Cover Image: As Far As You'll Take Me

As Far As You'll Take Me

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Member Reviews

This book was such a beautiful story with lots of heart. It felt very raw and relatable. I liked reading about Marty's coming -  of  - age story, because I think that everyone can relate to trying to find your people. Marty was really likeable and the story clipped along.
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Maybe I just had the wrong expectations going into this book, regardless I hated this. At first I hated it because for a book about a character leaving the US for the UK to try and make it as a musician, none of that was happening. Certainly not in the first third of the book that was set all on the day he arrived and instantly fell headover heels for the stranger that picked him up from the airport. What transpired next, the toxic relationship that formed with multiple instances of disordered eating that appeared on page with no kind of warning? I hated it. It wasn't even that I felt it was inappropriate content, just that the content was poorly executed. [ Though I did feel like if this content was going to appear then the author's note about his own journey about disordered eating should have been placed at the front of the book and not at the end after myself and other readers were triggered by the content. ] At every turn the book seemed to take a new turn down the toxic rabbit hole and then suddenly it was all over. There wasn't a payoff, it just seemed like we were getting to the end of the book so things needed to be good again even though there wasn't any reason for it to be. It just was. It was unresolved in the most unsatisfactory way. The way our main character ends the book feeling like he could be friends with his abusive boyfriend because the guy kinda sorta apologized int he vaguest way? It just... It didn't work for me and I certainly wouldn't want others to pick this up. Particularly if they were like me and thought they were going to get a lighthearted story where yes the main character is at a low point, but instead find themselves waist deep in a toxic and abusive relationship wherein there are no consequences and Marty doesn't really get any help... It's just not something I would tell my audience to pick up.
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Sadly, I just couldn't get into this one. Contemporaries are sometimes touch and go for me, so I think this is on me. The story didn't keep my interest enough to get past 20%.

However, I do think that this will be a great book for other people. It seems like a more character driven book, so if that's your thing, check it out!
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After enjoying Stamper’s debut so much where I couldn’t wait for his future work, this was extremely disappointing. Though I love the lgbt representation, I thought the romance was too of insta-lovey, as well as just hard to root for. I didn’t like our main character, the “big lie” in the book making it almost impossible to trust him. This was sadly not it for me, but I am holding out hope Stamper can succeed again.
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While there is a lot of potential for this title, unfortunately it fell flat.  I appreciate the attention to male eating disorders and the LGBTQIA+ representation, however, it was hard to connect with Marty or any of the characters really, and I never really felt like they were fully developed.  The pacing was also all over the place and I found myself skimming at times.
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I got an ARC of this book.

Only five months late with this ARC. I was putting it off both on purpose and by accident. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Stamper’s first book, so I was hesitant to read this despite how much everyone keeps recommending Stamper to me. I really tried, but this book just didn’t do it for me.

The cover doesn’t fit the MC. He is supposed to be chubby, but the cover doesn’t reflect that. Honestly the MC’s weight only comes up when it becomes a body image issue and then into full blown eating disorder. That is not the way I expected this book to go. It was not something I wanted to read, both because of how triggering that can be and because I generally just don’t enjoy reading stories about eating disorders unless they are REALLY well done. This was not really well done. It felt thrown in there a lot of the time.

The story dragged for me. I never felt engaged. I often found myself stopping to do random things like look up types of banjos (did you know there are many types of banjos. I really like the one that Rhiannon Giddens plays). This is amusing to me, because the MC was also supposed to google things all the time. I was told this over and over again, but the only times this was brought up was to say that the MC does it or to mention he did not do it. If I am told the character does it a lot, then I would like to be shown that detail.

The love plot made no sense. It felt like allo nonsense. The MC jumped on the first guy that smiled at him. There was no chemistry. There was no connection. He was warned away. I don’t get it. I really did not ship them. This was a similar issue I had in the other book too. I just don’t get why things are happening. There is only telling, no showing. The characters are flat.

So this was not a book for me, but it did lead me to delving into banjos more. So I guess that is a positive thing.
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There were some things that I didn't quite like about this book, but in the end this was a fun and sweet novel about a young adult finding himself and accepting himself.
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I love queer YAs so much, but this one didn't quite have the level of romance and excitement I was hoping for. It felt almost underdeveloped, which is a bummer because I absolutely love stories that take place outside of the United States. 3.5 for me on this one.
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I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for a review. 

This is the second of Phil Stamper’s books that I’ve now read and I’ll be honest I was a little underwhelmed. I went into this book expecting a nice London romance but found the romance to be a bit under developed and the rest of the plot too rushed. I want another 100pgs on this book so Phil can do more with it because it has so much potential! I loved the secondary plot to the romance and could have honestly just read the whole book about that. Or the coming out plot. Like we got a lot of options but the delivery just wasn’t quite what I was hoping for.
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Unfortunately, this one wasn't for me. I tried so hard to get into it, and I waited it out, but I found this one quite disappointing. I didn't feel particularly connected to any of the characters, nor to the storyline. The journal entries didn't really do anything for me, and although I'm glad the book explored a lot of different issues that typically aren't found in YA books, again, I didn't feel like it really delivered.
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Hmm... I thought this was an interesting read. I enjoyed that the ending was satisfactory and wrapped up nicely, but I went into this thinking it would be a bit more lighthearted and fun, and it was a bit darker than I expected. I like that the author touched on body image issues and how they relate to men, and think a lot of readers will relate to it, but that just wasn't why I wanted to read the book. Overall, it was a good read, but not what I expected.
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This coming of age book was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it to all my friends. Thank you for the arc
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Phil Stamper's writing is so fun, yet still manages to tackle serious coming-of-age struggles. I especially appreciated this book's attention to the prevalence of adolescent eating disorders.
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As Far As You’ll Take Me follows newly graduated Marty as he spends a parent-free summer in London staying with his cousin. His parents and aunt assume he’s there for a music program (that he was actually rejected from), but he spends his time travelling with his new friends and getting to know his first boyfriend. I enjoyed many of Marty’s interactions with the side characters. His relationships with his cousin and friends were really layered and interesting to read. The writing style was simple but I liked it for the most part. However, I think the dialogue felt stilted and unnatural at some points, like if I were to read it out loud it would fall flat. Like some others reviewers, I had assumed it would be a more light hearted coming of age book from the marketing of it. The book delved into some very serious topics, which isn’t bad, but I feel like it was way too much too fast. And despite the many problems Marty faces, the ending was quite conveniently wrapped up and felt unnatural to me. Overall, this book was not for me but I can still see why others enjoyed it.
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I don't know why I did not review this book when I read it. Here's what I remember: It was cute, but I found it hard to suspend disbelief that he'd just up and move to London when it is a ridiculously expensive place to live. I liked how the plot unfolded, but missed the fairy-godfathers that made How It All Blew Up so endearing.
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Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an e-arc!

