Lynda reviews Out of Reach by Missy Johnson
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Andy and I had been best friends since we were eight-years old.
Watching him slowly fade away, ever closer to his final breath, made
me so incredibly angry. I knew there was nothing I could do to change it–I had given in to despair, but Andy had not. He had one last hand to play.
He wasn’t going to simply sit back and wait for Death to claim him–not Andy. He was going to live life until he couldn’t hold his eyes open any longer.
Andy didn’t want to die in some sterile hospital and asked me to take him and Emily to the beach. It would be our last road trip together.
Emily. Emily was a problem for me.
I harbored a secret that would have torn our friendship apart. I was in love with Andy’s girl, and had been since she’d walked into our sixth grade class, so many years ago.
So what kind of person am I? My best friend is dying, and it’s
awful–but my heart still aches for his girl. I hate myself for
thinking beyond Andy’s death and whether there could ever be a future for Emily and I, but I can’t help it.
I’m in love with her.
Tissues, anyone got a spare box or two.
Opening with Andy as the Prologue is powerful. It certainly sets the bar for the story. It makes you pause and think wow the road to reaching that peace would have been so horribly hard, but how strong is he for getting there, making it about making sure others are okay and not that he is inevitably going to die.
The feelings from all three main characters give this story a depth you wouldn’t normally get. Hearing the battle from different sides gives you so much more to process.
Andy, he’s so calm and accepting. He also knows his best friend is in love with his girlfriend.
“Andy cleared his throat. “So how long have you been in love with Em””
Andy both hates and accepts that Seth loves Em, he knows when he’s gone the best person he could ask for will look after her like he would, like she is his world. While he can, he wants to live out his last days living life through them and seeing his two best friends find each other. He’s so full of fun times and love, knowing he is going to die is heartbreaking, but he’s learnt to accept it.
Seth is the yang to Andy’s ying. Very much the opposite in fun loving personality. So it’s great to watch him pushed out of his comfort zones to help Andy cross things off the list. He’s also been in love with Em since the minute he met her.
“Spit it out Seth, it’s not like I can beat the shit out of you”
“Since the first day I saw her”.
Yet never has he “shown” it. Seth’s to loyal for that. He would never betray either of his best friends like that. Seth deals with the battle and loss of Andy differently to others. He internalises a lot to stay strong for others.
Emily has known both these boys for a long time. As the new awkward girl in town and class they befriend her and things naturally progress from there. There’s never drama between the three of them when it becomes Andy and Em and then Seth because the connection between all three is stronger then anything. When Em goes into downward spiral after Andy’s passing it’s Seth that brings her back.
I personally would have loved to see more after Andy story. Their everyday life and development of their relationship. All the ways they keep the memory of Andy alive. The ending is a nice touch,though predictable. While there is deep loss in this story the HEA is what I was hoping for. So never fear, while you will shed a tear, happiness is the ultimate goal of this book.
The live life to the fullest message is strong, how even when someone is gone there is always hope for the next day.
One thing that I didn’t like was the stereo typing of Aussies when they go cliff diving. That is not at all what we are all like, and this kind of stereo typing in a book just adds to the world perception of us.