Monday, May 12, 2014

Release Day Blitz: Out of Reach by Missy Johnson

Title: Out of Reach 
Author: Missy Johnson
Release Date: May 8, 2014

My best friend was dying and I was in love with his girl.

Andy and I had been best friends since we were eight-years old.

Watching him slowly fade away, ever closer to his final breath, made me so incredibly angry. I knew there was nothing I could do to change it--I had given in to despair, but Andy had not. He had one last hand to play.

He wasn't going to simply sit back and wait for Death to claim him--not Andy. He was going to live life until he couldn't hold his eyes open any longer.

Andy didn't want to die in some sterile hospital and asked me to take him and Emily to the beach. It would be our last road trip together.

Emily. Emily was a problem for me.

I harbored a secret that would have torn our friendship apart. I was in love with Andy's girl, and had been since she'd walked into our sixth grade class, so many years ago.

So what kind of person am I? My best friend is dying, and it's awful--but my heart still aches for his girl. I hate myself for thinking beyond Andy's death and whether there could ever be a future for Emily and I, but I can't help it.

I'm in love with her.


4 Star Review by Jen Hagen

Andy is 23 years old and is dying from cancer.  He has been battling melanoma for 6 years and it has now metastasized into other organs, including his brain.  He is terminal and has at best a month left to live.  Andy has always been full of life and he intends to spend his last weeks on earth continuing to enjoy life.

Emily has been Andy’s girlfriend since the beginning of his diagnosis.  She has stood by his side and has lovingly taken care of him.  She has no family of her own as her parents were killed in a car accident when she was 14 years old.  The love from Andy’s family is very dear to Emily and she would never do anything to jeopardize the closest thing to family that she has.

Seth has been Andy’s best friend since they were kids.  Along the way he also fell in love with Emily, but it was Andy that made the move and stole Emily’s heart.  Besides having Andy as his best friend, Emily is also a very close friend.  The three of them have always been very tight with each other.  He has never spoken about his hidden love for Emily knowing that the uncovering of his secret would only create problems between the three of them. 

When it comes time to live out Andy’s final days, he doesn’t want to do that from the confines of his parent’s home; rather, he wants to live vicariously through his friends. Andy has a bucket list that he had started but never got to finish.  If he can’t carry out the tasks, he is going to have his two closest friends do it for him and he is going to film these last memories.  His hidden agenda is to make happy memories for Emily and Seth to have after he is gone.

Seth hasn’t done a very good job of hiding his deep love for Emily.  Andy is fully aware of it and besides having Seth and Emily live out his adventure fantasies, he wants Seth to know that he is to take care of Emily after he has passed away. 

Most people would probably think it was weird, me trying to hook up my girlfriend and my best friend, but with the exception of me, I couldn’t think of anyone who would love her and care for her the way she deserved to be cared – except him.

Andy has accepted his death, but it’s knowing that he is leaving Emily behind that scares him – I was going to miss her so much. Dying held no fear at all in comparison to losing her.             

After his death, will Seth and Emily be ready to move on from their grief of losing Andy or will his last wish be enough to push aside their guilt of wanting to be with each?

“He’s gone and I can’t love you, no matter how much I want to.  I just can’t!  Everything about you makes me think of him.”

I enjoyed reading this different play on a character’s death/dying and leaving a loved one behind.  I smiled at Andy’s antics and his ability to make everybody feel comfortable with his diagnosis and his inevitable death.  This was a quick read but don’t let that fool you about how powerful this story is.   Your emotions will be pulled out of you from the first page and you will spend the majority of your time wiping your eyes.

Missy lives in a small town in Central Victoria with her husband, and her confused pets (a dog who think she's a cat, a cat who thinks he's a get the picture).

When she's not writing, she can usually be found looking for something to read.


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