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Away From Here

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When I was seventeen years old there were only three things that I knew for certain: I was a mixed up mixed kid, with weird hair and an unhealthy love of comics; I wanted to forget I’d ever heard the words depression and anxiety; and I was hopelessly in love with a girl named Annalise who was, in every way that you can be, a goddess. What can I say about Anna? She wasn’t the prom queen or the perfect girl from the movies, she was my weird, funny, messed up goddess. The girl of my dreams. The reason I’m writing these words.

I’d loved Anna from a distance my junior year, afraid to actually talk to her, but then one day during lunch my best friend threw a french fry at my face and changed everything. The rest, as they say, is history. Our History. Our Story. Annalise helped make me the man I am today, and loving her saved my teenaged soul from drowning in the depths of a terrible Bleh, the worst kind of sadness that there is, a concept Anna taught me about a long time ago, when we were younger than young. So flip the book over, open up the cover and let me tell you Our Story, which is like Annalise, herself - complicated, beautiful, funny, and guaranteed to teach you something by the time you’re through. Maybe it’ll teach you the complexity of the word potato, something I never understood until the very last page.


First published January 31, 2018

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HH Holmes

32 books1,274 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 128 reviews
Author 32 books1,274 followers
May 8, 2018
Away From Here (Author Review)

This is a different one from author Christopher Harlan. And I mean that in the best possible way. Whether you’re a ‘YA reader’ or not, this book transcends Amazon categories. It’s a story about our humanity, and the struggles we all face at some point in our lives. I have to be honest, I was worried that this book was going to just be sad. Like, box of tissues sad. While there were aspects of this, it was also filled with humor, sarcasm, and ultimately hope. In short, it was about all the emotions that make us who we are.

This is the story of a boy and a girl in love in high school. Ordinary sounding, right? Common? Well, I’m sure you’ll discover (as I did) that this story is anything but ordinary, just like one of the main characters, Annalise. In fact, it’s about as unconventional as a teen love story gets. The book is narrated by the main character, Logan, who’s a grown man telling us about a year in his life that changed his outlook on the world forever.

Logan is a kid who reminds me of the kind of teen I was. Mixed racial background, a little nerdy, lost as to what the future may bring, and dealing with a difficult situation at home. On top of that, all the kid wants is to meet the girl of his dreams, his goddess, the girl who’ll take him Away From Here. At home he’s dealing with the breakup of his parents, and the severe depression and anxiety that it’s inspired in his sick mom. All of a sudden he goes from a normal teenaged boy into an adult, having to take care of his mom while also dealing with the typical stress of high school, friends, and girls.

Enter Our Girl (that’s what the author calls Annalise.)

Annalise is a mystery. A fantasy. The embodiment of everything Logan thinks he’s missing. Logan had been dreaming of talking to her for a year (which the author writes all about in the backstory called “Our Story: An Away From Here prequel”, which is free to download). He’s tried a few times, but always hesitates, terrified of rejection. His best friend and confident, Pete, tries to push him, and even throws a few fries at him one day to get him off his butt, but it takes the serendipity of a class project to get him to open up to her. Before they know it they’re talking all night, and we learn that Annalise has as many problems at home as Logan. Before too long they’re finding comfort in one another.

Logan comes to realize the complexity of relationship—of love—of how our imperfections make us human, and how they draw us to one another for comfort. As the year progresses Logan looks to the future, uncertain as to where his relationship will take him.

I read some of the other reader reviews before I posted mine, and I agree, this is not just a YA book, it’s a book for everyone! This book will make you feel things you may not have felt in a long time. Whether it’s a fond memory of a best friend who helped you through your darkest days, that first boy/girl you were infatuated with and couldn’t imagine your teenaged self without, or even the complexity of the relationship you have with your parent or child.

Away From Here will leave you thinking, feeling, and remembering. Whether you were just like the characters in the book or not; whether you had a depressed parent (or, as the author calls it, one of the ‘Kids of Sick Parents Club’) or not, you’ll attach to something in this book.This book wasn’t just another read for me, it was a catharsis. It was a way to get in touch with aspects of my past I wanted to forget. It was funny, sad, emotional, and harkened back to days that I sometimes let myself forget. But as I read I realized —it’s good to remember, it’s part of what makes us human, if only for a few hundred pages or so.

