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Review: The Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando

The Opposite of Here by Tara AltebrandoThe Opposite of Here
Tara Altebrando
Published on June 5, 2018

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About The Opposite of Here
Natalie’s parents are taking her and her three best friends on a cruise for her seventeenth birthday. A sail-a-bration, they call it. But it’s only been a few short months since Natalie’s boyfriend died in a tragic accident, and she wants to be anywhere but here.
Then she meets a guy on the first night and sparks fly. After a moonlit conversation on a secluded deck of the ship, Natalie pops down to her cabin to get her swimsuit so they can go for a dip. But when she returns, he’s gone. Something he said makes her think he might have . . . jumped? No, he couldn’t have.
But why do her friends think she’s crazy for wanting to make sure he’s okay? Also, why do they seem to be hiding something from her? And how can she find him when she doesn’t even know his name? Most importantly, why is the captain on the intercom announcing the urgent need for a headcount?
With her signature thrilling storytelling, the author of The Leaving and The Possible explores our vulnerability to the power of suggestion-and the lies we tell others and ourselves-in a twisting, Hitchcock-inspired mystery with high stakes and dark secrets.

My Review
I had no idea when I requested this book for review that it would be so timely! My family has decided to view some Hitchcock movies for our weekly family movie nights this summer, so I was super excited when I realized this story incorporates some of that famous Hitchcock suspense/sense of weird. The way things would happen and be… off… really reminded me of a Hitchcock movie.

While Natalie’s grief over her boyfriend’s death feels very real, the story doesn’t idolize him. Natalie discovers some uncomfortable truths about herself, her boyfriend and the relationship, which the story forces her to confront through the mystery surrounding the new boy she meets.

Twists and turns abound in The Opposite of Here. Every time I thought I had things figured out, the story turned on its head. Even things which seem trivial or unrelated often played an important role—which only added to that dense, old-movie vibe I love!

My only complaint is in the attitude of the girls, who all seem to approach the cruise as a great place to have these one-night or one-week romantic encounters because that’s what a good time looks like. This is not a story about celebrating the importance of girl friends or even moving on from grief to a new love. The total confidence and prowess of the girls didn’t resonate with me.

On the whole, I enjoyed the book and recommend it to older suspense lovers as a nice beach or poolside read this summer. See below for more content information.

Recommended for Ages 13 up.

Cultural Elements
Major characters are white.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Infrequent use of strong profanity.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. Natalie’s friends tell her the cruise is a great place to forget about life on the mainland (including relationships) and get physically involved with someone new, just for the duration of the trip. One scene described Natalie kissing a boy and it’s clear they have sex, but it happens between scenes, so there’s no description.

Spiritual Content
At times Natalie imagines her boyfriend who has died watching her in the clouds, commenting on her choices.

Violent Content
Natalie worries that someone fell overboard. A brief description of a girl who drowned in a pool and other suspicious deaths. A boy falls off a balcony to land on a lower floor.

Drug Content
The girls take advantage of the fact that one of them is over 18 and can order alcohol. They drink beers together.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.