Hardcover, 272 pages
Expected publication: October 2nd 2012 by Balzer + Bray
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.
This novel surprised me by its depth. It was more substantial than I had expected it to be and reading it was a pleasure. While the premise is rather bleak with a bereaved Camden trying to search a way out of his all encompassing grief and finding a second chance, the execution of the novel saves it from being depressing and too emotional. I was not sure that I would like the male narrator as I usually have trouble with them but I needn’t have worried as Camden’s voice is readable and is not…how should I say it, there is no obvious effort to make him sound like a guy. What I mean by this is that usually when female writers write male characters, they add stuff like “man” and “dude” to their dialogue to make them sound manlier. Okay fine, not usually but enough times that I have to come to expect it. And there usually is a stilted awkwardness about the character which indicates that the author is not quite comfortable writing in a male voice.
However, there is none of that in Through to You. Camden is simply a teenager trying to deal with the loss of the most important person in his life. I found his sessions with his shrink to be engaging and revealing of his character. He is, in many ways, a typical teenager dealing with emotion in the only way he knows: by shutting down and retreating into himself. There is a lots of angst as there are parental issues but it is not needlessly melodramatic. Instead, it serves to deepen the reader’s understanding of Camden as a person.
Another thing I liked about this novel was how the character coming across the barrier separating the alternate worlds was not Camden’s dead girlfriend but someone else entirely. If you think about it, having the girlfriend show up would give the initial creepy factor but it would be too easy and too predictable. By switching things up, Hainsworth very cleverly portrays new facets of the story and develops Camden’s character in different ways.
The novel tackles the question of second chances; it asks whether you really know the people the way you think you do and it makes you think about the things (and people) you may be missing out or not seeing just because you are too occupied with one person or thing. It is a gripping story about coming to terms with loss, both of your own self and of other people. There are many more ways to lose people than just through death.
Camden was an interesting character as was Viv. The supporting cast of characters were also were developed. I found the pace to be spot on and the narrative to flow smoothly. I liked this one, you guys, and I think you will appreciate its fresh and innovative style too.