When I went to my conference in November, I attended a young adult literature panel in which two of my brother’s friends presented papers. His friend D talked about bi-erasure in YA lit and standards by which we should measure literature. It was a fascinating conference paper. In the question-and-answer time, I asked him if there was a book in which a bi character was depicted most positively. He suggested Tess Sharpe’s Far from You, and I was happy to give it a try.
Sophie is a recovering painkiller addict. For nine months, two weeks, and six days, she has been clean. But that’s not what everyone thinks. Four months ago, her best friend Mina was killed in what everyone believes was a drug deal gone awry. She’s been forced into rehab for an addiction she has already kicked. And she believes that Mina’s death was no accident. So it is up to her to piece together her broken life in her small town and discover the truth. At the same time, questions about her past mingle with her investigation, forcing her to confront the truth about herself.
This was an engaging mystery, and it was also an interesting exploration of sexuality and friendship in young adult literature. I’m accused of having gritty taste in young adult literature, and I’m definitely guilty of that. But this book balances the gritty with emotionally resonant relationships and backstory, which make it unique. I do think that it explores the complexities of bi-sexuality well by exploring the implications of being attracted to a person, regardless of gender, without being too prescriptive about it. Here’s hoping more books like this one will be published for teens of all sexualities and experiences.