Rated Reads

Nobody But Us

by Kristin Halbrook

Rated: High

Two teens who’ve been dealt bad hands in life fall in love. All they have is each other, or so they think. Will was abandoned by his mom at age 2, and he’s been in different homes all his life. Zoe’s lived alone with her abusive father since her mom died when she was little. When Will turns 18, he takes Zoe and escapes their small town in North Dakota, promising her a better life. Of course, they’re at turns nervous and exhilarated, excited about making their own way together in Las Vegas. And, as much of life as they’ve seen, they’re still naive.

Problem is, Zoe’s 15 and underage, and Will’s stolen some money and assaulted Zoe’s drunk dad on their way out of town, so he can’t stop looking in the rearview mirror or thinking the worst of anyone they meet as they stop for gas or food. But things seem to be OK as they get further and further away from home and closer to their new life. Unfortunately, one stop at a convenience store goes horribly wrong, and the possibility of a happy new life is shot to pieces.

Kristin Halbrook has certainly accurately captured the points of view of teenagers, whose worldviews are pretty narrow and self-centered. Unfortunately, the premise is pretty clichéd, and the book never rises above its stock origins. I couldn’t just immerse myself in the story because of that, and I never felt complete empathy for the characters because they didn’t seem unique or fully themselves. I’m hoping Halbrook comes up with more original ideas with her future books, because she does have promise.

Rated: High, for language. There are 15 to 20 uses of strong language, as well as frequent moderate and milder language. There is some violence, though not terribly detailed, and some sexual activity.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • Nobody But Us
  • by Kristin Halbrook
  • Rated: High
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: