Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Book Review: When I Am Through with You, by Stephanie Kuehn

When I Am Through with You by Stephanie Kuehn book cover and review
While a bit far-fetched, When I Am Through with You is exciting and compelling.

A teenager, Ben, tells the story from his prison cell and it is apparent very early that he has killed his girlfriend, Rose. While this may seem like a confessional, it is really a survival story. Ben is excited for his first trip away from home, where he has been taking care of his alcoholic mother for years.  He's going to lead a group of teens on a hike up a mountain. Everything turns sideways very quickly, and soon the teens are fighting for their lives.

These teens could be considered misfits. Ben certainly has a sordid past and suffers from debilitating migraines, The reason for this is clearly some trauma in his past, but we don't find out the details until later in the story.  The other characters are distinct individuals with their own hang-ups that all adds to the drama. The plot hinges on some unlikely coincidences and a plethora of bad decisions made by these teens.  The lone adult along for supervision gives Ben too much independence, given his inexperience. But without this, there would be no story.

The pace is riveting, and although the reader can easily see the dire consequences coming, it still kept me turning pages. And the consequences are indeed drastic, as several characters meet with violent ends. The text is rife with f-bombs and many sexual situations, so I would keep it for mature teens only.

Even though we know from the beginning that Ben is incarcerated, the ending felt unfinished and unsatisfying. I just wanted more. I didn't feel like Ben should be in prison, and I want to know how this all turns out.

Teens who can handle some brutal violence and a less-than-happy resolution will enjoy this compelling struggle

Published by Dutton BFYR, August 1, 2017
ARC obtained from Libraries Unlimited
290 pages

Rating: 3/5

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  1. I really liked the author's debut novel so I'm considering checking this one out for myself from my public library. I don't think I would have an audience for this one at my school especially with the unsatisfied ending.

  2. This book sounds like it has such potential, but doesn't quite live up to itself.

  3. This one sounds super intriguing, even if it's not totally satisfying.


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