Review: As Far as You’ll Take Me by Phil Stamper

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Now that Marty is almost 18, he’s about to decide what he wants for his future, and finally moving to London is it. He arrives with nothing but his oboe and some savings from his summer job, but Marty is excited to start his new life–where he’s no longer the closeted, shy kid who slips under the radar and is free to explore his sexuality without his parents’ disapproval.
To his friends back in America, Marty’s life looks like a perfect fantasy: in the span of a few weeks, he’s made new friends, he’s getting closer with his first ever boyfriend, and he’s even traveling around Europe. But Marty knows he can’t keep up the facade. He hasn’t spoken to his parents since he arrived, he’s tearing through his meager savings, and his homesickness and anxiety are getting worse and worse. Will Marty be able to finally find a place that feels like home? 

I’ve had this one sat on my shelf for a while now and I finally decided to pick it up as a summer contemporary. And although this one was quite easy to read and definitely has some summery vibes, it was quite a lot heavier than I expected too. This book delves into themes of abuse, homophobia and eating disorders, which I didn’t expect.

However, the writing was easy to fall into and perfect for a holiday read, as I got sucked into the story quickly and wanted to keep reading on. I also really enjoyed the UK setting between London and Cardiff.

Love is something entirely different. It’s realizing the storm’s been raging so long you forget you’re drenched,

I just can’t help but feel like this book was kind of just okay. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. It had some really great elements, but I almost wanted more, and I just don’t know if Stamper managed to 100% deliver what he wanted to in what turned out to be quite a short book.

I did like the friendship group and they felt quite found-family esque, which was great. I didn’t enjoy the romance or love interest, however, and the plot didn’t lead in the exact direction that I wanted it to by the end.

until the sun kisses your cheek, dries your tears, and shows you where your real home is.

Overall, I did like this book, but it felt a bit tropey and cliche to be honest. It does take a lot for a YA contemporary to blow my mind, but this one wasn’t it.

3 out of 5 stars


May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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