Dec 20, 2012

Review: Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

Title: Nobody But Us
Author: Kristin Halbrook
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: 1.29.2013
Pages: 272
Genre: Contemporary
Series: No
Source: eARC from publisher

Rating: A+

Summary (from Goodreads):
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.

It’s always hard starting a book that you know will smash your heart, and that’s exactly what happened when I started reading Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook. It’s one of those books that you just know can’t end well, but it’s written in such a clear, poetic way, that you can’t stop reading for anything.

Will and Zoe are broken people. There’s just no other word for it. Will has been failed by nearly every adult in his life. He’s been bounced from home to home, a product of just how all-too-frequently our society fails older kids in the foster system. He is volatile and unpredictable, but he has this love of Zoe that is overwhelming. The sheer sensitivity of Will astounded me, especially when it came to Zoe.

Zoe, who has been beaten down and abused for most of her life by her only living parent. I desperately wanted Zoe away from her dad—possibly as badly as Will did. The man was a monster, and I cheered when they ran away together … Until I realized Zoe is 15 and Will is 18 and their being together is a crime. But that is just the first in a long series of decisions and obstacles that threatened to undo them.

This book really raises the question: Can you love someone too much? Will and Zoe clung to each other and understood one another in a way few people ever do, but it was to the point of destruction. There were so many points in the journey where things could have gone a little different and ended beautifully, but bad luck and desperation-fueled choices put them on a collision course with reality.

I finished reading Nobody But Us yesterday on the bus coming home from NYC with friends. I still had another 2 hours to kill before we got home, but I couldn’t bring myself to start a new book. This book haunted me much more than I ever imagined. No, I did not get the ending I so desperately wanted, but I think that’s the point. This book made me think and feel long after I stopped reading. I selfishly wanted to hurl this book (well, metaphorically speaking as it was on my Nook and I didn’t feel like going through the financial hassle of replacing that) and pout that I didn’t get my fairy tale ending.

But this isn’t that book.

If you want a happily ever after, then sadly you probably will not enjoy this. However, I think you do yourself a huge disservice by not reading Nobody But Us. Holbrook created this masterpiece of a novel that left me wondering and troubled long after it was over. And really, can you ask for anything more spectacular in a novel?


  1. Oh man Hannah. This book scares me because I know it's just going to rip my heart out and stomp all over it. I'm that girl that loves a happy ending, so as amazing as this story sounds and as much as I love an emotionally intense relationship between two people, I don't think I can bring myself to read it. I fear unhappy endings. I am an unhappy ending coward:) Beautiful review though!

    1. You know, I am the Queen of Happily Ever After. I love my romance and I want everyone to ride off into the sunset. I quickly realized that wouldn't happen when I got about 3 chapters in (prior to that, I was hoping). Oddly enough, when I got done, I wasn't as upset by it as I thought I would be. I can only attribute that to Halbrook's impeccable writing.

  2. This seems like such an intense book, the kind where you really care about the characters and want the best for them but it doesn't happen.

    I get why you got upset and why it stayed with you. But it's the mark of an awesome story.

    Lovely review:)

    1. It is so intense. It blew me away because I just wasn't expecting it.

      Thank you!

  3. When I was growing up there was a boy that was like Will. He was in foster home after foster home and then finally adopted by out neighbors. Unfortunately, it was too late, he never bonded with anyone. I think I will pass on this book because of my memories.

    Thank you for this review.

    1. Ouch. Yeah, I can see where you may want to avoid opening old wounds.

  4. Ackkkk I really do wish it could be a HEA, but I understand that some stories just can't be that way, and giving them that ending would be cheapening the story... and it sounds like this is one of those books. I do want to read this one quite badly, but I will have to be in the right frame of mind to do so.

  5. Thanks for your thoughts. I think I'll be adding this to my to-read list. Sometimes it is good to have a not so happy ending. That is life.

  6. An A+? That's quite high praise. You offer a great, thoughtful review....but it's sounds very deep and serious for me. I usually like those fluffy, HEA books.

  7. I ever feel the way you feel when I couldn’t bring myself to start a new book, I love the book that will sequeeze my heart or make me cry but not with no happy ending story ouch

  8. Great review! This isn't the type of book that I would normally read but I think I may have to give this one a try :D +New GFC Follower!
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

  9. I think I'll have to be in a certain mood to read this one. Thanks for the review.

  10. I'm very much into the paranormal genre, but this book sounds like something I'd really enjoy. Great review, you struck my curiosity.

  11. I've been wanting to read this one even though I know it'll wreck me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm still going to read it.

  12. Wow :) I'm not very into romance, but this book looks great! Nice review indeed :)

  13. I've been wanting to read this one but now i'm a little scared even though i'm going to read it because the blurb struck my curiosity and now your review increase it :)


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