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Away We Go

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Westing is not your typical school. For starters, you have to have one very important quality in order to be admitted—you have to be dying. Every student at Westing has been diagnosed with PPV, or the Peter Pan Virus. No one is expected to live to graduation.

What do you do when you go to a school where no one has a future? Noah Falls, his girlfriend Alice, and his best friend Marty spend their time drinking, making out, and playing video games on awaywego.com. But when an older boy named Zach (who Noah may or may not be in love with) invites Noah and Marty to join his secret Polo Club, the lives of both boys change as they struggle to find meaning in their shortened existence.

With an innovative format that includes interstitial documents, such as flyers, postcards, and handwritten notes, Away We Go is a funny, honest look at first love and tragic heartbreak.

270 pages, Hardcover

First published April 5, 2016

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About the author

Emil Ostrovski

4 books90 followers
The Paradox of Vertical Flight is my debut novel. It will be released in English in 2013, and in Spanish and German at a later date.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 114 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,689 reviews1,267 followers
March 9, 2016
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“I’ve often thought about what Peter Pan would look like if he were a Polo-playing Westing student brushing his teeth in one of our bathrooms, and I have to say, you’re exactly like I pictured him, right down to both your chest hairs.”

This was a very strange story, and I had real problems trying to work out what was actually going on. The story jumped back and forth through time, with the only constant being some ‘cataclysmic, fiery, kind of clichéd end of all things (or not)’ – death? and I just had absolutely no clue what was happening at all.

I have to say that I also stupidly thought that this was a contemporary story, when it can’t possibly be because there is no such thing as ‘peter pan virus’, and nobody would stand for their kids being sent away to die in a place they weren’t even allowed to visit!

And romance wise, I really wasn’t expecting the boy on boy sex scene. Not something I think I’ve ever come across in a YA book, and a bit shocking to be honest. Not that I have any problem with gay sex, I just wasn’t expecting it in a YA book.

The ending to this was also surprising in that I was waiting for them all to die, and the book actually ended before that happened.

4 out of 10
Profile Image for Online Eccentric Librarian.
2,861 reviews5 followers
January 11, 2016
More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/

Away We Go is a meditative piece exploring belonging, society, love, friendship, and the pursuit of a meaningful life. At the same time, there are some interesting statements (almost satirical) about the currently popular YA dystopian genre (of which, they may or may not be a part). Those looking for action,adventure, or a straightforward story will likely be left scratching their heads by the end. But this infinitely quotable novel is smartly written and populated with real, grounded, and very ambivalent characters.

Story: As the US reels under an epidemic that is killing off children, teen Noah finds himself sequestered in an elite school in the Vermont wilderness. For he, along with his schoolmates, have the contagious "Peter Pan" virus - and will die before they complete puberty. Left disaffected by the abandonment of his family, Noah drifts in and out of relationships. He cares for his girlfriend but knows he is in love with a classmate - who is in love with a different girl. At the same time, conspiracies abound - are the kids who 'go away' at the end truly dying or is there some nefarious plot underneath the transfers?

This story does not unfold organically. Rather, it bounces around between different times at the school. I had no problem following the story, however, since the writing is smooth, uncomplicated, and otherwise easy-to-follow. As well, the story is not rooted in action and is more a contemplative piece; observations are rather timeless and most of what happens in the first 3/4 does not need to unspool chronologically.

Most of the story is about Noah's conflicted feelings - about his parents, his affections for Zach, his relationship with Alice, and friendship with Marty. Within these three characters (romantic love, platonic love, and good friend) author Ostrovski mines a treasure of ambivalence; loving Zach while being with Alice, friending Marty knowing he loves Alice, Alice staying with Noah while knowing of Noah's love for Zach...it leads to a lot of very complicated feelings on all sides.

There is only one POV here - Noah's. Although there is the mystery of where the kids go when the virus begins to affect their motor skills, the story is pretty much bookended by Noah learning that a comet my hit the Earth and then ending on the day it is supposed to happen. Chapters count down the days until the 'apocalypse' with glee. But it's all curtain dressing to the pathos.

The tone is snarky, despairing, and insightful. The dialogue is especially brisk and very well written. The story moves quickly and this is easily a 3 hour read. Although not a book where things blow up or kids 'fight the dystopian power', it is a very poignant indictment on life. If I have one complaint, it's that the book tries to be more clever than it is and might be a bit overwritten in places. It's more of an antidote to the rash of poorly written YA books littering shelves currently. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.
April 12, 2016
This book...this book...

