Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Review: Anywhere But Here

When I got an early review copy of Sherri Fulmer Moorer's Anywhere But Here, all I knew about the book was that it's a YA story. This is not accurate by any means, but I'm happy to say I wasn't too disappointed to find myself caught up in a contemporary tale about the cutthroat corporate world -- and a fantasy novel filled with dream castles and dragons. Surprisingly, the two halves of the story come together well to create a cohesive whole, blending elements of female-centric fiction, romance and fantasy. But if you don't know what to expect, you may find this ride pretty confusing indeed -- even off-putting, at times.

Anywhere But Here introduces readers to a heroine on the brink of a new life, and on the brink of breakdown. Graduating from college and embarking on a new path should be an exciting time, but Jana finds her entire world crumbling to dust instead. The reader will truly feel Jana's confusion as the fabric of her life turns to tatters all around her, and sink slowly into the depression that colors the rest of the book.

Who can be trusted? Who cannot be trusted? I found myself quickly turning pages trying to discover the answers, moving in and out of different realities without knowing which was real. This book has a very strong and compelling plot, but I cannot say the same for the general tone and structure of Anywhere But Here. The formatting and editing are far from perfect, which can be extremely jarring at times, and some of the workplace scenes are even more unbelievable than those within the fantasy world that's populated by a seemingly telepathic dragon. This should not be the case. At times I found myself getting frustrated and mired in my own confusion, but perhaps this is a master stroke by Moorer -- the author's way of truly putting the reader inside the mind of the book's heroine. Are you strong enough to battle with Jana's demons? Is she? If you can stick with this one all the way through to the end, you'll find the conclusion answers most of the questions created in preceding chapters and most things start to make sense again. Despite all the errors and what I think is a real misconception of what it's like to work in an office environment, Anywhere But Here has a fascinating and unique take on something that a huge number of people must face every day: depression.

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