book review: When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn

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WHEN I AM THROUGH WITH YOU by Stephanie Kuehn
★★★★★
Penguin, August 1, 2017

What a pleasant surprise. I’ve never read a YA thriller before, which is why I requested this one on a whim. I was curious. But honestly, my expectations hadn’t been very high. More fool me.

When I Am Through with You is told from the point of view of Ben, a high school senior who’s waiting to go on trial for murder. As his story begins to unfold, we first learn about Rose, his girlfriend of two years who he allegedly ends up murdering. We also learn all about the school hiking trip up in the mountains that went wrong, as this compelling story of intrigue, adventure, and betrayal develops.

This is one of the most addicting books I’ve ever read. It had me from the very first page. I cared about these characters, who were at once sympathetic and realistically flawed, and I was intrigued by Ben’s complicated relationship with Rose. I was drawn into the host of fascinating characters – whip-smart Avery; mean and self-loathing Archie; kind-hearted but unfulfilled Mr. Howe, the history teacher who leads their expedition. Each of these characters is multifaceted, and has their own story to tell.

I’d never heard of Stephanie Kuehn before, but I can say with certainty that I will be reading more of her books in the future. I thought her prose was intelligent, compelling, and quick-witted. The pacing in this novel was outstanding – I sat down to start this yesterday and when I blinked hours had gone by. Kuehn brought the scene of this treacherous camping trip to life – I truly felt like I was with this group of students on that mountain. It’s been a while since I’ve read something with such an immersive setting.

I highly recommend this to fans of adult and YA thrillers alike. The only thing that served as a constant reminder that this was YA were the ages of the characters – otherwise, I found this novel surprisingly mature and dark and quite twisted.

I received an advanced copy of this book from Penguin First To Read in exchange for an honest review. Big thank you to Penguin Random House and Stephanie Kuehn.

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