Oh this review...

It is going to be hard to write this one. I know it is. I finished reading this book at least a month ago. And ever since then, I have been thinking about how I need to write this review and knowing when this review needs to go up on my blog.

The problem though is, I don't really know how to explain this book and my thoughts about it. The reason being is that my feelings on this one are pretty mixed.

On one hand, there were parts of it that blew my mind, but there were equal amount of parts (or so it felt) that I was like..."what?"

Away We Go takes place in a world where a lot of the children get sick with what is known as the Peter Pan Virus (PPV). The problem with PPV is that usually before any given individual turns 18, the virus kills them.

The governments answer to this virus is to stick all the sick kids into schools/institutions, essentially a quarantine. Adults can't get sick, so they are around, but not really. The sick kids are very limited in their contact world. They have an internet place that they can go, but it is only this one site that they can go to. The information on the site, the books, the movies, the music, the games, all of it are put there by the government. They can't chat with others from the "outside" world. Even the news they are allowed access to is filtered.

So of course, this leads all of those kids in these institutions wondering if what they have been told is real causing them to come up with wild conspiracy theories and guesses.

Great premise for a book if you ask me. And at times, I really found myself pulled in and very intrigued with what was going on. There were things written inside Away We Go that totally blew my mind and made me take a moment to go "woah!" before moving on.

Then there were other times where I found myself willing to put the book down. And there were times where I found myself wondering "what did I just read..."

I also found myself having a hard time reading some of what the characters were saying. There were a couple of characters, thankfully side ones that didn't say very much, that had a tendency to use specific words over and over in their speech. For example, one of the very first characters you meet in this story has a tendency to say "son" after almost everything he says. IT DROVE ME NUTS. I know it was just a side character, and of that I am very thankful, but there were other ways besides doing that to create a personality in the character.

I would also like to note, for those who watch out for these kind of things in books for themselves, or for others, there is swearing and sex. This book is marketed young adult, but I would suggest it for the more mature portion of this group.

It was definitely an interesting reading experience. I am glad I read it though. The mind blowing moments within made it worth it.

This review is based on an eARC provided by the publisher through Irish Banana Blog Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Find more of my reviews here:
Profile Image for Tee loves Kyle Jacobson.
2,471 reviews169 followers
December 8, 2015
First I have to start out by saying I liked this book but I didn't like some parts to it. I have read a lot of books this year but this one stands out in so many ways both good and bad. The setting is in a Boarding School for kids. What these kids are allowed to do and how they are allowed to act was a little strange for me when I was reading. The one thing that stood out for me was one of the main characters had some issues and he dealt with them as being simple.

In this story we meet best friends Noah, Alice, and Marty. They are attending this exclusive Boarding School for kids who have a virus. They live their lives day to day and have no ambitions to do anything. Their day consists of mundane things like video games and hanging with friends. Then things change one night for them when an older boy Zach invites them to be a part of his secret club.

Once they join this club things change and they have to decide what they are willing to do and willing to believe. What will they do? Stay in the group or leave it and try to move on with their lives?
Profile Image for Elsa Qazi.
138 reviews31 followers
May 18, 2018

i don't know what to say. my heart is done for. it is just done for. it is finished. so many feeelllllllssssssssss. ughhhh. i am clearly not the right person to write a review that is sensible about this book so i'm just going to say this is the best and everyone should read it.

Profile Image for Eriele the Mermaid.
161 reviews12 followers
April 17, 2016
(Originally posted at This Is Not Your Book Blog.)

I received an ARC from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review (thank you!).

Okay. So here we go. I will try my best not to spoil anything at all. Some spoilers, realizations, and questions will be posted at awayweread (a blog I made for the book mehehehe).

How do I even start describing this wonderful book?

It`s just the first book I`ve read since 2016 started (yeah, I made a pretty good choice about it), but I can already say this is one of the best books of 2016.

THIS BOOK. FREAKING BEST BOOK SO FAR. I don`t even know how to categorize this book, if it’s romance, heartbreak, contemporary, dystopia, or just a great book that will make you sad at the same time give you hope. It`s even described it as “funny” in the summary above. Whoever said that this book is funny is evil but heck yeah I laughed a lot too because of certain reasons. But who cares? As long as people share the love pain with me, I`d be fine with all the categories.