Five out of Five stars for this debut YA novel from author Christopher Harlan. Check it out now, I promise you won’t be disappointed.


Profile Image for Lauren Lascola-Lesczynski.
995 reviews31 followers
February 5, 2018
If you are looking for a great YA book...look now more. Away From Here will give you ALL the feels you need and then some. It's a great read with so much heart and soul and it's incredibly funny. If you don't immediately feel a connection to Logan I will be shocked.
His voice tells an amazing story of how he navigated his way through some of life's tougher situations...one of them being his first love. I mean we all remember our first love right? I kind of got nostalgic remembering my first love. If you have teens this would be a great read for them. I hope you all love Logan's journey as much as I do.
This books is quintessential Christopher Harlan.
#MixedUpMixedKid #Comics #FakeSpanish #Bleh #Fries #FirstLove #Life
Profile Image for Misti  Long.
396 reviews9 followers
February 5, 2018
What a wonderful YA story!!! But I don't want everyone to think it's only a YA story because its an everybody story. I knew when I was 3% in and already crying it was gonna be good.

I also knew with each turn of the page as Logan was telling about high school, his home life, his best friend Pete, and his first love Anna. I had indeed fell into the rabbit hole of this book not to be seen again until I was finished with this book. What a wonderful YA story for this author.
Profile Image for Shelly Reynolds.
679 reviews17 followers
February 10, 2018
"Who you are isn't just acceptable and it isn't just good enough, who you are is everything."

I have put a lot of thought in to this. I mean, a great book deserves a great review, right? I only hope I can do this book justice, as it far transcends any other I have read to date. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Really? Transcends any other?". Well, I'm here to tell you, without pause, that yes, it is THAT good.

The story is narrated by the adult version of our main character Logan Santiago. While it tells of Logan's experiences in his last year of high school, it is told with the wisdom of the life he's lived since then. He tells us the story of Annalise, the girl of his dreams- his Peruvian Goddess. He tells us of their journey together through young love, both dealing with a mentally ill parent - of having to grow up too fast, and of fighting their own demons. The narration is heartfelt, humorous, and heartbreaking all at the same time. It's a love story. It's a coming of age story. It's a story of choices, both ones made independently and ones forced upon them. It's a story of finding out who you are and embracing it, warts and all. It's a story of survival.

Logan tells us how Annalise helped form the man he became. I have a feeling he had the same effect on her.

Reading this book moved me in a way no other book has done before. I laughed out loud, I teared up, I smiled, and I suffered heartbreak right along with Logan and Annalise. I could see a little of myself in both of them, and I know you will too. Away From Here will stay with me forever, no doubt. This book is not just a Young Adult novel. It's for everyone.

In closing, Potato.
43 reviews
February 9, 2018
For those of you that have read Christopher Harlan's previous books. It's different. No sex. True to heart. It will take you back to those teenage years. First love is awkward and challenging. Toss in a rough home life and some mental health issues to go along.
Logan has much as he can seems very put together guy. Or at least that is what he wants to project. Until Anna.
Anna is one emotionally closed off. Only revealing what she wants. Struggling at home.
We all have some Anna or Logan in us. This book brought back tons of memories.
Congratulations Mr.Harlan. This was perfectly perfect.
Profile Image for Tiffany Coffman.
164 reviews66 followers
February 27, 2018
Wow, this book was like going home.
I felt like I had stepped back into the hallways of my high school and was reliving some of the best and worst times of my teenage self. We can all relate to at least one character in the story, even if you say you can't.
I don't normally read young adult books, but if Christopher writes more I'll definitely reading them.

I voluntarily read an advanced copy of this book.

