Tabitha Suzuma writes some really powerful books. I first came across her name when Forbidden was published. So many people were talking about this wonderful consensual incest love story that I had to pick it up. And it shocked and surprised me how much I began to root for this unusual romantic couple.
So I picked up another of her books, this time about a young man struggling with the pressures of a prestigious music academy and manic depression called A Note of Madness and again she blew me away. I became determined to read Tabitha Suzuma's entire backlist as I'm intrigued and excited about where this author will take me next.
From Where I Stand is an unusual little book. It seems rather straight-forward at first glance - our main character, Raven witnesses the death of his mother and he's placed in a foster care. He's taken in by a great family, but he's so troubled and traumatised by the death of his mother that he can't really deal.
Despite being bullied at his new school and being befriended by Lotte, a girl in his class, all Raven really wants to do is gather some evidence in order to prove guilty the person he knows killed his mother. Despite her death being ruled as accidental, Raven has other ideas. So together, Raven and Lotte start their search.
I really didn't have a clue where this story was heading until the last third of the book. Then it becomes more obvious how much Raven has been affected by his mother's death. You start noticing some similarities between Raven's tormentors and the way in which Raven treats his ex-step father. There's this growing sense throughout the novel that Raven and Lotte are really in over their heads in the way the go about their investigation.
I wasn't sure what to make of Lotte at all. It's nice for Raven to have a friend, but it was constantly at the back of my mind that perhaps Lotte isn't as genuine as she makes out to be. I did however LOVE Ella, Raven's new little sister where he's staying. She was a really bright spot in this otherwise gritty and darkish thriller. Plus, everything takes place in West London, where I used to live. It's always nice to see familiar places.
On the whole, I enjoyed From Where I Stand. I really felt for Raven and wanted him to be happy in his new family but could really believe how broken he had become from what he had experienced. His quest for the truth and for some answers took me to a surprising place. I look forward to reading more books by Tabitha Suzuma!