I unfortunately dnf'd this about halfway through as the book was far heavier than I was expecting, and the writing style was hard to get through. The diary entries made it difficult to stay engaged with the main plot and I couldn't relate much with the main character.
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This book was just okay. I had such high hopes because I heard such great things about Phil Stamper's other book, The Gravity of Us, but this book did not really live up to the hype for me.

The story follows Marty, a teenage boy with religious parents who don't really accept that he's gay, who lies to his parents and goes to London for the summer under the guise that he will be staying with his aunt (when he is really going to be staying with his cousin without parental supervision). Marty is a talented oboeist and hopes to land a gig in London so he can continue to live there after the summer ends.

I didn't quite know what the book would be able before reading it, and I wasn't a fan of the music aspect of it. Besides playing clarinet mildly well through high school, I'm not that interested in playing instruments like the characters in this book are. That's more of a personal critique, though, and not everyone will have this issue.

Another part of this book that didn't work for me is the business. I felt that Phil Stamper tried to focus on too much. The book focused on toxic friendships, romance, being gay in a religious family, finding oneself, eating disorders, and music careers all at once. If the author focused on just a few of these aspects and really decided to dive deeper into them, I think this book would have had a bigger impact.

Besides that, I felt that a lot of things were not resolved the way I wanted them. For example, Marty's love interest, Pierce, uses him to gain prestige at the music academy he is in. But more than that, Pierce attempts to pressure Marty into having sex and yells at him and humiliates him when Marty says no. And for the rest of the book, Marty focuses on the fact that Pierce tried to use him, and not the fact that he humiliated him after he said no to having sex, which I feel is kind of a really big issue!? Especially because one of the other characters, Rio, admits to having heard the conversation happen from another room and never calls out Pierce for doing this either!?

Another example is the fact that Marty's best friend from back home outs him at a party and his other friend, Skye, just lets it happen!? And yes, I'm so happy Marty decided to ditch his friends from back home, even though it was hard, but they did not face any consequences for their actions at all!?

I also did not really like how Marty seemed to suddenly get an eating disorder and get over it just as fast. As someone who deals with disordered eating (not to the extent that Marty does, but still), I know that it didn't just start overnight, and took many years until it got to its worst. I wish the author dropped hints or showed Marty's thought patterns early in the book that wouldn't have made his eating disorder seem so sudden.

Lastly, I really did not like the inclusion of Marty's old journal entries. They were interspersed throughout the story, but in a different order, so I never understood the order of events. And the journal entries did not seem to make that much of a difference to the story, and I felt they could've been taken out entirely to make the story overall the same but less choppy.

While I have a lot of things to complain about, there were a few things I did like. The book was cute and all, and I loved the inclusion of a friendship breakup. But, as I mentioned before, I wished we saw more of this, but too much was going on :/
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I will always read something set in London.  I liked Marty and the guts that it takes to up and move to another country on a whim.  This was definitely a bit darker than I was expecting, but I enjoyed the story and the characters. 

**Huge thanks to Bloomsbury for providing the arc free of charge**
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<i>Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.</i>

I have quite a few mixed feelings on <i>As Far As You'll Take Me</i>. Although there were some really important themes explored, I'm not too sure I enjoyed the execution. It was a hard book to get into, with a weird combination of a slow beginning but also a shockingly fast insta-love relationship. This also made it really hard to get to know the characters. I felt like I couldn't connect to any of them, and at some points, I actively disliked a lot of the characters. There were also some things that seemed to be brushed over, like Marty's disordered eating habits, that really should have been explored more. 

However, there were still some genuine and enjoyable moments, which is why I gave this book 3 stars. I'm still not really sure what I think about it, since there were so many parts that were good and so many parts that could use improvement.
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First off, this book was recommended to me by a very dear friend and I was thrilled when I received the ability to read an advanced copy myself. I can say without a doubt that I was not disappointed by this book at all. 

I want to start with the cover of this book before I even get to what's under the cover. The image of the oboe drew me in instantly, even before I read the summary. As a musician and someone who's best friend played oboe in high school it made my nerdy self geek out and want to find out the story behind it!

As a reader that has read a lot of amazing YA contemporaries in the last year I adored Marty's story in this wonderfully written book. It gave me similar vibes to that of something like Simon Vs. The Homosapien's Agenda. A story about finding yourself and growing into who you are meant to be and who you really were all along always touches my heart and Marty's story felt so real and raw. You can't help but feel for Marty and what he's going through. If you are looking for your next read or want something to make you feel all the feels do your self a favor and pick this one up!
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