Title: A World Without You
Author: Beth Revis
Originally Published: July 19th 2016
Format: Paperback ARC
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Bo has always had delusions that he can travel through time. When he was ten, Bo claimed to have witnessed the Titanic hit an iceberg, and at fifteen, he found himself on a Civil War battlefield, horrified by the bodies surrounding him. So when his concerned parents send him to a school for troubled youth, Bo assumes he knows the truth: that he’s actually attending Berkshire Academy, a school for kids who, like Bo, have “superpowers.”
At Berkshire, Bo falls in love with Sofia, a quiet girl with a tragic past and the superpower of invisibility. Sofia helps Bo open up in a way he never has before. In turn, Bo provides comfort to Sofia, who lost her mother and two sisters at a very young age.
But even the strength of their love isn’t enough to help Sofia escape her deep depression. After she commits suicide, Bo is convinced that she’s not actually dead. He believes that she’s stuck somewhere in time — that he somehow left her in the past, and now it’s his job to save her.
A World Without You is told through two point of views:
1. Through Bo himself. Bo thinks he can time travel. He’s desperate to save his girlfriend from the past and he’s finding it hard to know what’s real and what’s not.
2. Through Bo’s sister – Phoebe. Phoebe was easier for me to relate to. She’s almost done with high school and everyone keeps asking her what she’s going to do next. She doesn’t know. She doesn’t even know if she wants to go to college. Right now she’s just trying to get through her every day life which she struggles with when her whole life seems to be falling apart at home.
A World Without You was kind of a mix between a sci-fi novel about time travel, and a contemporary novel about mental illness. Beth wrote so finely on the edge between those genres and honestly it messed me up. I was right there with Bo, finding it difficult to separate reality from what isn’t real.
The mental illness seemed to overall be portrayed very well. Bo has dissociations, which I’ve really never seen in fiction at all. She did a really good job of linking each character’s illness to what power Bo would think they have. Like pyromania = pyrokinesis, etc.
Though what I really loved about this book was the little things.
- Representation where many authors wouldn’t have even thought to include it. Several characters of color. One character had two dads. A little boy who’s more feminine than his grandfather likes and a sister who will gladly punch anyone who’s mean to the kid. Actual girls who are friends without talking about someone’s boyfriend. Beth Revis is wonderful at portraying characters you’d easily find in real life and that’s why her books will always be on my instant buy list.
- Doctor Who references. Beth said this book was inspired by DW, which I love. I loved that I could tell she’s also a fan. Each piece of this book that reminded me of DW was 10x as amazing. Honestly can she be the next writer for the show???
This book was one that I had trouble putting down, especially the last 100 pages. It was easy to read and the ending broke my heart. I’m very glad that this was one of the first books I read in 2016 and I hope others love it as much as I did.