The other day I was sitting in a coffee shop. Normally, I do more than just sit. I write. I read. I close my eyes and imagine that I have perfect children. But the other day…I was just sitting. While I sat I took in the people around me. A woman in the corner, rushing and stumbling around like one misused second could send her entire day careening off of a cliff. On the other side of the shop, a man, newspaper in hand, eyes closed. Like he would rather take in the sounds of the day than read about life’s latest crimes against humanity. But none of these held my interest. They were just everyday people, doing everyday things. Then a teenage girl walked in. Dressed head to toe in all black I thought I was witnessing the reincarnation of myself, 15 years earlier, stopping by to order my daily allowance of caffeine and unjustifiable angst. But then something happened. I looked closer. And what I saw wasn’t angst, it was sadness. This girl was radiating pain. And the more I watched her the heavier I felt. I knew nothing about this girl, her name, her age, what was making her so miserable, but as a mother I felt this overwhelming urge to hug her. Instead of assaulting her with unwanted physical affection (lord only knows how she would have reacted to some crazy lady swooping in on her in a sneak attack) I did the only other thing I could think of. I wrote this quote down (thank the heavens there were a million people in line because I think it’s the longest quote on the planet) and slipped it under her cup before she had a chance to retrieve it from the barista.
“Life is painful and messed up. It gets complicated at the worst of times, and sometimes you have no idea where to go or what to do. Lots of times people just let themselves get lost, dropping into a wide open, huge abyss. But that’s why we have to keep trying. We have to push through all that hurts us, work past all our memories that are haunting us. Sometimes the things that hurt us are the things that make us strongest. A life without experience, in my opinion, is no life at all. And that’s why I tell everyone that, even when it hurts, never stop yourself from living.” – Alysha Speer
Now, I wish I could tell you that she took one look at that paper, read it and smiled. I wish I could confirm that I made a difference in her life (or at the very least her perception.) But the truth is, she took that piece of paper, shoved it in her pocket and left the shop. I haven’t seen her since, but I HAVE thought about that quote again. The other day when I read J. Meyers New Adult novel “Anywhere” and realized that anything, and everything that I could ever say would NEVER (despite my attempt) encompass the complexity of this book quite like this quote could. So I want you to read IT again…and THEN read my inconsequential take on what I believe to be one of the most genuine New Adult novels on the market to date.
I’m not gonna lie, I LOVE N/A. There is just something about it that gets my blood pumping. But like most love-worthy things (ie: chocolate, coffee, life-size fruit punch gummy bears) there can indeed be too much of a good thing. I’m not sure if you have noticed, but N/A has a bit of a theme (despite a few authors (worthy) attempts to stick it to the genre) that theme is pain and suffering. Now, I’m not talking about having a crappy Monday, or having to learn the fine art of crutch walking. I’m talking soul dampening rape, abuse, kidnapping type pain. The truth is…grit makes for fantastic literature. Unfortunately, after a while, the stories start to sound the same. The protagonists embody the same characteristics, and (intentional or not) dialogue feels familiar. Up until this point (the point in which I read “Anywhere”) I followed a strict regimen when it came to READING N/A for this very reason. Never read them back to back, and ALWAYS read them expecting to be inundated with graphic sexual exploitation. This was not the case with this novel.
“Anywhere” came from a different place. It wasn’t necessarily about love, loss and the plethora of emotions in between. (Though those are most definitely an important part of the book. A very very important part of the book.) It was instead about Skye’s need to find herself. Be herself. Love herself. She didn’t have a tortured background. She doesn’t live in fear of an ex. She (short and sweet) is just a girl trying to find her way in the world while at the same time dealing with an overbearing mother. She could be me. She could be you. She could be the girl down the street.
Her journey is a sweet one. (Think RomCom.) We get to explore the world WITH her, while at the same time watch her fall in love. We get to gasp in amazement with her. Sign in defeat. Cry when we think no one else is looking. And then…we get to read the perfect ending.
There IS loss, perfect worlds don’t exists (even in books) but the story doesn’t dwell on it, it is uplifted by it. And…for those of you that follow J. Meyers blog you will understand when I say that a large majority of this book feels like a love letter to her brother. Rightfully so, and beautifully accomplished if I do say so myself.
If you have ever read a J. Meyers novel you know she pays great attention to detail. The same could be said for this novel. There was absolutely no stone left unturned. And while some of you may be turned off by a page or two of intricate detail, I think it’s what makes her writing so entrancing. She sets the scene and before you know it, you are lost inside of it.
This is an incredibly beautiful book. It’s heartfelt, touching, and most importantly…something different. Which is an impressive feat in a genre smothered in sameness.
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Never stop yourself from living.