Out of Reach by Carrie Arcos // A Defining Story With Some Issues

Thursday, 29 October 2015
Out of Reach, by Carrie Arcos
Publication: October 16, 2012, by Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
Rating:  ½

How do you find someone who doesn’t want to be found? A girl searches for her missing addict brother while confronting her own secrets in this darkly lyrical novel.
Rachel has always idolized her older brother Micah. He struggles with addiction, but she tells herself that he’s in control. And she almost believes it. Until the night that Micah doesn’t come home.
Rachel’s terrified—and she can’t help but feel responsible. She should have listened when Micah tried to confide in her. And she only feels more guilt when she receives an anonymous note telling her that Micah is nearby and in danger.
With nothing more to go on than hope and a slim lead, Rachel and Micah’s best friend, Tyler, begin the search. Along the way, Rachel will be forced to confront her own dark secrets, her growing attraction to Tyler…and the possibility that Micah may never come home.

 My Thoughts:

This book was actually a 'National Book Award' finalist, and I really do believe that it deserves that specific award. With Carrie Arcos' short but defining tale, Out of Reach gave me an understanding of what it's like to be in the place of someone, a character, with no hope or faith left inside of her when everything slowly begins to fall apart from her angle. It's not everyday when we get to see an experience like this, even in literature, but I can tell you that it's so magical to read about a story like this when we've never seen anything like it beforehand. That's the utter power of writing. 

Arcos immediately throws readers into a pile of something special—a risky story. Writing something that may be upsetting to some readers or may be totally difficult to write because it takes time for a story like this to build up and strengthen. It's a story of belonging, of friendship and finding the right person to make you feel welcomed and loved. By looking at its simple cover, the mood reflects a darker, deeper story that might sadden readers, where it kind of did, in a way. 

"Just like a tapeworm, sometimes a lie has to be physically removed. The problem is, most of us still carry the lie around inside a jar like a souvenir." (14)
You see that quote above? It speaks to me. Carrie Arcos' writing contained so many relatable phrases like that throughout this whole novel, and I could literally feel the pain that the characters were giving off, especially Rachel's. Her story may not be the most unique and divergent in the YA lit world, but it was nice to read about a good sister-brother relationship like she and her brother, Micah, once had. It's not everyday when you read about a sister wiling to do anything to save the person she looks up to the most in her life when he's gone.

No, this isn't about death. It's more of a mystery, kind of like John Green's Paper Towns, where Micah has left the clues for Rachel, begging for her to save him in ways that us ordinary people cannot even fully comprehend. That's a big part of the novel, with a hint or two of romance between Rachel and Tyler, because hey—she has to be happy, too. It would've been so miserable if the story just focused on her finding her drug-abused brother somewhere living on the streets. *cries*

This was written in a super high pace and something was missing. Are stories not supposed to be written with slow-moving paces and beautiful writing when they are about these kinds of subjects? Something was missing here. Yeah, I finished the book in a matter of hours and ended up pleased, but I needed a little more from this whole situation to give it a great rating. The writing is quick, meaningful, but I bet that the romance and all of the other themes used kind of jumbled up together to give readers something less than ordinary. (And not in a good way, either.)

Yes, there could have been improvements. Yes, I would have liked a better love interest. Yes, there were issues! But, guess what? I really do not care because I enjoyed reading my first Carrie Arcos book so much. There is a lot in this story that many teens can relate to, and was a total interesting journey that made my heart jump at some moments of fear and/or happiness. I would definitely, definitely recommend this to you if you are a contemporary reader, as I am myself. A perfect read to have with a hot coffee by your side during the autumn season!

What is your favourite kind of contemporary story? 

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