Anywhere But Here by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

Anywhere But Here - Tanya Lloyd Kyi
Families don’t always turn out like you plan. Sometimes they fall apart when you’re not the least bit ready.

Cole is having a rough time. If losing your mother to cancer and being left with a dad that no longer even resembles the man Cole used to know can be called a "rough time", that is. But that's Cole's situation, and being stuck in a small town where everyone seems to get stuck one way or another is less than he dreams of. Filled with his own grief and anger he is determined to go to film school once high school is over. Then again, dealing with old friends, an ex-girlfriend, his dad new stripper friend is not the simplest thing to do.

I must say that I had no idea what this book was about. Why I read it? Well. Did you see the cover? Anyway, not know what this was about I had low expectations. Cole's journey as he works through his grief is, well not a nice story, but nicely done. With everyone aware of his situation they offer him a free-pass many times and Cole is not the one to refuse the pass, making him a somewhat unlikeable character at time. His mother might have died and his life might be turned upside down, but that does not legitimate all kind of behavior. At the same time though, Cole has his moments of insight and, given everything, he's a strong character the reader can connect to.

Impending death doesn’t open the Hoover Dam of communication skills. My thoughts didn’t come gushing out like cold, fresh drinking water. They still stuck at the back of my throat like old sludge.

The best part is that the story stays realistic, taking the reader through the difficult journey through grief and the struggles that comes with it. But there are also several events that are clichés, and one particular plot twist is almost apparent from the first chapter whit a run in with Cole's ex-girlfriend. They might be clichéd, but they are authentic. However, a cliché is a cliché, there's no way around that. The writing doesn't always help either, with it's simplistic style. It suits the overall mood, which is depressing, but it gets old and, at some points, boring. It also sometimes makes scenes short and a limited insight to Cole's thoughts and process. I'll say though that overall it was decent writing considering the story. Cole's difficulties are rough to read about, almost like a trainwreck, and I kept on reading, but the story lacked that special thing that would make it, well, special. Overall, though, a good read!