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How Far We Go and How Fast by Nora Decter

How Far We Go and How Fast

by Nora Decter

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I'm not really sure if this was the book for me, since it was just a hard read for me to get through. The writing is splendid, but the story is just... there. I didn't really feel like Jolene really got anywhere in terms of character development. I feel like her mom improved more, with the help of Louis (and apparent therapy), but it's funny because she practically hates her throughout the book (which, to be fair, I can see why) but that seems to be on the road to resolution when her mom helps her get something back that was meaningful to Jolene. Groves seemed to be the only promising thing in this book to me.

It took me a bit of time to get through this book, since I just constantly wanted to put it down, but at the same time hate adding DNF books to my list. ( )
  thursbest | Jan 23, 2019 |
I received this eARC from Orca Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Around here anything can happen, and it very often does.
Obligatory Summary

Jolene is struggling with the sudden absence of her brother while trying to go to school, eat, walk her dog, hang out with friends, and deal with her absent parents. The only thing that gets her through is her music. But when does a coping mechanism become a crutch, and when does the problem become too much to ignore? How will long until she can't stay in her hometown? How long until she joins Matt?

This is a story about sadness and loss and avoidance through action and inaction. It's a mystery and a coming-of-age and a drama. It's about the grieving process, and how it takes time to be okay, and how you'll never be the same again, but you can learn to love what you have and what you've lost too.

I don’t know if I believe in time. I mean, I don’t believe it works for me the same way it works for other people. Other people can count on today turning into tomorrow and tomorrow turning into the day after that. But I can’t count on it at all.
The Writing and Characters

I really enjoyed the writing in this book. It read it in mostly one sitting. It really just flowed well and drew me in deep rather quickly. I loved the plot and the pacing. The whole thing gave me some strong Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock feels with a dash of Sadie thrown in for good measure.

A unique aspect was the music and concerts Jo goes to. I love music and I honestly related to that part of the story so much (minus the drugs and alcohol)

All the characters felt so real. I know people like them. I love them. I hate them. I am them.

Jolene: She was so relatable it scares me a little. She's an overthinker to the extreme (hello, that's me), she avoids conflict (thanks for calling me out, Nora Decter), and she dresses like a hobo with some money stashed away (help me). She's self-deprecating and sarcastic, and I just want her to have good things (I want to have good things too).

Her relationship with Matt, her brother, was definitely one of the most interesting parts of the book. It just so happens that one of my WIPs is basically the same plot (but I a sci-fi setting) so to see it so wonderfully executed was both exhilarating and frightening.

Maggie: She's such a great character. She's awful, but also awfully human. She's not bad but not good and you have to love what she gives you

The Squad: Graham, Drew, and manicpixiedreamgirl were fun characters, and really liked them, but they were definitely the least interesting part of the book, though they did help move the plot along.

Ms Groves: She's honestly the Herr Silverman of this book and I loved her. She's sassy and unconventional and freaking loves tea.

I can’t tell him how I’ve slowly stopped going to school, at first because everybody looked at me and now because they don’t look at me at all and it turns out maybe it’s worse that way. It’s what I wanted, but it’s worse. I can’t tell him that sometimes when I come over and we hang out, it’s been a day or two since I’ve said much out loud, and my voice sounds strange to my ears. I can’t tell him how much I want to leave or how I’m afraid I might someday, like tomorrow or the day after that. And how I’m afraid leaving might be like other things I thought I wanted and then, after I got them, it turned out I didn’t. I don’t tell him how afraid I am. Of everything. How I see danger everywhere. How sometimes when I try to sleep at night I see a roof collapsing on him at work, or the floor caving in, or I see him falling. How I see Maggie plowing the car into a tree or the river or something else that seems harmless until it’s not. I don’t tell him how sometimes I think I’m right when I’m wrong. Really right when I’m really, really wrong. And so it’s not just that I don’t trust other people. I don’t trust myself.

I don’t tell him these things so that he won’t say they’re amazing. Because Jim thinks everything is amazing. And everything is not.

I really appreciate this book. It's short and intense and will make you cry. Also, it's got a psuedo-psychic dog named Howl for goodness sake! Read it! ( )
  Faith_Murri | Jan 5, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
4 1/2 stars

Honestly, when I read the blurb, I wasn't expecting the novel I ended up reading. Nora Decter's How Far We Go and How Fast (although the title should have given me a hint) is an absorbing novel of a 16-year old girl, Jolene, who has managed to survive her dysfunctional household thanks to the support of her older brother, Matt, and passion for the music they share. When he leaves, she flounders, trying to navigate the waters of feeling abandoned and lost.

In Decter's skillful writing, the reader is nonchalantly following a path of expectation. Almost midway through the novel, I realized that I'd been following the wrong path and frankly I didn't want to put the book down, although I was obligated to finish another ahead of it, and had to set it aside. As soon as I could, I grabbed the book and devoured the remainder.

Jo's exploration is like following a nightmare, the cold, the gray, the isolation. While she had once been like everyone else, an accomplished swimmer, a good student, she now is on the periphery, feeling like she will never be like everyone else, that she is not a good person, that it's all somehow lost to her.

Decter hands the reader clues. Subtle clues.

By the end, I was crying with Jo. To offer more would be to spoil the story for you. Suffice to say, if you're a fan of Gayle Forman, Jandy Nelson, or Jessi Kirby, you might want to read How Far We Go and How Fast.
I won an ARC from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  SaschaD | Oct 15, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The book was an okay read. I loved the beginning but after awhile I just thought the book was dragging out. It really was a personal inner struggle and I can honestly say Jo was a real, raw in-depth look at the people that get left behind. I would see this book more as a young adult read. ( )
  jjnaaucoin | Aug 15, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
How Far We Go tells the story of 16 year old Jolene Tucker and her mom in Winnipeg. Jolene talks to her dog (symbolizing loneliness?), but not much to anyone else, and music helps pass the time. Her brother "left" 1 year before with his custom blues guitar. She skips school to hang out alone, sneak into university classes, and stop into pawn shops to look at guitars. A couple weeks of drinking, drugs, and sex. Seems very pro drinking which is in contrast to the first half of book devoted to describing how mom is drunk & messed up every day. Ending seems rushed, but story has clear concise wrap up with everything worked out nice & tidy. ( )
  standhenry | Aug 5, 2018 |
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