Wendy Darling's Reviews > From Where I Stand

From Where I Stand by Tabitha Suzuma
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May 26, 2011

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bookshelves: realistic-fiction, read-2011, young-adult, asian, uk
Read in May, 2011

After being so moved by Tabitha Suzuma's incredible Forbidden, I was very interested in finding more books by this author. It's hard to engage readers intellectually and emotionally when you're tackling such touchy subjects, but the author managed to do so with extraordinary grace and dignity. None of her other four novels are currently available stateside, but thanks to the fabulous Book Depository I managed to get them all in my hot little hands from the U.K. at a very reasonable price.

The first thing I should mention right off the bat is that From Where I Stand is definitely a book for readers in the younger end of the 12 - 18 YA spectrum. This took me by surprise after the rather adult nature of Forbidden, so it took me awhile to adjust to the somewhat simpler framework and characterizations of this novel. Raven is a troubled foster child who thinks that his mother was murdered, and he's on a mission to find justice for her even as he struggles to adjust to a life with new foster parents and a new school.

The author touches on a lot of subjects here, including abandonment, bullying, murder, suicide, and self-mutilation, in addition to all the usual teens-in-trouble types of problems such as anger, isolation, resentment, despair, and loneliness. Given that the protagonist is only 14 (and presumably, the book's intended audience is young as well), it's hard to delve into those subjects with a satisfying degree of depth or detail. As I was reading it, I kept thinking how similar the set-up and feel are to The Great Gilly Hopkins, a book I liked a lot as a pre-teen, except that of course, this one is much more dark and urban. I would say that the narrative, while certainly riddled with more immediate obstacles than Gilly's, is not too far off in what it explores and what it does not.

The book is overall pretty well-written, although I have to say that after awhile Raven's gullibility and tendency to dissolve into tears became a little repetitive. He has a lot of reasons to be upset, but some of that has to be balanced with initiative and strength of character in order to keep the reader's sympathy. Still, it's a book that younger teens may find very compelling for its subject matter. And I'm still eager to try out the author's other books.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Nic (new)

Nic Great review Wendy! I want to try her other titles as well :)

Wendy Darling Thanks Nic! It'll be interesting to see what they're like.

message 3: by Joshua (new) - added it

Joshua Boiser nice review! where did you find an epub copy of this one?

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