"You never know all of a person; you only know them in a specific moment of time."
-Beth Revis, A World Without You
Now that the holiday season is pretty much over, my life as a retail worker has calmed down a bit and I finally have a moment to write! I've still read quite a few books between the last post and now, so I'll do my best to catch up on reviews.
I finished A World Without You by Beth Revis sometime last week, and it's taken me a bit to process it. A World Without You follows the story of Bo, who believes he has the ability to travel through time. He attends Berkshire Academy, which on the outside is a school for troubled youth, but Bo knows that it's really a cover up for the truth: Berkshire is a place for kids who have superpowers.
After Bo's love, Sofia, commits suicide, Bo has difficulty believing that she's really gone. Instead, he believes that she's trapped somewhere in the past, and that only he as the ability to save her. As Bo gets deeper into his mission to save Sofia, Bo's reality gets more and more muddled until he is no longer sure what is real and what isn't.
The premise of this book sounded awesome to me, which is why I picked it up at the library. Revis drops the reader right in the middle of the action at the beginning of the book, which is a bit disorienting but also mimics the way that Bo must be feeling at the death of Sofia. Revis did an excellent job of constructing well-rounded characters, characters that you become attached to by the end. The portrayal of mental illness here was really strong, giving readers a variety in terms of the way it affects different individuals.
While I think this book is important in the way that it deaths with mental illness, I had issues with the structure of the plot itself. I felt as though there were scenes and parts of the story that weren't needed; eliminating these would have created a more immersive experience for me, as the reader. I also wanted Bo's sister, Phoebe, to take a stronger role in Bo's struggle with mental illness. She was given a strong presence in the book, yet I wasn't exactly sure why, or whether or not her chapters were really necessary. I think the book could have gotten along fine without them.
Overall, if you're looking for an immersive read that positively portrays mental illness, I think I would still recommend this book. Despite the plot flaws (in my opinion), it's super important in terms of the YA mental illness genre.