February 10, 2018
I loved this book it was a perfect description of a high school experience and show how how everyone deals with mental illness differently than others and it shows that you don't know everything that goes on with a person but you can be there for them in different ways I think it's a great way to teach someone about something that some don't know how to deal with this stuff
Profile Image for Tammy.
185 reviews2 followers
February 8, 2018
Away From Here: YA story
By Christopher Harlan
This story is filled full of emotion.
Logan told the story as if he was talking to you directly. We visited his home life, high school and his first love Annalise.
Everyone should read this book!
Excellent story Christopher!
Profile Image for Anna Hay.
38 reviews1 follower
February 14, 2018
Away From Home…WOW! I enjoyed this book on so many different levels. I loved that it was a “love” story that isn’t mature or unrealistic for a teenaged character. The way the author laid out the ups and downs of that first love, albeit one skewed by many other issues going on inside the homes of each character, it gave a glimpse of how a teenage mind processes and understands their first love. The story, for me, was about more than the mental illness Logan’s character and Anna’s character were both experiencing at home and carrying into a relationship it was about how one person can inspire and save another from going down the same path they see at home.
While I was finishing up the book and I came across this part and I realized the amazing truth and sadness to it. "...the people who screw us up owe a debt that can never be repaid. In fact, in a final poetic swell of victimization, the debt becomes ours. We have a chance to pay it back, or to leave it to our own children, as it was left to us. We have a choice, in other words, to make our damage into strength, or to make it into a family legacy." With Logan and Anna, they both had the chance to come out the other side of mental illness at home. Logan saw Anna the way she was (or as much as she allowed him to really see) and when it was all over, as all first loves seem to end, Logan was able to be stronger than he believed he could be. Even his other relationships changed after the loss of his first dream, his first love, his first real push through the other side.
This book is amazing, from the beginning to the end and I hated finishing it because I wanted to stay in that story longer. All good things come to an end. I recommend this book for everyone, it isn’t just for young adults, I think it is a book for everyone to get something out of. 10/10
Profile Image for Janine Fitton.
7 reviews
February 18, 2018
This book is a rollercoaster of emotions from start to finish, even though it's a YA it in no way effected the way I felt reading it. The author tapped into a range of feelings that at times left me tearful, but so glad I read it. so high praise to Christopher for trying a new genre and in my eyes smashed it!
Profile Image for Angela.
1,896 reviews10 followers
February 25, 2018
Heartbreakingly beautiful. It’s just a beautiful emotionally raw story that makes you want to cry. It’s a reminder that not everything has a happy ending, but it’s not always a bad thing.
Profile Image for Lg.
375 reviews1 follower
February 20, 2018
Christopher Harlan brings a beautiful book to life with all the feels in his foray into the YA genre. He tells the story of an awkward 17 year old boy, his quest to find love, be accepted, manage unfortunate circumstances at home and finish his senior of high school and to set off into the "real world".

Harlan brings a wit and almost stream of consciousness feel to the prose. His ability to move freely from speaking directly to the reader, to keeping the flow of the story makes this a unique type of read. The characters are genuine and feel like these people could be your classmates from back when. In addition, the discussion of mental health issues, not only being totally relevant is dealt with in such a careful, honest, moving way. This is a deep read that requires time and attention as there is much detail that should not be missed.

This story struck many a chord with me. As I have 17 year old son, who is going through the sequence of events that the story describes and he,unfortunately at the early part of his secondary education had to deal with a sick mom.

Full of heart, truth and realness.
Profile Image for Christine Frieseke-Miller.
1,393 reviews4 followers
February 19, 2018
I want to start off by saying that I haven't read Christopher Harlan before and I typically don't read young adult books, but this book called to me and I was completely blown away by the way Mr. Harlan told such a compelling story that takes place in high school. There is no sex or any sort of filler, it is just a really well-told story about all of the emotions you go through in high school.

This is a wonderful first love story that is told in such a way you can't put the story down. I remember my first love and my first heartbreak and the Mr. Harlan's words brought them all back to me as I read Logan's story. There was also a very real view of mental illness and depression and how teenagers deal with it. Whether they are suffering from it or a loved one is, dealing with it in your teenage years is a confusing and difficult time. Mr. Harlan did an awesome job depicting some difficult situations.

The story is told from Logan's point of view which was light most of the times and very to the point. He was very relatable and I fell in love with his story. It was a great read!
February 12, 2018
Christopher Harlan hit the nail on the head with this one. Growing up is tough, having to deal with mental illness, broken homes, poverty, or any other situation out of the "norm" can make it even more challenging.

Away From Here is an exceptional YA novel dealing with the trials and triumphs of the relationship between two teens, Logan and Anna. Both from broken homes, each having their lives effected by mental illness. They are the 'Rocks' each other need to make it through their senior year.

"Being vulnerable, and allowing yourself to be seen by others is a strength, not a weakness, even when that vulnerability causes intense pain." At 36 years old, I still haven't fully grasped this. It is something I wish I could go back and tell my teenage self on a daily basis. This was one of those books I couldn't put down. I related to it on so many levels. As I read this novel, through the development of each character, I saw a little of myself in each one of them. I was brought back to my teenage years piece by piece, bit by bit.