It’s been three months since the cataclysmic, fiery, kind of cliched end of all things (or not) happened to me. Been three months since this book has been haunting me. Been weeks since this is all I could talk about, like when someone asks what I`ve read or what I would recommend or just simply mention Away We Go as much as I can in between conversations. I told people to put this in their TBR list and that I would remind them when the book is released locally, and people have been waiting for a post of my thoughts and feelings about the book… I wanted to keep this review to myself for as long as I could because I`m still in denial with Away We Go (even if I reread some scenes at least once a day and it was also difficult for me to lend the book to my friend) until I could finally embrace the fact that I finished it, and what`s done is done (including how I told the author that I have mixed feelings for this and all that stuff), but I also want to drag people to hell with me MUAHAHAHAHAHA.

^ This was literally me for my book and a pack of Skittles that @bibliophilesoprano gave me.

Aray We Go *coughs* (”aray” means ouch in Filipino) I mean, Away We Go starts with a boy named Noah Falls, who was diagnosed with a contagious and deadly disease called the PPV or the Peter Pan Virus (PPV is an airborne disease that could affect children to young adults and if they get it, they would only have a few years to live). Noah gets accepted in this school called Westing Academy where smart kids like him study and try to live a normal life while also trying to “recover” from their PPV. The line in the summary that says “No one is expected to live to graduation” means that nobody gets old enough to graduate. Cue Alice and Marty, Noah`s best friends and flatmates. Alice is this girl who wants to save him, and Marty`s the boy who would write the story of their lives through a play.

And then there`s the student council vice president Zach.



Z A C H.

Well, I kinda imagined Zach looking like that in bed–sexy and hot. One of the accurate summaries of this book could be: “Zach fucked the lives of his constituents.” Also my life too, yup.

I`m not actually sure if this was contemporary, because just a little of rule breaking and student-teacher/administration action could turn this into a dystopian book. I`m really glad it wasn`t dystopian since I was getting tired of all the plotholes it could lead to and the several crackpot theories and how many pages it would take to explain a concept. But what Ostrovski captured perfectly in this book is what happens to people when they`re diagnosed of a disease and they know they are dying slowly. You could see their defense mechanisms at work on rejections and risks and how they cope up when they know that their days are limited. It`s technically just your typical high school, except that all of them are smart and are YOLO-ing more.

WARNING: Read this book on a fine day, because it could break you. Prepare a pack of Skittles as well. You`ll need it, I swear.

I would love to quote a lot of lines in the book that broke me, but I`m still not sure if those lines will be in the final book.

And now for the bullet part because my hands and words can`t just keep up with my random thoughts and feelings:

* I love Emil Ostrovski`s words. They`re not big and mouthful as I would have expected because Noah is a smart kid, but his writing is impactful. Impactful because of the truth pressed between words of reality. Kind of reminds me of David Levithan.

* I love the cover!! And the font text used in the book. If I were in charge of the book cover, the cover would be Noah eating Skittles and looking for a golden person.

* I`m excited to see the final artworks and posters in the book. I feel like there`s really no need to include the posters and flyers of students, but it`s okay. Would have been better if each of the characters` handwriting was there.

* Pain.



*“I`m not crying,” one of the characters must have said in the book at some point, and that`s what I`m saying right now as I write this review while rereading scenes to relive the pain.


* The thing about Noah, why I like him, is that I understood him. We`re both cynical. I`m not mad at his mistakes, if he would call them mistakes. He`s the boy who`s almost hell-bent on needing someone that he actually needs.

* I feel like I`m Noah whenever he loses his shit.

* I need Skittles right now.

* I advise everyone to read it twice. Read it as it is, then read it by sequence or by the time. Every jump in the time has a warning of “Seven weeks before the cataclysmic, fiery, kind of cliched end of all things (or not)”. You`ll get some reference and notice small details that didn`t looked important on the first try.

How I had mixed feelings about this, even if that was actually the whole point of this post: it can either save or break you. That`s still how I feel right now. Finishing this book gave me hope, but then I would remember everything that happened in Away We Go and then I would cry again.

Conclusions: everYBODY GO READ IT AND CRY WITH ME. I`ll be waiting in awayweread (but there could be mild or vague spoilers in there so if you`re fine with it, then go visit the lonely blog). And then there we can just blog about all the things and headcanons and just about everything.

This review is not enough to express everything that I`m feeling right now, so if you want more proof of why you should read Away We Go, talk to me personally. And I`ll cry for you. And then I`d laugh at you if you cry after finishing the book.

