Reviews

When I Am Through with You, by Stephanie Kuehn

herwitchiness's review against another edition

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4.0

3.5, rounded up to 4/5.
I wouldn’t call this torture porn as someone did. Not enough awful stuff happened for that label, and falling asleep to it on audio didn’t cause disturbing dreams, though this doesn’t mean it wasn’t disturbing at times, because it definitely was. I enjoyed it, but it was dark and pretty fucked up in parts. Am I gonna read it again? No. Am I gonna recommend it to friends? Only if they’re very specific in what they ask for, hahah. It reminded me, oddly enough, of Far Cry 5 but with teenagers. It was clearly inspired by Lord of the Flies, but with more humanity and I gotta say I love that idea, but Libba Bray did it better with her “Beauty Queens.” All in all, I don’t regret this read, but it definitely wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I guess I hoped for a whodunnit or a false sense of reality rather than a slasher with more heart, but whatever. I’ve read worse, far worse. Ok, I reread the ending bc I’d been half asleep and all I can say is, “hm, ok. I get it. But damn? But yeah, I get it. Sepsis would’ve been far worse.” And honestly? It’s a great way to spark debate in teens about the Death with Dignity acts that various countries and states have. I’m pro, as I’m fairly certain this review shows. I’ve experienced too much mental and physical pain to not find those acts & laws necessary considering all the ways our bodies can turn against themselves & make dying the furthest thing from natural causes anyway. Rose was dead already by the final gunshot she experienced. She chose that end herself & that was made clear, but she was too weak & near death (still hours away, though, but inevitable even in a hospital once that far gone) to do it herself. So, he did. As many doctors have done in the form of a medical cocktail they “accidentally” leave in terminal patients rooms.

librarydose's review against another edition

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4.0

This was a great, addicting, tense thriller. Kuehn is a great, complex writer and doesn't get enough attention!

This is mature YA, featuring dark themes and teen characters who have sex like they're in an HBO series or something.

kalynreads's review against another edition

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4.0

A book about an unlikely group of high-schoolers on a camping trip with one of their teachers, when things go terribly wrong, due to their own over-the-top high schooler antics. This book was GOOD. I went into it thinking it was going to be one type of story, before quickly learning it wasn’t that at all. I was addicted to getting through chapter after chapter. Then, I thought I had it figured out for sure. Nope, totally flipped the switch on me. I was invested in this story. There were moments that just seemed a little TOO convenient and unrealistic, that I couldn’t suspend my disbelief, but overall, great book. I am very interested in reading more from this author.

cynsworkshop's review against another edition

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3.0

Character Driven Mystery | Review of “When I Am Through with You” (Review originally posted on Cyn's Workshop)

What’s very riveting about this novel is the approach the author has taken to build up the narrative. She starts off the story with the ending. Well, not necessarily, but she gives the reader glimpse of how the story is going to unfold. But the reader is going on a journey to discover what is going to happen with the characters. Their dynamics are rich, they have substance to them and explore who they are and what they mean to each other.

On the one hand that’s great because it brings the characters to life and makes them more realistic. On the other hand, this novel is about a very unhealthy relationship. It’s just a very toxic relationship that’s hard to watch unfold because Ben is a character who suffers, he suffers from such abuse and neglect from his mother and then there is Rose who is unlikable for many reasons: she acts entitled, and she’s manipulative. Ben is a pitiable character because he suffers physically and mentally from such a lack of self-loathing. He doesn’t think he’s worth anything, doesn’t think he deserves someone as beautiful as Rose because he is himself. And Rose, she can only be kind to him when she feels good. Otherwise, she works so hard to try to fix him because he’s so broken rather than doing what she needs to do to really help him: love him genuinely.

However, following the story, watching the mystery unfold. It’s clear Ben cares for his friends, for Rose, so as the story drives forward, the mystery continues to unfold and become something worth reading. The relationship was difficult to read sometimes, but it gives so much depth to who the characters are, creating a lot of tension to the story. And in their own way, the characters are trouble, each of them going through something, but they are also stupid making most of them, except Ben, unlikable. They distract from the overall enjoyment of the story, serving as nothing more than plot devices to move the story to its inevitable climax. The other characters are really the biggest downside to the novel only because, as troubles as they are, giving them a semblance of depth, they are incredibly stupid.

