Shiirleyy's Bookshelf has migrated to Dear Shirley ! I will continue to post book reviews but there will also be a lot of personal and travel-related posts :)

Review: Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

18 Jan 2013

Nobody But Us
by Kristin Halbrook
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 29th, 2013
Format: Paperback, 272 pages

Bonnie and Clyde meets IF I STAY in this addictively heart-wrenching story of two desperate teenagers on the run from their pasts. 
 They’re young. They’re in love. They’re on the run. 

 Zoe wants to save Will as much as Will wants to save Zoe. When Will turns eighteen, they decide to run away together. But they never expected their escape to be so fraught with danger.... 

 When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can’t run fast enough. 

 Nobody But Us, told in alternating perspectives from Will and Zoe, is an unflinching novel, in turns heartbreaking and hopeful, about survival, choices, and love...and how having love doesn’t always mean that you get a happy ending. Described as “beautiful, heartbreaking, and exhilarating” by Kody Keplinger, author of The DUFF, Nobody But Us will prove irresistible to fans of Nina Lacour, Jenny Han, and Sara Zarr.

Nobody But Us, from start to finish, was unfortunately a huge disappointment. Based on the blurbs and praises, I expected a debut that could rival the brilliance of Gayle Forman’s ‘If I Stay’, but what I received was possibly one of the most disappointing and tedious YA contemporaries I’ve had the misfortune to read.

The characters, while each possessing their own backstory and inner sufferings still lacked depth for me to relate to or admire. Zoe, a 15 year old who is constantly physically abused by her drunk father is so, so weak. Having witnessed her mother be the victim of her father’s daily physically violence, then die at the hands of her father, and now become the sole receive of her father’s violence, I suppose it isn’t strange that she’s always felt submissive and powerless. However, I did expect some inner strength of her; some dignity or resistance to exist within her. I didn’t expect her to simply submit to her father’s abuse and just…let it go all the time. It’s like she’s accepted that being punched, shoved, tortured will always be her life and she doesn’t plan to do anything about it.  She just wasn’t a strong enough heroine for my to admire, and even worse, one that didn’t show character growth. (Although I’ll admit that towards the end, she did come to her senses, but by then I didn’t care about her anymore.)

Then there’s 18 year old Will, abandoned at a young age and has jumped from one foster family to another throughout his life. I suppose he should be congratulated for wanting to do the right thing; wanting to protect the girl he loves. But at the end of the day, his actions felt immature and lacked common sense. It was difficult for me to really like Will, because half the time, I was expecting him to hit Zoe or something. I was constantly on edge, and no matter how many times he promised Zoe he would never hurt her,  I just couldn’t shake the feeling that he’ll explode and unleash all his bottled up anger on her. He’s violent and I’m sorry to say, a little unstable. Plus, I'm not sure if it's just me, but their relationship screamed 'UNHEALTHY' based on their actions, thoughts and declarations of love every 2 seconds (which was driving me insane! I couldn't tolerate it one second longer!)

There’s also an it’s-me-not-you type of problem – the slang/dialect. I’m usually fine with slang/dialect in novels, but in this case I couldn’t, for the life of me, imagine Will speaking like that. It sort of…ruined the overall story for me.

As for the ending, well…had this been a poignant, touching read, I would have bawled my eyes out towards the end. But in this case? I felt nothing. I simply ceased to care about anything else that happened in the story. I was like ‘right, so that’s it.’ *shrugs*

I suppose the only redeeming quality about this book is that it was short (only 200+ pages on my copy from Edelweiss). I planned to abandon it after 10% but then decided to finish it. A fast reader can probably finish the entire book within an hour. Overall, I believe Nobody But Us had potential – lots of potential in fact. It just failed to deliver. Oh, and I forgot to mention, I couldn't tolerate another second of Zoe’s tendency to blush at every.single.freaking.thing.Will.says.or.does. Give me a break!
A massive thank you to HarperTeen for providing an ARC of Nobody of Us for review!


  1. Oh, Shirley, UGH.

    'Dissapointing' doesn't sound like it comes even CLOSE to cutting it :(
    So sorry it was such a fail for you. And with such a nice cover, too. *sigh* you know what they say about covers, I guess ;D

  2. I read 50 pages of this and couldn't go on. Everything you say you didn't like was there in those first 50 pages and I was completely bored. glad I ain't the only one.

  3. I read 50 pages of this and couldn't go on. Everything you say you didn't like was there in those first 50 pages and I was completely bored. glad I ain't the only one.

  4. Oh no, Shirley! I was looking forward to reading this book but now . . . it sounds like a book I should not read. Such a shame too. But a great and honest review! I think I'm going to pass on this one.

  5. Noooooo! I was looking forward to this and have even ordered myself a copy so to hear how much you didn't like it is so off putting to say the least. URGH... Amazing review for a not-so-amazing-sounding book!

  6. I'm going to mirror Becca and say: "Noooooooooooo!" This was one of my most anticipated contemporaries for 2013, so to hear it was an epic flop for you is definitely disapppointing :( I do applaud you on finishing it, though. I stop reading books if I'm not interested by the 50 page mark. Fab review, Shirley!

  7. I'm not brilliant with slang in general (unless it's British slang), but I have a feeling I will struggle here too. Will doesn't sound like my sort of character either. So sorry this didn't work for you, Shirley! I know a lot of people have felt similarly...

  8. Hmmmm. I was waffling on this one, not sure I wanted to pick it up, but I think I'm going to pass for sure now. Slang and dialects are usually problematic for me as well, especially when it doesn't seem to fit the character using it. Too bad this one was just not for you, I hope the next book you try blows you away!

  9. I'm so glad I didn't request this! I was a little hesitant with the reference to Bonnie and Clyde. Not a fan of tragic endings, and it sounds like this had one. The whole thing sounds completely unappealing to me, Shirley. Sorry you had to suffer through, but you saved me some grief. Wonderful review. :)

  10. I really, really wanted this book to be good! But seems it's disappointing for almost everyone who reads it :(

  11. This is my next to read, what a shame you didn't like it. And it's not only you, it seems like the whole book blogging community were disappointed by this one. But still, this was an amazing review, Shirley! : )

  12. I'm reading your review and nodding at most of the points you made. I was SO looking forward to this and it crushed me when it didn't live up to my standards :( Zoe and Will's relationship annoyed me no end... it didn't come across as love and Will was always so angry... The ending was pretty devastating but like you, I'd stopped caring for the characters and I was just glad everything was over... I rated this book 2 stars though as it was strangely addictive XD

    Thank you for the fabulous, honest review, Shirley <3 Had I not already read this book, I would not have picked it up...

  13. oh my God, i agree soo much!! Their constant "I love you" pissed the hell out of me!! It felt too mushy for me, and I can't believe i finished it either.. bleh. Thanks for your great, and honest review!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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