I highly recommend this YA novel. It is for everyone really. From those who want a love story, to those who want to remember what being a teen was like, even teens who want to know if they are the only ones out there who feel so "bleh." It is a definite must read.
Profile Image for DMCechak.
1,247 reviews17 followers
April 25, 2018
Yes, this is a love story...but so much more...because it is a life story!

WARNING! Do not listen to the epilogue in the car while you are driving!!!

Christopher takes us back to the time in our lives where our feelings for others are starting to evolve into more than just likes. More than even just loves. Potato.

Connecting with others, some who have parents they don’t know, and some who are still with us, but just not as parents, Logan and Anna cross paths and walk together for a time.

Christopher Harlan writes beautiful books. This book is so much more than beautiful. He has reached up into the outer parts of the universe, where our dreams from the past and our experiences, that may or may not have happened in our memories, collide.

Away From Here is not a sad book, but it will make you cry; it is not a funny book, but it will make you laugh; it is not a happy book, but it will make you smile.

When you find your ‘there’ you will understand just what an amazing author created this story.
Profile Image for Lori Shankle.
439 reviews
February 20, 2018
Having just finished reading this book, I had to take some time to just sit back and digest it. I would have to say that I am a member of the Kids with Sick Parents club. In having to live with a parent with psychological and emotional problems, this book really touch home in a lot of different ways. There are parts of this book that I really HAD a hard time reading. But that was in fault with me having to deal with all the memories of living "HERE" and nothing to do with the way the author wrote. I would definitely recommend this book. Thank you Mr. Harlan for the ways you seem to have reached into my memories and write about things that are my secrets but now seems to be the same secrets others have too.
29 reviews6 followers
April 24, 2018
When the dedication makes your heart hurt and eyes fill you know you are in for an emotional read. Christopher Harlan's first foray into Young Adult literature is a stunning, deeply personal work about an Earth Axis Shifting Love that changes who you are and how you look at life. Logan and Annalise's story is an important one. About the pain of dealing with an mentally ill parent and the isolation that can bring. It's about what happens when like souls recognize each other and how being with someone who understands makes all the difference in the world. Christopher Harlan is a lyrical writer who tells stories that touch the mind, heart, and soul I wish I'd had this book in high school and I'm very happy to have it now.
Profile Image for Charlotte.
2,102 reviews80 followers
April 29, 2018

Logan deals with a lot. He takes care of his mom, who suffers from sever depression, his dad left when he 15, so he does all the grocery shopping and household chores. He has one friend who knows his circumstances. Logan has been in love with Annalise for a year, but hasn't had the courage to speak to her. Then a group class assignment changes that. Logan and Anna get out together with 2 others to do a group project about mental illness. This is something Logan knows a lot about, but what he doesn't know is, so does Anna.
Mental illness is a serious subject and hard to talk about, I think this book lightens it without being offensive. It shows the struggles of Logan taking care of his mentally ill mother, but also lightly shows some of Anna's struggles from her illness as well. I like that this story didn't turn out all "roses and rainbows", because not everything ends happily. I think this book was well written and had very relatable characters.
50 reviews20 followers
April 25, 2018
A Book For All Ages #potato

When the dedication makes your heart hurt and eyes fill you know you are in for an emotional read. Christopher Harlan's first foray into Young Adult literature is a stunning, deeply personal work about an Earth Axis Shifting Love that changes who you are and how you look at life. Logan and Annalise's story is an important one. About the pain of dealing with an mentally ill parent and the isolation that can bring. It's about what happens when like souls recognize each other and how being with someone who understands makes all the difference in the world. Christopher Harlan is a lyrical writer who tells stories that touch the mind, heart, and soul I wish I'd had this book in high school and I'm very happy to have it now.
Profile Image for Melissa.
615 reviews3 followers
January 5, 2019
A Great Story

This was a great story about two messed up teenagers who find love. While the story doesn’t exactly have a HEA ending, the ending was perfect for Logan and Anna’s love story. I know this was fiction but teenagers being able to cough up Comic Con tickets days before the convention is so not believable. Unless it wasn’t the big San Diego Comic Con because those tickets sell out months in advance. Anyway, I enjoyed this book and plan on reading more of this author’s work.
Profile Image for Keri Loves Books.
1,241 reviews183 followers
February 15, 2018
My first YA novel with this author and it’s my favorite of all his books. So well written. It hit on some serious topics and reminds us of our youth and those struggles. But also how special that time was and it leaves its mark.

