Review: When I Am Through with You by Stephanie Kuehn
“This isn’t meant to be a confession. Not in any spiritual sense of the word. Yes, I’m in jail at the moment. I imagine I’ll be here for a long time, considering. But I’m not writing this down for absolution and I’m not seeking forgiveness, not even from myself. Because I’m not sorry for what I did to Rose. I’m just not. Not for any of it.”
Ben Gibson is many things, but he’s not sorry and he’s not a liar. He will tell you exactly about what happened on what started as a simple school camping trip in the mountains. About who lived and who died. About who killed and who had the best of intentions. But he’s going to tell you in his own time. Because after what happened on that mountain, time is the one thing he has plenty of.
4 Out Of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery, Teen--
Ben has had a rough life, dealing with debilitating migraines from a brain injury and taking care of his injured mother, having no aspirations for more in his life. When a friendly teacher takes Ben under his wing and gives him a chance to be in charge of the school outdoors club, Ben jumps at the chance. After months of prepping and planning, Ben and his teacher lead an eclectic group of his classmates on a 3 day hiking adventure. But right from the start something is wrong, and some people may not make it out alive.
I had no real idea what this book was going to be like when I started, but I liked the cover and the synopsis was illusive enough to peak my interest. This was so different from any expectations or any other YA book I have read recently. The story was such a slow build, full of character development for Ben, the main character, letting the reader get a feel for who he is and what he is capable of before the actual plot or action of the story really even started. The book begins with him admitting to killing his girlfriend Rose, but then his narration of the events seem in contradiction with his confession, so I had no idea what to expect and this mystery left me guessing at every turn.
I really liked Ben, regardless of his murder confession, which is a strange thing to say about a character. He does some questionable things while in the story, but really I feel like he was an honest, loyal, dependable guy who hated being in control of his own choices and was just incredibly unlucky. You learn more about him as the book goes, some things that really surprised me about his past and his present really, but still I liked him and I had no idea what was going to happen next.
I feel like this book snuck up on me, full of slow building plot and seemingly inconsequential interactions, until BAM! a crisis occurred so fast if you blink you miss it. There was a lot of introspection here, which I usually don't like, but it worked for Ben and his journal, but also it helped to lull the book after the shocking moments, making the reader feel safe and secure before another surprise.
I am not sure if I am in love with this book but it really made me think and it stuck with me for a long time after reading, so it obviously resonated in me and I look forward to what other stories the author wants to suck me into. After reading other's review of the book I realize that you will either be really interested in the subtle nuances or absolutely hate the story, it was really interesting to see the disparity in view points this book causes.
I received this title in return for my honest review.