Book review | As far as you’ll take me, Phil Stamper

Book description

The author of The Gravity of Us crafts another heartfelt coming-of-age story about finding the people who become your home–perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli

Marty arrives in London with nothing but his oboe and some savings from his summer job, but he’s excited to start his new life–where he’s no longer the closeted, shy kid who slips under the radar and is free to explore his sexuality without his parents’ disapproval.

From the outside, Marty’s life looks like a perfect fantasy: in the span of a few weeks, he’s made new friends, he’s getting closer with his first ever boyfriend, and he’s even traveling around Europe. But Marty knows he can’t keep up the facade. He hasn’t spoken to his parents since he arrived, he’s tearing through his meager savings, his homesickness and anxiety are getting worse and worse, and he hasn’t even come close to landing the job of his dreams. Will Marty be able to find a place that feels like home?

Note : 4 sur 5.

Some infos

  • Genre: Young adult contemporary fiction.
  • Pages: 320 pages.
  • Available in: Hardcover, paperback, audiobook & ebook.
  • Release date: 9th February 2020.

CWs & TWs

Eating disorder, Panic attacks, Anxiety, homophobia, toxic relationships, fatphobia, Religious bigotry, sexual content (not graphic)


Chubby, gay MC. Mlm side characters. Black flf side character

Tropes involved

Coming-of-age, found family

Thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury for sending a digital copy of this book to me, in exchange for an honest review

My review

What an inspirational coming-of-age story! I picked this one up because I am, myself, very fond of travels and I changed my life moving far from home at the same age as him. This is the kind of story I would have loved to read at this moment because I needed it. And thinking about the fact young people will be able to read it and that it will maybe help them in their lives and decisions makes me very happy. I really liked reading it now, for it gave me some perspective on my own experiences and the story carries some very interesting messages that need to be talked about. The plot, the characters and the whole settings of the book create a wholesome and beautiful story that I would love for more people to read.

I’ve just gotten a taste of freedom, of being comfortable with myself, and for once I don’t want to be careful.

The writing style has something very cinematographic to it. I haven’t read The Gravity of us by the same author, so I won’t be able to tell you if it is specific to their ways of telling stories or just this book in particular. I really could imagine the scenes I was reading, in the way it is full of details but we stay in the point of view of the main character. In this way, there aren’t too many details, just the perfect amount, and it is for me a great example of the show don’t tell a lot of people adore. But this side also has its limits. In the settings itself, everything is very visual, which is great since the story deals with travels, London, Italy and others. But on another hand, we have some very explicative dialogues, which gave me the impression of a maybe too big contrast between the writing and the story itself.

I play the first note of the piece and wonder if we’re any different from the ads. Trying to stand out when everyone wants you to fade away.

It is a plot character-driven, all the way, but not specifically by the main character. This kind of gave me an impression of a long second act when the beginning was highly rhythmic. The main character evolves a lot through the story, in a lot of different aspects. He learns how to come out of age, how to open himself to the world and to new experiences after living in a tense and traumatic place all his life. He now has the chance and opportunity to be himself, openly gay and happy, but of course, life happens. And life sucks, for a lot of reasons. And in this way, the character development is very well made, even if I am kind of disappointed by some of the major dramatic points of the story, that I would have expected to be harder on the main character. Because I feel like the main changes in the character are driven by sometimes too-small events if it makes sense. For the other characters, what I truly love is their million shades of grey. We don’t have flat people, good or bad. But we have in-betweens, good people making bad choices, shady people having redemptions but not forgiveness, and a protagonist who navigates between all of them and learn how important having perspective actually is. There is also a bit of romance in this book, which I won’t talk about not to spoil anything, because the romance itself is here to deliver a strong message: what first love is supposed to be like, what are the limits of a relationship, how important it is to learn what we like and don’t like.

There is nothing, in all of life’s existence, more putrid than instant coffee.

I loved all the messages behind the story, about our body image, toxic relationship and how to emancipate. Body image is treated through eating disorders (side note, please authors put the warnings at the start of a novel because I have been highly triggered and some sides of the story put me in a bad state – anyway) and it is very well done. What I mean is, the author not only build a character with anxiety and eating disorders, but he gives us some kind of context. The eating disorder is led and related to the toxic relationship he sadly experiences, and once he realises he is on a loop he can start getting better. Which is the hardest thing to do, even more at such a young age. But it makes the emancipation of the character even more wholesome. Because Marty not only learns how to end toxic relationships but also how to say no, or even when to forgive or not to forgive people we love on their mistakes.

Aren’t things ever just okay? Can’t people fall out, but not fall apart?

I got addicted to this story and its characters. Even if the second part was a bit longer and I did not find some events strong enough, this book delivers messages that are highly important for the younger generation. Learn how to take control of your life by saying no or, on another hand, saying yes to opportunities. I highly recommend this one, even more, if you like the found family trope!

Check out this author’s site !

Have you guys read this book? I wasn’t expecting something this deep and wholesome, and it made me so very happy.

As always, thank you so much for reading and supporting me! If you are looking for more bookish content you can also follow me on Instagram or check out my Ko-Fi page, on which you can give me a little tip if you want to support me furthermore!

Have a nice and beautiful day, and sweet sweet reads!

2 commentaires sur “Book review | As far as you’ll take me, Phil Stamper

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