Friday, December 6, 2013

Blog Tour Close: In the Middle of Nowhere by Julie Ann Knudsen

Today brings to a conclusion the blog tour for In the Middle of Nowhere by Julie Ann Knudsen.  It's been fantastic seeing this sweet, YA romance get some air time.  We hope you've enjoyed learning a little more about the book and the author.  

If you haven't already be sure to enter the giveaway before the end of the tour!

Oh and book two Somewhere at Last is available now.  You get to see a whole lot more Michael and it is a wonderful continuation of this story so be sure to check it out.

Title: In the Middle of Nowhere
Author: Julie Ann Knudsen
Genre: Contemporary YA
Publication Date: April 2012
Event organized by: Into the Night Reviews

A teenage girl. A broken heart. And a boy who tries to mend it.

Butterflies. Little, fluttering butterflies. That’s what fifteen-year-old Willow Flynn feels in the pit of her stomach every time the mysterious boy is near. But Willow has other things to contend with as she deals with the tragic loss of her father, as well as her emotionally preoccupied mother, while being uprooted to a new house, a new school, a new life, far away, on an island, in the middle of nowhere.

At the beginning of the school year, the sickly, but cute Michael sends Willow the first of many cryptic notes during homeroom. He stares at Willow and gives her the creeps. Michael never returns to school after that, but Willow ends up connecting with the poetic boy on-line where they strike up an unusual friendship.

As Willow attempts to fit in and find her niche in the ever-cliquey high school world, she is further confused by Michael who strives to win her over and mend her broken heart. But will he be able to, especially when his own existence remains so uncertain?

It was some time ago that I read In the Middle of Nowhere when I won a free copy of the book as part of an author interview and giveaway on Goodreads. It was really different to a lot of the books I've read and something about it has stayed with me. I was thrilled when Julie Ann and I started chatting about the prospect of a blog tour.

In the Middle of Nowhere tells the story of Willow who, along with her Mother and Brother James, moves to Pike’s Island, a small island in the Gulf of Maine’s Casco Bay. Willow’s father died unexpectedly five years earlier and Willow and her family are forced to move when her mother loses her job, and has to rely on the generosity of her brother for a roof over their heads – hence the move.

Willow tends to keep to herself and endures the freezing cold ferry ride to school each day. As the new girl in school she catches the eye of Michael, a ‘mysterious’ fellow student who seems to spend more time out of school than in it. She also forms a loose friendship with Tessa, and In the Middle of Nowhere tells the story about the development of these relationships as well as Willow’s life at home.

To be honest, I really didn’t warm to Willow. She made some incredibly poor choices and was extremely selfish a lot of the time – of course, she’s a 15-16 year old, so in that sense she was a great character. The first couple of ‘mistakes’ she made I cut her some slack, but after that I was kind of amazed that she would continue to make really silly choices.

Tessa was an interesting character who I actually felt quite sorry for. She was clearly lonely and looking for the attention that she wasn’t getting from her parents.

The relationship between Michael and Willow was quite sweet, but I would have liked to have had more direct ‘contact’ with Michael. He was a little bit absent for big chunks of the story, which for me, made the relationship aspect with Willow a little bit vague. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy and I would have liked to have learned a lot more about him.

I liked the ending and felt that Willow had actually grown a little bit, particularly in the relationship with her mother. It will be interesting to see what direction the next book in the series takes as there are plenty of opportunities for a great story from where it finished. Overall, In the Middle of Nowhere is an easy, sweet read.

3 out of 5 stars

Julie Ann Knudsen received her B.S. degree in Technical Writing from Clarkson University, but found that she preferred writing creatively, especially after penning the play for her children's drama club for many years. She lives with her husband and three children in Connecticut.

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Somewhere at Last
While adjusting to her new life on a tiny island, off the coast of Maine, sixteen-year-old Willow Flynn begins to enjoy the hot and carefree summer days most teenagers dream about.

Willow has only two priorities before the start of her junior year of high school: making money at her first real job and spending the rest of her free time with her boyfriend, Michael.

But dreams have a way of crashing, especially when a serious illness threatens the very survival of the boy she has come to love, the boy she’s begun to trust and the boy she cannot live without.

Julie Ann is offering two signed copies (one available internationally) and two ebook copies of In the Middle of Nowhere as a tour wide giveaway.

Click on the tour button below for the tour schedule