(Review) How Far We Go and How Fast

How Far We Go and How Fast by Nora Decter
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Pages: 264 (paperback)
Genre: Young Adult
My Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

Sixteen-year-old Jolene, named after the girl in the Dolly Parton song, is from a long line of lowlifes, but at least they're musical lowlifes. Her mother is a tanning-salon manager who believes she can channel her karaoke habit into a professional singing career. Jolene's dad, a failed bass player, has gone back to the family demolition business and lives by the company motto: "We do not build things; we only tear them down." But Jolene and her big brother, Matt, are true musicians, writing songs together that make everything Jo hates about their lives matter less.

When Matt up and leaves in the middle of the night, Jo loses her only friend, her support system and the one person who made her feel cool. As it becomes clear that Matt is never coming back, Jo must use music to navigate her loss.

My Review:
I was looking for a sweet redemption story when I grabbed this one and was kind of granted my wish with it. Though the story starts out slow, it eventually picks up into something that somewhat kept my attention. 

Jolene is just...a sad character. Her brother left her and all she thinks about is how she can pawn stuff and how far it will get her. She doesn't go to school, but she pretends to be a student at a nearby college. There, she meets some "friends" and kind of comes back to life. 

But only a little. 

She struggles so much with her brother "leaving" that often times she doesn't even get out of bed. Even when her mother, who has never been a real mother, starts to get sober and get her life on track, Jolene still struggles. 

It isn't until over halfway through the book do you realize that Matt didn't just leave- he's dead. Jolene's behavior starts to make sense and it takes a real wake up call for her to get her act together. 

I did enjoy the last half of the book as I read about how Jolene was getting her life back on track. There are some great side characters in this book that you'll love more than Jolene, including her hot mess mom and new best friends. 

This was a nice little redemption story, even if it took a while to get to that point. Family and sibling dramas always call to me and this one was worth the read. Check it out in September.