Author: Emily Hainsworth
Release Date: October 2, 2012 (hardcover)
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Overall: 4 Stars
Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the meds wore off. And now, he'd give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv's deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn't Viv.
The apparition's name is Nina, and she's not a ghost. She's a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can't believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn't the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he's forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all.
Although the concept of parallel worlds is very much an element of science fiction, Through to You has a very contemporary genre feel. Emily Hainsworth's Through to You is a novel about love, loss, grief... and the choices we make if we could be given a second chance.
Camden has never been the same ever since his girlfriend, Viv, died in a car accident several months ago. She was always by his side after an injury ended his dreams of playing football as a career, but now he feels empty and lifeless without her. And worse still, he can't shake the guilt and pain that the lethal accident was all his fault. When he stumbles into a parallel world, he meets a very much alive Viv, but she's not quite the same person he loved and lost.
Nina is a very sweet girl, and I felt so bad for her when Camden tried to brush her aside in favour of seeing Viv. She may not voice it aloud, but you can tell in her actions just how much it affected her to see Camden even though he had idea who she even was. Camden has always maintained a perfect image of Viv in his memory, but seeing a different version of Viv makes him realize she had her faults too. The window between the parallel worlds is closing, and time is running out for Camden to make a choice: to be with Viv again or finally let her go.
I thought it was refreshing to read a male perspective about losing a loved one. Camden is such a great guy under the surface, but he's also broken and needs time to heal. I was incredibly worried how seeing Viv again would hurt him emotionally. I was also curious about the thoughts running though Nina's mind, but I think if the novel had been told from her point of view, Through to You wouldn't have been the same reading experience.
The ending is rather bittersweet, but it also made perfect sense to me. I really don't think I can imagine it concluding any other way. Emily Hainsworth's Through to You is a remarkable debut I won't soon forget. I'm looking forward to reading Hainsworth's next YA novel!
Thanks so much to HarperCollins Canada for providing this review copy! You can learn more about Emily Hainsworth's Through to You on HarperCollins Canada's website, and if you're not already doing so, don't forget to follow HCC Frenzy on Twitter and "like" their Facebook page!