This book is advertised as a breezy summer read, but it’s not. It’s much more than that. The From-Aways by CJ Hauser actually has depth to it, and wit. The story reads a bit slow at first. But fifty pages in, around Chapter 6, the characters wake up, and I was hooked; the more I read, the more I wanted to keep reading.
Hauser displays some pretty impressive writing skills. There were more than a few lines that had me chuckling or thinking or mm-hmming or admiring:
“The ground inside rattles with gravel. Rosie lies down and stares up at the steely forest buzzing around her. I lie down too because she’s f*cking crazy and I might want to get close to that.”
Once it gets going, the story moves along effortlessly. And the characters, especially the female ones, are very engaging. They are unique and alive, entertaining and funny. Quinn is one of the best characters I’ve ever seen in (read from?) a novel. She’s opinionated and irreverent, crass, but surprisingly tender and protective. She’s solid. Honest. She feels like a complete character to me, someone I can imagine meeting (and would want to meet) in real life.
I think that’s what I appreciate most about this book: the realness, the honesty. I like characters who are who they are and who don’t apologize for it. These characters know themselves, for better or for worse, and when Hauser lets me peep into their world, I feel like she’s letting me see the whole intimate picture.
Ultimately, this was a wonderful read–especially for a book that initially had me thinking it was going to be a chore to slog through. Even the ending, which was just slightly more melodramatic than I think it needed to be, was still satisfying and complete. I loved this book, and I look forward to reading whatever Hauser decides to publish in the future.