REVIEW: A World Without You by Beth Revis

A World Without YouTitle: A World Without You by Beth Revis
Pages: 384
Published by: Razorbill
Publication date: 19th July 2016
Genre: Contemporary
Format: Hardback
Amazon UK – Book Depository

Synopsis:

What if finding her means losing himself?

Seventeen-year-old Bo has always had delusions that he can travel through time. When he was ten, Bo claimed to have witnessed the Titanic hit an iceberg, and at fifteen, he found himself on a Civil War battlefield, horrified by the bodies surrounding him. So when his worried parents send him to a school for troubled youth, Bo assumes he knows the truth: that he’s actually attending Berkshire Academy, a school for kids who, like Bo, have “superpowers.”

At the Academy, Bo falls in love with Sofia, a quiet girl with a tragic past and the superpower of invisibility. Sofia helps Bop open up in a way he never has before. In turn, Bo provides comfort to Sofia, who lost her mother and two sisters at a very young age.

But even the strength of their love isn’t enough to help Sofia escape her deep depression. After she commits suicide, Bo is convinced that she’s not actually dead. He believes that she’s stuck somewhere in time – that he somehow left her in the past, and that now it’s his job to save her. And as Bo becomes more and more determined to save Sofia, he must decide whether to face his demons head-on or succumb to a psychosis that will let him be with the girl he loves.

My review:

“Here is something I’ve learned: You never know all of a person; you only know them in a specific moment of time.”

First things first, this cover is absolutely gorgeous! I fell in love with it immediately and it fits the book so perfectly! It’s my favourite read this month and I’m dying to read it again. I love it so much and would highly recommend it. It took me so long to finish it because I really didn’t want it to end. It was so beautiful and captivating, I loved Bo and his story.

When I first picked it up, I wasn’t sure if I would like it because to be honest, I haven’t read any books like this before. I haven’t read any books by Beth Revis, either. But as soon as I started it, I couldn’t stop turning page after page. Bo was a fascinating character and at first, I was so confused because I knew that the book was about mental illness but I found myself constantly questioning this and flipping back to the blurb to double check. He was such a convincing character and he managed to convince me that he really was at a school for kids with superpowers! All the kids at school went along with it as well so I was convinced that he really could travel back in time. But as we get further into the book, it becomes clearer that he actually has a mental illness and suffers from delusions. It’s very interesting how we find out about this and how Bo’s mind works regarding it. He’s in a constant battle with himself and struggles throughout to keep a hold on reality. It was absolutely fascinating and a nice change to what I normally read.

I did really enjoy this book, like a lot but what would have made it better is if we didn’t know Bo had a mental illness. It would have been more shocking and powerful if we were made to believe he really could travel back in time but then we gradually find out that he is actually seriously ill and all these memories of time are just delusions he suffers from. I thought that he wasn’t really getting enough help at Berkshire Academy and that he was just being left alone with his delusions. They knew he refused to believe Sofia was dead but they didn’t really do a lot to help him which I thought was a bit unrealistic. Surely he would get immediate help if he was convinced his girlfriend was still alive but suck in the past? It’s kind of dangerous for him to believe that because he could literally do anything to try and bring her back. He’s driven by his love for her and his need to see her. It was so heartbreaking when he said that he couldn’t live in a world without her because he already has been but hasn’t realised it yet. I love Bo and I felt so sorry for him, it broke my heart.

It was really interesting to read about this world he has created in his mind, especially when he talks about the powers the others have. It’s fascinating to see how he matches a power to them based on their personality or illness. For example, Sofia was a really shy character and tries not to be noticed so he gives her the power of invisibility. Gwen is drawn to fire and constantly burns stuff with lighters so he gives her the ability to make and control fire. Also, I love how Bo describes how he can travel back in time and how he sees time as being connected together by all these different coloured strings. It was really interesting seeing into his mind and how much detail he went into when describing what each coloured string meant. Even though it wasn’t real, I could picture it all perfectly and could actually imagine him travelling back in time. It was very nicely pieced together and at times I could tell that it was a really thought out story.

Another character is Bo’s sister, Phoebe, and she plays an important part because she has several chapters in the book. Admittedly, Phoebe doesn’t really bring anything new to the story she just talks about how her brother having a mental illness has affected her and her life. I thought this made the book more realistic and it was a nice touch because we got to see how family members are affected – how it affects their life and their emotions. I have seen some people saying she just whines in her chapters and I think this is a tad unfair because her whole life revolves around her brother and she feels like she is being suffocated by his illness. We saw how frustrating it was for her and I sympathised with her a lot. We also see how his illness affects his parents lives and how at times they shut his illness out like it doesn’t exist. I thought this was realistic because it shows how much they are struggling to come to terms with his illness and believe it is easier to pretend like everything is fine when it clearly is not.

The last few chapters were crazy! I was glued to the book and honestly couldn’t put it down. It was so shocking to read because it showed just how powerful and gripping mental illness can be. The last chapter really stuck with me, it was such an intense chapter and was such a huge step for Bo. I was a little disappointed by the epilogue because I thought it fell a bit flat from the previous chapter but it was giving the reader closure in a way. There are some things that aren’t mentioned which annoyed me but I don’t want to say because spoilers, obviously. I will definitely be reading this again at some point because I just really want to dive back into Bo’s world. I miss him already.

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