Abbie Emmons is a well-known authortuber whom I respect, so when I saw the ARC for this book, I just HAD to read it! Before starting this book, I only vaguely read the blurb and decided it was interesting, although I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Here’s the blurb:

Orca Monroe wants only one thing for her eighteenth birthday: to experience the Otherworld—the mysterious “mainland” across the sea that her father has forbidden her from visiting.

Growing up in a lighthouse on a remote island, Orca has lived isolated from the world… until one day when she finds a cell phone washed up on the beach. Orca has her first conversation with Jack Stevenson, a young man whose older brother, Adam, has gone missing after crashing his seaplane off the coast. Orca becomes Jack’s lifeline and his reason to hope that Adam is still alive. While her father is away, she scours the island for the missing pilot—determined to help Jack find his brother and prove to her father that she’s strong enough to take on the world.

One stormy night, Orca finds Adam Stevenson collapsed on her doorstep. As she nurses him back to health, she finds herself spellbound by his inquiring mind and rugged good looks. Simultaneously, Adam is captivated by her wild beauty and pure heart. But with a ten-year age gap between them—and her father’s determination to keep Orca protected from outsiders—Adam knows they can never be together.

Resigned to give Orca up, Adam returns to the mainland—but Jack refuses to leave her trapped at the lighthouse. Blind to the fact that his brother is in love with her, Jack offers to show Orca the world she’s always dreamed of. But when she leaves her island for the first time, Orca begins to realize that the mainland may hold more dark secrets than she ever imagined… and the two brothers she helped bring back together may be the very people she tears apart.

⭐⭐⭐💫 3.5

Different expectations

Am I being too cliché to start this review with: this book was “otherworldy”? *badam tsss*

No, but really. It was something else. Was it the best book I’ve ever read? Well, no, but I did enjoy it very much and I also appreciated the originality. It was definitely something I haven’t read before yet and THAT’S what makes it “otherworldy”.

I’m gonna be honest, I wasn’t really sure what genre to expect. At first it felt like I would literally be diving into another world (or, the “other” world) because of the title and a little bit because of the Fantasy-style font used on the bookcover. Because of that I had whole different expectations. In the end I would describe The Otherworld as a cute, wholesome YA romance.

Characters & worldbuilding

I felt pretty neutral about Orca, the main female protagonist. She was likeable I guess and I loved the moments she rebelled, but I couldn’t really wholeheartly connect with her? Adam was really nice though and I loved the contrast with his little brother, whom I loved in the beginning but kinda lost my respect at the end.

The worldbuilding did feel magical, despite it not being a fantasy, but was beautifully described through Abbie’s fine writing style! The story piqued my interest enough to keep on reading for sure, although it’s not as fast paced as I’m used to reading. If you like a cute and cozy romance, you’ll definitely like it. I personally would have loved it more if it was a slowburn romance, because now the “love” didn’t feel like love at all (according to psychologie, it can’t even be: we call this “attraction”). Which made every deep meanings discussed throughout the book… Kinda… Flat.

But… I always keep in mind that this is, ofcourse, fiction. So because the story itself was pretty cute, I forgive it.

The verdict

All with all: a solid 3.5 stars. (But I can’t round it up to 4, sorry.)

Big thanks to Netgalley/Abbie Emmons for the ARC in exchange of my honest review! 💙