Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: Out of Reach by Carrie Arcos

Out of ReachOut of Reach
by Carrie Arcos
Hardcover, 250
Release date: October 16, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Purchase: Amazon | BookDepository
*Finished and signed copy received from author for an honest review.

Synopsis via Goodreads:
How do you find someone who doesn’t want to be found? A girl searches for her missing addict brother while confronting her own secrets in this darkly lyrical novel.

Rachel has always idolized her older brother Micah. He struggles with addiction, but she tells herself that he’s in control. And she almost believes it. Until the night that Micah doesn’t come home.

Rachel’s terrified—and she can’t help but feel responsible. She should have listened when Micah tried to confide in her. And she only feels more guilt when she receives an anonymous note telling her that Micah is nearby and in danger.

With nothing more to go on than hope and a slim lead, Rachel and Micah’s best friend, Tyler, begin the search. Along the way, Rachel will be forced to confront her own dark secrets, her growing attraction to Tyler…and the possibility that Micah may never come home.

~My Review~

A journey of realization, forgiveness, and finding a little romance along the way. Out of Reach gives a realistic look at how the dangers of substance abuse affects not only yourself but those around you. And Carrie captures the situation in straight-to-the-point verbage and unsugarcoated descriptions.

The book isn't just about the addiction, it explores the path in which it takes you. Homelessness,    giving sexual favors to purchase drugs, mental problems, and often times death. 
I like the way the story's told; Rachel spent the entire book in between searching for her brother while reflecting on life leading up to the day he left. It was a great way for readers to connect to the characters, Micah included. I could establish an idea of the kind of person he was from the details given by Rachel's memories. He seemed really protective of his sister, and wanted desperately to be the older brother she could look up to. In fact, it seems he left more so because he felt like he had let her down with his addiction and was too embarrassed about facing her or his parents. Rachel on the other hand kept her brother's secrets because she didn't want him to hate her. Whether or not she realized, Rachel was also protective of her brother and even of the fact that he had started doing drugs. 

The whole journey of finding Micah turned out to be one of Rachel learning to let him go, forgive him, and most of all forgive herself. All along she felt guilty about not doing enough for him, and even blamed herself for the seriousness of his substance abuse. If Tyler hadn't gone along with her I don't think she would've found closure because like Rachel, Tyler also thought he should've done more for Micah. At the end of their trip both acknowledged the truth, that they can only let him come to them on his own. 

While the overall story's relatable and refreshing in its own way from the fantasy flood, there were times it seemed prolonged. Aside from that, I enjoyed the book. I grieved with Rachel when every lead seemed futile, and whenever she heard new details regarding Micah's state. The writing, again, was precise and had me visualizing the scenes in a simple manner. It was an acceptable debut, but I'm not sure if the story will continue as the ending left me holding on. Or was that another point depicted about drug abuse, that you truly can't do anything else but wait for the one you care about to return to you.

About the Author
I live in Los Angeles, Eagle Rock, to be specific, though I can’t claim myself a native. Not many can. I’m from Albany, NY–which means I’m Italian and Irish on Dad’s side and English on Mom’s side. And most of the time this information may seem incidental, except that people tell me I feel more East coast than West. What they are trying to politely say is that I at times exhibit the New Yorker sass or attitude. This is fine by me.
I married a handsome Latino man, hence the last name. We have three children: boy, girl, boy. All have curly hair. All will tell you exactly what they think about Justin Bieber. All want to be artists someday.
I have worked as a sandwich designer, health food connoisseur, tutor, refugee resettler, citizenship instructor, and camp director. But the best job, other than writing, has been that of a teacher. I taught High School English and coached Cross Country and Track for a few years in primarily urban environments, and man, I miss those kids. Although it was always a little rough to get through early American literature because there was a piece we had to read with the word seaman in it. The boys lost it every time.
I ended up getting my masters in English and Creative Writing, which really was an excuse to write. But this eventually allowed me to teach college students. My husband was happy until he realized that there really isn’t any money in it, and I should go back to teaching high school, but not many schools will let you work part-time.
I love teaching college students. They’re kind of like high school students, but older.
Now I write and teach and feel sometimes like I’m standing outside of my life. You know when you’ve wanted something for a long time and then it happens? What do you do with that? Say thank you.


  1. Rachel sounds likes an incredibly strong and loving sister. Her journey sounds emotional and very brave. Thanks for the review. I think will see if my library carries this one.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  2. OMG I'm so eager to read this one. And I'm more than a bit jealous of your "finished and signed copy from author". ;)

    1. hehe that was a nice gift. Very unexpected. Hope you like it.

  3. This sounds like a really emotional, intense read, and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. I like that it sounds open-ended, too. I'm not the biggest fan of the nice, neat, and tidy happily ever afters, though I'm not entirely opposed to them, either. :P Great review, Shane!

  4. I love love love this cover!! And the book looks fantastic. So glad you enjoyed it.
    I hope I can read it someday soon!
    Happy reading!

  5. Lovely review, Shane! I'm happy to hear that this is a relatable book, that the characters were able to grow. It seems like a raw, dark contemporary! But I think I'll have to check it out soon, it sounds great!

  6. Fantastic review. This sounds intense yet extremely intriguing. Thanks for sharing.


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