Profile Image for Charlie.
495 reviews16 followers
October 4, 2016
Away We Go by Emil Ostrovski

I did not expect a dark contemporary, but that is what I got. The synopsis makes you think it's going to be a love story between two guys who are supposed to die. It's not. This was something else. Most of the book was exactly what I expected it to be, but it kind of wasn't. The way it was written made me think of Benjamin Alire Sáenz who is my favourite author ever. That poetic writing style that I love came back in this book by an entirely different author. That was not what I expected. I never expected to find another writer with that style of writing.

Towards the ending of the book, everything got crazy. I thought this book would not affect me in the slightest, but I literally bawled my eyes out. Noah was so likable which made it really hard to dislike him. But I can't say he was a saint. He cheated on his girlfriend so many times. He knew he was gay and he basically used the girl. It isn't all his fault, because Alice knew Noah was gay but that didn't give him the right to cheat on her. That made me mad. Alice was so selfless and did everything to make Noah happy but he led her on and made her hope for a happy relationship. He slept with guys while he also slept with Alice and of course he didn't tell her about it. She didn't deserve that. I had to say that, but it didn't take away from the overall story.

I have another point of critique which is that the timeline got so confusing for me. The book is counting down towards a meteor hitting the earth and wiping out all of humanity, but it's jumping around a lot. It's non-linear and I didn't even know what had already happened and what hadn't at some points in the book which I did not like. I don't think the rating is entirely objective though, because I got so excited about the writing.

A full review is up in a video on my channel: https://youtu.be/vuZmDA2H-TU
Profile Image for Molly.
456 reviews129 followers
January 15, 2016
2.5 stars? Maybe? I'm torn. This book was exactly like Extraordinary Means. And it was boring half the time. I liked some of the characters and the writing was pretty good. But for such a short book I found myself losing focus fast. I also don't really like this new BOLD USE OF NON-WRITING in books. It worked with Illuminae, I get it. It doesn't work with books like this. I didn't care at all about the fliers or the game states or whatever that were in this book (half the time they didn't even match whatever was going on... horrible placement).

Profile Image for Emily.
2,153 reviews
March 26, 2016
I didn’t finish Away We Go. I just couldn’t do it. I wanted to read it because it seemed similar to Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider. Unfortunately, Away We Go was not well-written or unique enough for me. I decided life was too short to finish this book when it had completely lost me. The characters weren’t developed enough, and I really didn’t care about the main character at all. I was so disappointed.
Profile Image for BookChic Club.
469 reviews295 followers
February 9, 2016
Really interesting, smart, emotional book. I also really liked the gay MC angle, which I didn't know about when I first started the book so it was a nice surprise.
Profile Image for Lauren.
1,082 reviews287 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
November 19, 2015
DNF page 135 | Nope. I can't focus on this for the life of me and just don't get it. I can't figure out if the time is bouncing around or not and frankly it's making me feel kind of stupid. I don't understand or like the characters, or really get the point of the book. Maybe I stopped just short of where the "action" starts. I don't know. But I'm not going to bother finishing this book if I don't care what happens.


The premise behind this one had me interested right off the bat... But, sadly I couldn't get on board with it. The basic idea behind the book is that the Peter Pan Virus is spreading around the country and teenagers are dying early. They then go away to schools where they can essentially be quarantined until they die. They're cut off from the outside world (including their families) because of some random events that happened in Texas. That, among other things, was very unclear.

I don't usually DNF books; you can go see how small that shelf is on Goodreads! For some reason, I had absolutely nothing compelling me to finish this book. I couldn't focus on it. I didn't really even have any interest in finding out how it ended. No matter how hard I tried, this book was just not holding my attention. It could have been my lack of a connection to Noah, but it also felt like I just didn't understand what was going on.

The main character, Noah, is... I don't know. The only thing I learned about him in the first 100+ pages was that he was cynical. He was also somewhat struggling with his sexuality? I didn't really understand the situation because he had a girlfriend that he clearly didn't like, but also had a mini relationship with a guy friend at the same time. The timeline issues (more on that later) didn't help me understand it any better.

It seemed like some chapters went back to the past but some were set in the present? I couldn't tell and it frankly made me feel stupid. I enjoy contemporary novels where I don't have to focus on world-building or similar confusing things. I hope to have a character connection and just enjoy the story. Of course, there are plenty of more complex contemporary books that I have read or will read, but I just didn't have the energy to figure this one out.

