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Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite
In the heart-rending novel, Nowhere Near Goodbye by Barbara Conrey, a young pre-teen's death affects the lives of her friends and family, and over two decades later, they strive to save others from experiencing the same fate. When Kate, eleven-year-old Emma Blake's best friend, dies of a brain tumor, Emma promises Kate's father Ned that she will find a cure for the disease that took away Kate's life. Dedicating her life to research, Emma sets every other aspect of her life aside, even her newborn daughter, Ali. With Ned pushing her to ignore her obligations to her family, Emma's myopic attitude towards her research causes her to neglect her responsibilities as a wife and mother. When her husband leaves her, taking Ali, and begins a new life without her, Emma is heartbroken, but even then, she still can't shake her obsession. Several years later in an unexpected turn of events, someone who Emma cherishes is on the brink of death, and the expertise she acquired over the years may be the only thing that stands between them and death. Had her obsession been justified? Was her absence from those she loves worth the cost?
Depicting the determination of an oncologist to find a cure for glioblastoma, Nowhere Near Goodbye by Barbara Conrey is an unforgettable and heartbreaking novel. Tragic and thought-provoking, the story moves from tragedy through sorrow and ultimately comes to a triumphant and happy ending. Because her tunnel vision concerning the cure for a dead friend overrode her love for her family, Emma's character was a little hard to understand and, at times, even like. However, in the end, her dedication was vindicated and made her more acceptable. And after considering Kate's comments at the beginning and end of the book, I had to wonder if she was influencing Emma from the other side. It is an intense and dramatic novel that will entertain those who enjoy gripping stories with moving plots and indomitable heroines.