The Opposite of Here was a different book than I was expecting. That's not to say it was a bad book- just different. I thought this was going to be a YA murder mystery from the synopsis, and I guess it was- briefly- but it was also more. Natalie is on a cruise with her parents and three best friends- Charlotte, Nora and Lexi- and the vacation is intended to celebrate Natalie's birthday, as well as hopefully take her mind off the death of her boyfriend. Natalie is there because she has to be, she's not really excited about all the hoopla, but things start to get interesting when she meets a guy and they hit it off. The only problem is, after their initial meeting he disappears, and there are fears someone- maybe him- went overboard when the captain orders a head count.
Rumors swirl of course, and Natalie is terrified he went over, based on some cryptic things he said, but then it appears there may be more going on. Ray, the missing guy, may have had secrets in his past that explain some of his actions, but Natalie has trouble piecing it together even as it becomes increasingly doubtful that he, in fact, went overboard. Is he still on the ship? Did someone go overboard? And, to make matters worse, what's going on with her friend Nora, who seems to have had more than a passing interest in her now dead boyfriend Paul?
It's hard to say much more without spoiling the plot, and to be honest I was not sold on some of the things that took place. My suspension of disbelief failed me at points, not because the events are way out there necessarily (although yeah- maybe) but just because I didn't see it happening that way. Ray is like a walking trope- the hot guy who's witty, aloof, and dashing, and he and Nat have an instant connection. But he was annoying to me because he never felt like a real person. He felt like a walking plot point. Her friends were better, for the most part- I especially liked Lexi- and the Nora subplot was interesting.
There are some surprises I didn't see coming, and I also felt the author captured the feel of the cruise ship pretty well, but some of the actual plot twists made me roll my eyes. The whole point of the mystery, the big reveal, was again not something I could really buy into. It just didn't feel plausible to me, and that was hard to overlook. I liked Natalie, and this book touches on sexual assault as well, so trigger warning for that. I also really liked that her feelings of "true love" weren't quite the be-all and end-all of her young existence, and I thought it was refreshing to see that from a teen standpoint. I mean she had feelings for Paul obviously, and burgeoning feelings for Ray, but she comes to realize that maybe it's NOT "true love", and that there's no rush?
So all in all this was different than what I expected- rather than a murder mystery as such it's more about relationships. It's not really suspenseful at all, and had some eye rolling moments, but I don't want to dismiss it because it also has a lot to offer. And I have to say, there is a twist or revelation at the end that was one of those moments where you put the book down and just think- oy. Did that happen?
Well I love that cover! I sometimes find these YA mysteries to be a bit too far fetched but they can be fun too. Sounds like this one is a bit out there.ReplyDelete
I do too, and if I'm honest the cover had a bit to do with me picking this one! Cruise ship mysteries apparently appeal to me!Delete
I have mixed feelings about this because I had some similar problems with another of the author's books, I just had too much trouble with the suspension of disbelief. So I probably will skip this one too, though I am VERY curious about the thing at the end! Great review!ReplyDelete
Yeah I had some definite issues here. Too bad too, because it's a fine book, just a little... unrealistic??Delete
Interesting. I would have expected more of a YA murder mystery as well. It still sounds pretty good though so I'll probably check it out at some point.ReplyDelete
It's not bad, definitely worth checking out if you're interested!Delete
Hmm. I'm thinking this might not be a good one for me. Thanks for sharing your review, Greg.ReplyDelete
Sure thing Laura!!Delete
It is always strange when a book is something different than you think it is going to be. I would probably have some of the same problems with it that you did.ReplyDelete
Yeah it was a bummer... I still enjoyed it, but yeah just had some suspension of disbelief problems.Delete
I think this might be one to avoid for me Greg. Pity it didn't work out.ReplyDelete
Yeah they can't all !!Delete
This kind of book sounds intriguing but not intriguing enough?ReplyDelete
Right? I liked it, just didn't love it.Delete
I thought it was a murder mystery, too. Huh. I’m on the fence about reading it. The cruise ship setting is hard to pass up, but I don’t like far-fetched plots. I’m so undecided! Great review!ReplyDelete
Aj @ Read All The Things!
Well it kind of is, but not how I was expecting. Not to be vague, but yeah... it was definitely light on that part of story, and more about the secrets all around her... if that makes sens?Delete
The fact that it isn't a murder mystery should work in my favor but all the other things that bothered you probably wouldn't work for me either.ReplyDelete
Karen @ For What It's Worth
Yeah this is a tough one for me because it's a fine book, but...Delete
it can be complicated when you expect something from a novel and that it's not.ReplyDelete
The fact that Ray came across as so cookie cutter is a bit off-putting but even so, I do like the sound of the mystery aspect. However, all the eye rolling at the plot twists and the suspension of disbelief required... nah. Those would kill it for me, I fear. Sorry this one wasn’t really what you were expecting, Greg.ReplyDelete
I like a good twist but when things happen that make me roll my eyes it gets a little ridiculous.ReplyDelete
I liked this a bit more, probably because I find cruise ships really scary for some reason. Not sure why, but I went on one cruise and that was enough!ReplyDelete
Jen Ryland Reviews
A YA murder mystery sounds so cool and the premise seems interesting, so it’s a shame it wasn’t quite as good as you were expecting. I hate when things become so far-fetched though that you just can’t buy into it. I’ve definitely read books like that before!ReplyDelete
Have you read her other book, The Leaving? I was just curious if that one was a better read.ReplyDelete
Hmm, I just got this one out of the library, and now I'm having second thoughts. I hate when a book has a completely different feel than the premise would have you believe! And I love a good twist, but they have to realistic.ReplyDelete
Hmm, I was all excited about the missing overboard mystery and I could go with the relationships part, but the disbelief stuff is a tough one. Still, cruise ship mystery... might have to try it.ReplyDelete
Enjoyed your review, Greg!
I'm glad you mentioned this book was less about suspense and more about relationships. I'm a mood reader, so I would have grabbed this one looking for a mystery, but it sounds like the mystery shouldn't have been this book's selling point. I'm also not a fan of eye-rolling situations, so I'll probably hold off on this one for awhile.ReplyDelete
I'm sorry this one wasn't what you were expecting, but it's good you were able to find some enjoyment.
Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?
Expectations are a tricky thing. This does sound pretty mysterious to me. I'm intrigued about what's going on. But that's too bad about the suspension of disbelief, that's definitely a problem. Great that the character wasn't head-over-heels in true love though. I think we need more books like that.ReplyDelete
When things are just too much, yeah no. I at least want to be a bit believable. I am prone to eye rollingReplyDelete
What a pity is wasn't what you hoped for. I love the book cover but if it focuses that much on relationships I think I'll give it a miss!ReplyDelete
I was kind of expecting the same thing you were, so it's good to know ahead of time it was a bit different. I still want to give this one a try, but will go into it with new expectations.ReplyDelete
It can be hard when you are expecting one thing and then get something else, at lease there was a good twist at the end. Great review!ReplyDelete