I essentially reached exactly halfway through the book and decided I couldn't go on. Usually I would count this as "read" for my Goodreads challenge, but I seriously feel like I gained nothing from the first half of the book. I didn't understand the school system, the character, or even what the point of the book was! I want to at least understand the central conflict in the story by the 50% mark. The plot summary suggests something, but even the promise of that didn't keep me engaged.

I can't imagine coming back to this one at any point, but you never know. Maybe the finished copy will have some neat finished graphics (this book has letters and posters and other things that weren't totally complete yet in the ARC) that will keep me going. For now though - why bother?
Profile Image for Just a person .
995 reviews294 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
February 8, 2016

I have done this several times on my blog. Books that just don't work for me. I know my reading style pretty well, and I can tell whether I will like the book or not accurately about 80-90% of the time. If I finish a book, then there are aspects of that book that I enjoyed. I never talk about the author in a negative way, I only say what doesn't work for me. Normally if I finish a book, I give it at least 3 stars, meaning that I liked it.

Stopped at 11%
I wanted to read away we go because I like the sound of PPV the Peter Pan virus and the idea of the kids in the camp basically waiting to die it had a lot of promise for me and I thought it was going to go out a completely different directions.

Well both of the boys definitely had unique voices they were too strong for me. there was a lot of cursing and I guess I should have read description work that does describe it is funny but I guess I was excited more of the emotional.

This is definitely a case of me expecting something different and not thoroughly researching before I chose to request

That isn't to say that the writing is poor or the characters are poorly constructed, it's personal on my end.
Profile Image for Corey.
246 reviews2 followers
January 16, 2016
Book Talk:
Not only has most of the nation's teenagers been struck by a deadly, contagious disease and relegated to hospices, there is a meteor on a collision course with Earth. Noah Falls must figure out what to do with the short time left to him (whether he dies by disease or comet).

My Thoughts:
What a strange book. The premise intrigued me from the start (I am a glutton for dystopia), but it really failed to deliver. There was too much movement in perspective for me to follow along. I couldn't connect with any of the characters, as there was so little development. And the relationships (same sex or other) just seemed forced.

My Rating:
2.5 stars

Gr. 10+ for language, adult situations
**I received an ARC from Edelweiss**
Profile Image for Fay.
Author 4 books32 followers
January 15, 2016
Away We Go is many things. It’s a story about friendship, a story about love. A story about holding on, a story about giving up. Away We Go didn’t make me cry. But it made me believe in hope more than ever. And that’s why it stuck to me.

Full review on my book blog: http://wp.me/p4gfJt-v3 (Will be up on February 2!)
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,220 reviews1,651 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
September 12, 2016
Amount read: around 15%

This is just too weird for me. Plus, I have no sense of who any of the characters are. I do think it seems like an excellent book if you're more into speculative fiction for its own sake (I am always into fiction for characterization's sake).
Profile Image for Louisa.
6,789 reviews31 followers
March 12, 2016
Such a fantastic book! Sad, and heartbreaking, and weird and crazy, and so enjoyable!
Profile Image for Cait S.
902 reviews72 followers
February 19, 2018
I do not know who I was before I read this book. How it hasn't been hyped as a fucking YA masterpiece is beyond me. How it hasn't been read by every person on my friends list who reads YA is beyond me. This is everything and more. It's beautiful and I have been completely and utterly decimated in the face of it.

Dear Emil Ostrovski,

Your words are beautiful. I am better for reading them. Never, ever, ever do anything but write exactly the way you write because it's more than anything else could be.
September 4, 2016

I don’t really like this blurb. It makes it look lighthearted and more middle grade than YA. It’s a bit like advertising The Outsiders as an adventure novel that fits into the same genre as Cherub, which would be a disgrace. I have strong views about those two novels. The former I love, and the latter I have many moral problems with. I once liked it. Then I grew up. How ever, Away We Go is (smile of relief) not CHERUB. It is the outsiders. (This is where you go run to bookstore and buy it because I’m comparing it to the outsiders people!)
Anyway, while the blurb is accurate (except for the may or may not be in love with part. He was definitely in love with Zach. That wasn’t even a question)., it vibe doesn’t much the books and it doesn’t quite capture all the philosophical thoughts, beautiful writing and metaphors that make up a majority of this book. It gets deep.

Everything in this book is a metaphor. Skittles are a metaphor. Sandwiches are a metaphor. (These found had much importance in this novel. Don’t laugh). They’s more metaphors than a John Green book. There’s even a chapter called Life is a [insert metaphor here} where they discuss how many metaphors are used. We also have the beautiful quote “We metaphorical discussed metaphors together”.

