Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

Nobody But Us

Nobody But Us - Kristin Halbrook See more of my reviews sooner on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC given to me by a fantastic friend.This needs to be said immediately: this is not If I Stay meets Bonnie and Clyde. This is Beautiful Disaster meets Bonnie and Clyde. After reading BD shortly before Nobody But Us and being horrified of all the parallels between them, I feel obligated to make sure people know in case they don't want to read about an unhealthy relationship. The idea of romance is there, but Will's red-flag behavior sucks all the romance right out of it.Dual narration can be hard to pull off, but Halbrook does it well enough that mixing up Will and Zoe is next to impossible. Zoe is well-spoken and naive; Will is more jaded and used "ain't", "gotta", and double negatives often. Even then, they both have a sense of naivete about the world that really brings home how young and damaged they are. The novel itself is is riddled with problems, but their voices are so spot-on and readable that turning the pages despite issues with the content is very easy.Now, where people might call the novel is romantic is easy enough to figure out. The idea of leaving behind a troubled past and everything else to start a new life elsewhere with your loved one does sound rather romantic. There's more than one book that ends with the main couple leaving it all behind and it turns out to be very romantic. Why this doesn't work in Nobody But Us is clear: Will and Zoe are in an unhealthy relationship that gets glorified every time someone calls this novel romantic.Will beats up three people in the name of his girlfriend, and two of those beatings happened out of jealousy. Zoe outright tells him he's scaring her and he scares her so badly at one point that she literally gets sick. Vomit everywhere! After one of the fights, he asks Zoe if she was flirting with the guy who grabbed her butt out of nowhere and asks why she let the guy do so. When he apologizes, it's not for blaming her for the sexual harassment; it's for making her genuinely fear he was going to hit her.Two imperfect people together is one thing. Unhealthy relationships are a whole other issue, and this is what Nobody But Us glorifies.This might seem irrelevant, but I've seen many, many crime documentaries and many, many explanations for how these people eventually get caught. Will and Zoe's plans have so many holes in them that it's a miracle they weren't caught sooner. A fake ID isn't enough to get Zoe enrolled in high school, after all. Freaking out when cops come into a diner for a lunch break? Going to a place where one of them has a known history? Zoe calling her best friend from Will's phone? All of these are beyond suspicious and other criminals have pulled these stunts so many times that police look out for that kind of behavior. Really, how do they get away with it for as long as they do?The ending is all sorts of uncomfortable thanks to how Zoe continues to view Will (aka, he's perfect for her) and just furthers the romanticization of an unhealthy relationship. Halbrook's got definite talent and that's why I plan to stick around for her second novel (most likely unrelated to this one), but it almost seems like she wrote the one story requires far more awareness and skill than she has.