Logan, a self-described nerd was funny, sweet, intelligent and endearing. I loved him. His struggles with his mom and her mental illness got him down at times, but he just kept on living. He was definitely an old soul.

Annalise was a troubled young woman. A very strained home life led her to self-abuse and depression that kept her down. She became so beaten down. My heart broke for her.

Logan and Anna found common ground because of their families. Logan wore his heart on his sleeve. He gave his all when it came to Anna, but she just struggled with those same things.

This is their story of first love. It’s special, and wonderful but also trying and sad. There are all different loves in your life; some fleeting, some permanent, but all leave their mark.
July 10, 2018
Can't even begin to tell you...

This book is beyond anything I have ever read before. This is the hardest review I have ever written because I want it to be the best. Besides the usual I laughed, I cried stuff that many reviews hold, this book touched me. It reached down deep and found my soul full of memories as a teen and guilt as a parent. It was so well written. I'm out of words and rendered speechless now.
Profile Image for Michaela Zankl.
448 reviews2 followers
February 11, 2018
Absolutely incredible!!!

This book is so much more than a Young Adult Novel. Its a reflection of all of us...Our struggles, our happiness, our strength to move on from disappointments to be a stronger person. I can easily identify myself with the characters because I've been there and I still am. One thing I learned from this book is, that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. It lingers in all of us in one shape or form, some just struggle more than others. In the end we learn to cope with our feelings and learn from the experience.
On a personal note. I will gift this book to my teenage daughter. As a recovering addict who struggles with self esteem issues I think she can learn a lot from this book and hopefully take some great feedback with her.
This book made me look back at my teenage years, laugh and cry. I was barely into the first chapter when tears already took over. What an incredible read for all ages.

Thank you Christopher Harlan for sharing your words. You are an incredible writer and its an honor to read your books. Away from Here is beyond of what I expected. You have touched me in so many ways with your words I can't fully grasp it quite yet. What an amazing and heartfelt novel. A must read!
Profile Image for Susan   Hubbard.
27 reviews
Want to read
February 16, 2018
Logan a seventeen year old officially but has had to become an adult and take on responsabilities because of circumstances in his life. He would like nothing but to be a typical teen, hanging out with friends and doing the normal things that teens do, and he is dreaming of a certain girl from school that he thinks is the most beautiful girl he’s every seen. Then one day fate throws Logan together with Annilese his dream girl. Away from here is such a tender and moving teen love story showing what it’s like in the real world. Anyone with a heart and compassion should read this and love it as much as I did. Christopher Harlan is right on the mark wi h this one
Profile Image for Monica Cruz.
63 reviews17 followers
April 4, 2018
Such a wonderfully written book!! A must read for all ages.
Profile Image for Ann.
516 reviews12 followers
February 20, 2018
This is such a funny yet poignant story about two young people from dysfunctional families who fall in love.
It will make you laugh even though you feel like you could cry for Logan and Annelise.
The story is told from Logan's perspective, growing up through his awkward teenage years and how he knows from the very beginning that Annelise is the one for him.
What can I say apart from, "Potato."?
Profile Image for Teri Ditchman.
183 reviews1 follower
February 16, 2018
A great story. Characters are written so well, they seem like they are your friends. The emotions are written so well, made me smile and cry, depending on what was going on. I know this was written from the heart by the author. Loved it! Would definitely recommend it to anyone, you will identify with some part of the story.
Profile Image for Monica Murphy.
272 reviews14 followers
March 2, 2018
It has been a while since I have read a YA book. I enjoyed it, and I think the subject matter is something that most people can relate to. According to Logan (the narrator of the story), I myself am a member of the KSPC. It is extremely difficult to grow up with a family member having any sort of illness, but to try and navigate it yourself, while still being a teenager is ten times worse. And this is what this story is about.
80 reviews
February 7, 2018
This has been my favorite of Christopher’s books so far. I loved the story so much. I highlighted more quotes and passages in this book than I have in any other. Definitely a must read.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 128 reviews

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