The main character, Noah was gay as hell. Which I appreciated. But he had a girlfriend, who had had sex with. This confused me. Where did his gayness go? It soon was reconfirmed that he was definitely gay.

Noah also had lots of problems. He had a habit of drinking, smoking, and making out with anyone who come his way. He would wake up in the morning and have vodka. Who cares if it’s before 10 o’clock? I’m having 6 shots for breakfast. Not food though. He didn’t really eat. When he wasn’t drinking he played video games. However, sometimes he had deep thoughts and revelations in the midst of his drunkenness. Normally in the form of metaphors, and in the early hours in the morning.

The novel was mainly in first person, but a couple of times out of nowhere we would get a chapter in 3rd person. Which took me by surprise. I needed to readjusted my thinking. These chapters were beautifully written and had lots of hidden meanings that I'm pretty sure I didn’t get anything. Or even most of it.

One problem I had was that the characters’ main aim in the novel was to get out of Westing. I was a bit confused why they found it so hard as they seemed to have no trouble illegal getting an unlimited amount of alcohol and cigarettes in. If it was so easy to do this why was it so hard to get out?

So this book made me think about things. A lot. Like what you need to do in English class. Which is good. I mean the whole point of reading is to think about stuff. That’s why we chose this life isn’t? So we can lay on our bedroom floors at 1 am crying?

77 reviews1 follower
May 27, 2016
So, clearly, this was heavily influenced by John Green. The author rated TFIOS, Looking for Alaska, and Will Grayson highly (five, four, and four stars, respectively), and this book really felt like "What if we took everything from LfA and made them dying, like in TFIOS, with a side of gay, like in WG?"

Why it was like Looking for Alaska

1) Like in LfA, the students are in a fancy boarding school. They apparently go to (at least some) classes, but really, who cares? They don't.

2) Marty's obsession with writing a religious text. Pudge's "nature of the labyrinth" essay for his religious studies class.


4) The main character technically has a girlfriend (Lara, Alice), but is 100% not into being her boyfriend, and goes for other people.

5) The chapters are framed around a very important event. Chapter titles: one hundred twenty-two days before (LfA); A Year and a Half Before the Cataclysmic, Fiery, Kind of Clichéd End of all things (or not) (Away We Go).

6) Despite it being against the rules, there's plenty of alcohol and cigarettes. Side note: the characters in Away We Go are quarantined in a government program to contain the spread of their disease, so how are they getting this much alcohol?? They're not even allowed to call people outside the school, or talk to them online, so where is all the booze coming from?

Other Notes

40% of the way through, I had to ask what the protagonist's name was. It was just really unmemorable. Give your characters names that aren't so bland.

Also in the process of writing this review, I got out my copy of Looking for Alaska (that I had to buy for high school english class), and apparently I used a yellow pen to highlight the phrase "I'm unpredictable." when it was said by the John-Green-female-character. :/
22 reviews
March 15, 2020
I really enjoyed this story. The events in the story were very unpredictable and interesting. Although some parts of the book moved along slowly, the ending picked up and was definitely worth reading through the slower parts. I believe this is a book primarily for young adults. It was a story that was very unique and unlike any book I've read.
Profile Image for Kelly Hager.
3,097 reviews129 followers
April 8, 2016
I absolutely loved the premise of this novel, although I was pretty sure it was going to break my heart. It was occasionally hard to follow (the timeline jumps all over the place, although they do let you know when that happens) and it took me a few chapters to get into it, but these are minor quibbles.

I also love the way that the book also has memos and things interspersed among some chapters. It made the world feel so much more realistic. I love whenever things like that happen, because it's such a fun way to get people into the book. (At least for me.)

This book will worm its way into your heart and then break it, but you probably won't even mind.
Profile Image for Danielle Zimmerman.
432 reviews19 followers
February 9, 2016
I don't think this book is for me. While the premise is interesting, there's no clear driving force in this book. Relationships between characters seem fake and fragile. The book doesn't even explore the premise it sets up. I understand what this book was going for and I'm usually a fan of character pieces, but I just didn't enjoy it like I thought I would.

**I received and read an uncorrected ARC of this book.**
Profile Image for Paula.
585 reviews51 followers
September 1, 2016
Rating: 3.5 stars
Half a star more because of all the beautiful writing and nihilism.
Profile Image for Kelly Gunderman.
Author 2 books76 followers
April 22, 2016
Check out this and other reviews on my young adult book blog, Here's to Happy Endings!

