find out the truth much, much later. One of my biggest pet peeves when I'm reading is if I know something (or somethings, in this case) before the main character does. I hate it. And in Through to You, Camden just makes a complete idiot of himself by coming up with really wrong theories as to what is happening, but we already know what's happening because the synopsis already told us!** But I still haven't gotten to why Through to You has such an immense amount of potential but very little of that potential is actually met. Well, for starters, the plot is just confusing and doesn't make any sense at many times, Camden still is an annoying protagonist to read about, but now we have a few more equally as annoying and unlikable characters, though not to the extent of Camden, and the plot completely takes a backseat to the romance. In case you were wondering, that, too, is high up on my list of pet peeves when reading, and I cannot stand it. I read a book for its plot, not its romance. If I were to read a book solely for its romance, I would read a romance, not a romance disguised as an exciting YA novel. And while the last ten percent or so is interesting, and there is a surprising twist that I didn't see coming, that still does not make up for the uninteresting ninety percent prior to that.

After all of this, you're probably wondering why I ended up giving Through to You two and a half stars as opposed to just one. And my answer to that is that there were some parts of this book I genuinely enjoyed, it's well written, and I save one star ratings for books that make me want to gouge my eyes out with a spork (you're very welcome for that mental image), and this book, luckily, didn't make me feel that urge. However, that doesn't defeat the fact that Through to You was a huge disappointment, and that I found it to be boring, full of angst, melodrama, and, ultimately forgettable.

* I felt like Hainsworth just thought up a bunch of different ways to make her character's life a living hell, and made them all happen to Camden. His girlfriend died, his parents got a divorce, his dad abandoned him and stole from him and his mother, he severely hurt his knee and is unable to play football, therefore having to retire from his position as a quarterback for his school's team, and everyone hates him because it's his fault his girlfriend died, all within the time span of a few months? It's like Hainsworth was trying so hard for readers to empathize with Camden by making his life absolutely horrible that his life lost its believability along the way.

** Someone seriously needs to fire the person who wrote that synopsis.


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