Overall though, it has enough tension and mystery to keep the reader engrossed in the happenings of the as the events unfold to reveal the eventual outcome. (★★★☆☆ | B-)

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library_brandy's review against another edition

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4.0

In spite of his inexperience, Ben's teacher asks him to help out with the orienteering club. By October, the team is heading up a mountain for their first trip. Four days later, a few hike out. Some of them never will. And at least one of them is Ben's fault.

This isn't a tense, creepy thriller, but it's a thriller nonetheless. Some of it is teens being teens, but also teens being people with conflicting desires and needs and issues. Teens weighing their own desires against what they believe is love, or help, or codependency.

Worth a read, especially for fans of Into Thin Air or other mountain-survival stories.

samesfoley's review against another edition

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4.0

This review can also be found on my blog.

This found its way onto my TBR after Rachel’s five-star review of it, and I’m thankful I let her guide my decision to read it instead of paying attention to the relatively poor rating it has on Goodreads. First and foremost, it’s important to remember that this is a YA thriller and to adjust expectations accordingly. I wasn’t going into this expecting a new and meaningful favorite; I went into this wanting to read something entertaining, which is what I got.

Tragedy is infinitely more interesting than bliss. That’s the allure of self-destruction. Or so I’ve found.

The reader knows from the outset that one of the main characters will die, but we have no way of knowing how, when, or why. The tension in the novel slowly builds as the narrator unfurls the story of what happened. There were points where I felt things were a bit absurd in how dramatic they got, but by the last 15-20% I was fully hooked on wanting to know what would happen and thought the eventual reveals were really well-done.

“But even if he were my boyfriend, it wouldn’t be my fault that he’s an asshole.”
“I didn’t say it would be.”
“But you were thinking it, weren’t you? Everyone always blames women for the things men do. It’s why men never learn.”


In addition to being a solid thriller, I felt like the underlying commentary here was quite interesting. Without getting into spoilers, I’ll just briefly say that I think this book does a great job of showing the harm toxic relationships can cause while also demonstrating how difficult they can be to leave. There are multiple instances of these, both familial and romantic, and range from outright abuse to dependency. The messages conveyed are important and while the setting has a level of drama that doesn’t quite rise to realism, it’s still easy to see how they can be translated to real life.

That was noble, wasn’t it? To think of others first? I’d always told myself that, but doubt chewed at the edges of my certainty. Maybe the truth was that I preferred death to guilt.

One of my only complaints is that some of the background characters felt interchangeable and unnecessary, but I think the larger cast was necessary for the plot to progress the way it did. For the most part, though, this was a really solid thriller. It fully captured me and ended up being a good read. I’d definitely recommend it to those who enjoy the genre.

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lifeofaliterarynerd's review against another edition

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1.0

1.5 Stars
"Tragedy is infinitely more interesting than bliss. That's the allure of self-destruction. Or so I've found."

Oh, this book. I actually started out really liking it. I loved the mystery and I wanted a great thriller to read. Unfortunately, this book completely fell apart at the climax of the story and my interest nosedived. We follow Ben Gibson as he narrates what happened on a disastrous school trip that lead to death, pain, and loss.

Things I Liked
I really loved the short chapters it made it incredible easy to read, even when my interest in the story began to wane.

It was really easy to latch on Ben as a characters. It was easy to follow his POV in the story, and his emotions and uncertainty with everything that was happening.

Things I Didn't Like
I didn't like Rose at all. I thought she was entitled, manipulative, and not really a good girlfriend. (Ben wasn't that great of a boyfriend either, though)

The climax of the story shows the students making the stupidest decision possible. From that point on, I didn't care if they died, or got hurt, because they were so incredibly stupid. I lost interest in the story, and I honestly only finished it because it was easy to read.

I really wanted to like this, and while it has a solid start, the characters completely ruined the story for me. I'm a character driven reader, so if you like plot or action more you still might like this. And honestly, there wasn't much of a thriller, we know exactly what happened and are only learning the why - and like I said, the characters were largely idiots, so I didn't care. An unfortunate miss for me.

I received a copy of the book from Penguin's First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.

muhmegmar's review against another edition

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3.0

Ehhhhh. RTC

crowinator's review against another edition

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4.0

Actual rating: 3.5 stars

jjcrafts's review

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4.0

A twisty YA told through the main character recounting what happened during an school trip up a mountain and why he's now awaiting trial for murder. I LOVED Charm & Strange by this author which is why I picked this one up and there were a lot of similarities in tone but it worked. It's not a five star as I didn't really like any of the characters but it was an engrossing YA with a slowly unwinding story which I love.