I was originally drawn to this book due to the synopsis – it sounded a lot like the kind of book I’d absolutely love (kind of a dystopian/contemporary combo, with some realistic elements thrown in that kind of remind me of books like Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider). So I was so thrilled when I got the chance to read it.

Truthfully, this was a sad story. I think it was supposed to be a story of hope, but to be completely honest, I didn’t really think of it that way. Sure, the main character, Noah, had a sense of humor about the (absolutely terrible) situation he and his friends were in, and the characters were pretty well written and interesting to read about, but the entire book just made me feel like all the hope in the world had been sucked out of it and it was just a big ball of despair. Maybe that’s a little dramatic in some cases, but man, this book was powerful and haunting, and really, really depressing.

Okay, I’m finished with my rant about how depressing this book is, so let’s talk about the plot, shall we?

Away We Go takes place in Westing, a school for kids and teenagers diagnosed with PPV, also known as Peter Pan Virus. It is a horrible virus that usually affects you once you’ve been diagnosed, and it’s usually fatal. Once diagnosed, you go to a special school (in this instance, Westing), full of other kids who have been diagnosed as well, in order to try and prevent the virus from spreading in the public. Once you’re in one of these schools, you no longer get to see your family or friends, and you are essentially cut off from the world. The kids who live here and attend these schools are pretty much handed a death sentence – most of them die shortly after arrival.

So our main character, Noah, his girlfriend Alice, and his best friend Marty do the only thing they can, while they can – they live their lives. They drink, make out with each other (and other things), and try to spend as much time as they can with each other while they can.

Shortly after Noah is sent to Westing, he meets Zach. While he is hesitant to have any feelings for Zach (because he misses his boyfriend from his old school), he can’t help himself. Zach sends mixed signals to Noah, but Noah can’t help what he feels, and a good portion of the book is about Noah’s feelings for him. Yes, Noah has a girlfriend, but that’s not really where his heart lies – he more or less stays with her because they know they’re going to end up dying at some point, and he wants to make her happy.

A lot of the book is centered around awaywego.com – a website that is set up for students who are diagnosed with PPV – there are movies, books, social media, video games, etc. established to help them pass the time. I thought this aspect of the book was pretty neat, honestly…it was unique and catered specifically for this book, and a nice addition.

However, as their health declines and their spirits start to drop, they start to wonder – where are the really sick kids taken? Where do they go when their health gets so bad that they can no longer stay at Westing? Is it really a recovery center they go to, or something a lot worse than the “incontinence support” centers that the brochures talk about?

Away We Go has a pretty memorable cast of characters, among them being Noah and Zach, who spend the entire book trying to figure out how they feel about one another. I have to admit that I really liked this aspect of the book – I thought they made an interesting couple (even though Zach wasn’t sure what he was looking for or how he really thought of Noah), and I would have liked to see even more of them together in the book. Noah’s character seemed all kinds of confused (but then again, he was pretty much handed a ticket to a terminal illness, so who wouldn’t be?), and he spent a lot of his time doing a lot of drinking (where these kids got such vast amounts of alcohol just baffles me) and hooking up with random guys that he doesn’t really know, because he has a desire to feel something instead of thinking about what his future might or might not hold.

The book is also broken up into different parts, such as present day and the past, back when he first came to Westing and met Zach. This got a little confusing at times, but nothing that made the story difficult to enjoy.

While not a very chipper read, it definitely is powerful and makes you appreciate life and all the little things. While I knew going into it it was going to be one of those books that would probably end up making me sad for a while after I read it, I���m really glad I picked it up anyway.

If you like books like The Fault in Our Stars and Extraordinary Means, I have to recommend you check this one out, too!

Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Mary.
289 reviews35 followers
April 6, 2016
Originally Published On Books In Her Head

I probably should begin with just the fact that this is my first time in a couple years reading an e-ARC and it most certainly took me a little while to readjust to the experience. When I participate in blog tours I try and make myself as flexible as possible for both the organizer and the publisher. That being said, I’m just more of a paper book person, but reading this e-ARC was not bad AT ALL (surprisingly).

I first found out about Away We Go via the tour invitation, but it was the enticing blurb that really had me itching to read it. I may or may not have focused on much else past the Peter Pan part (I’m a huge fan) and although the book was not at all what I was expecting, I couldn’t help but enjoy it. On a lot of levels, my entire reading experience with Away We Go reminded me of the complexity featured in Magonia which I read last summer and immediately concluded that I wanted to reread it. I almost feel the same way with Away We Go. A lot of the prose is supplemented with illustrations/diagrams/designs, some of which were not finalized at the time that I was proved with my ARC, and thus excluded from my edition. I have complete faith that this materials would have heightened my reading experience (although I got this gist of most them even without direct visuals provided).

Aside from the mechanics of the novel presented, the general style and “moving parts” you might say of Away We Go also reminded me of Magonia. At the start of the novel, you are in all honesty given very little context about the Peter Pan Virus, the particular situations in which the characters are in, and their general settings. However, in a non-linear format Ostrovski pulls together elements from the beginning and end of the timeline, explaining in a haphazard not-quite-back-and-forth fashion the logistics of the semi dystopian world of Away We Go.

Away We Go is one of those novels that if you aren’t paying attention can easily get away from you. There aren’t a lot of characters, but you sort of have to keep track of them and their details (same goes for the infrastructure of the Westing school and society in general). Even though the entire premise is so far removed from my everyday life, I had no trouble AT ALL connected with Noah (our protagonist). Although being faced with terminal death is not exactly something that evyerday people grapple with (not to marginalize those that do, however, and my heart goes out to you), uncertainly regarding life after death is prevalent in society. In addition to that, Ostovski artfully wove in some rather mundane typicalities of teenage life, particularly relationships and sexuality.

The ending of Away We Go was rather ambiguous, the leaves me thinking of the similar powerful ending of The Giver, and thus I find myself ever so satisfied.

Final Thoughts:

Away We Go is not for the faint of heart. It’s a lot of work to read this book, both emotionally and just regarded mental preparedness but I most certainly recommend you give it a try. The complex nature of the dystopia and well planned political structures bring instant comparisons to Unwind, while the general multi-leveled complexity brings Magonia to mind. Away We Go, however, is on of those YA books that brings in a ton of character development and relatable human experiences into a sci-fy/dystopian experiences…which is REALLY cool. Read for the obscurity, for the Peter Pan references, and for the LGBTQ+ visibility.
Profile Image for Phoebe (Quinn).
124 reviews28 followers
April 8, 2017
enlightening, sad, brilliant. this book got me questioning whether the things i believe in are really worth believing in.

what the heck i can't believe marty got shot and zach killed himself and alex didn't send him a message even once and juan is gone and soon alice will be too, and noah is looking up at the stars and lighting up fireworks and believing he's peter pan and all the world's a stage while his skin is peeling off and there's skittles on the ground and the world is not goddamn ending after all
Profile Image for Edwin Howard.
376 reviews14 followers
January 26, 2016
AWAY WE GO by Emil Ostrovski is the story of a school that houses teenagers afflicted with a disease (called PPV, or Peter Pan Virus) that slowly kills them within a few years. The school, Westing, is for the most gifted of the afflicted teens, and strives to provide the talented young adults with a normal, vibrant and intellectually stimulating environment during their slow physical demise. We see all of this through Noah, who is struggling not just with the disease, but with his own individuality in society. He is struggling with love, friendship, and finding a meaning for his life.
The structure of the book is a little jarring at first, with jumps back and forth in time at the school and government propaganda interspersed throughout. I did settle in and got used to the style and by the end I embraced it as a metaphor of how frenetic the lives of the students at Westing is. It was a quick read, I finished in a couple of days and I think there wasn't a lot of wasted words; Ostrovski kept the story moving all the time. Noah, our guide through the book, I found repulsive and narcissistic at the beginning of the book, constantly using his sexuality to help him escape his feelings, meanwhile toying with other's feelings and often hurting them. It was nice, though, to see as the story progresses that Noah matures and develops empathy for those around him. I found the most likable character to be Marty, one of Noah's roommates. Marty is struggling with life a diseased young person as well, but does it in a much subtler way. Marty appreciates those around him and just wants to connect to people in a way few others do in the book.
I found the structure unique and the story was interesting, but I will admit that being a 39 year old father, this story of teenage angst and self-absorption was hard for me to get through. If I was a young adult (which I believe this book is aimed for) I feel like I would have enjoyed the read more. I still will give it 4 stars, though, because putting my personal taste in books aside, I thought it was a good book.

***I received free copy of this book as a Goodreads Giveaway***
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