Published by Harlequin Enterprises, Limited, Harlequin Teen on July 29, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Five strangers. Countless adventures.One epic way to get lost.
Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.
There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.
Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.
FIRST DATE: I’ve always loved road trip books. Books that take not just the reader somewhere else but the characters are on the move in one way or another. They make me want to travel (or, at the very least, leave the house and my comfort zone). The Harlequin Teen team talked up this book and author (who’s adorable, btw) big-time at BEA and even had a Bug wrapped in the book’s cover (pretty cool — hey, Harlequin Teen, I’d be more than happy to take that car off your hands and drive it around the country for a bit!). And, yanno, I didn’t mind being set up on a blind date with this cute road trip book!
SECOND DATE: The thing about this story is it’s told in an unusual way. We don’t actually hear from our main character, Leila the driver of the car, until the very last section. Instead, we get to see her and travel along the story’s roads through the eyes of people she meets along the way. Even though the four people who help tell Leila’s story aren’t technically the main characters — they’re just asteroids traveling along Leila’s route for a short time — they more like MCs than secondary characters, probably because we get to read their point of view. Leila’s traveling north, headed up to see the Northern Lights. Of course, there’s more to it, though we don’t learn what until Leila’s section, which allows for just enough tension to keep us propelled forward to the end. There’s also just enough romance running through the story to keep romantics enraptured.
THIRD DATE: We don’t always realize the impact we have on people, especially because said people don’t always tell us and most of us aren’t big-headed enough to think that we changed someone’s life just by being present. (though I always have an impact on people. *flicks spot of lint of shoulder* because I’m awesome. *snort* Right.) Not only does Leila have an impact on those who ride in her car, they help her figure out what she really wants (spoiler: it isn’t just seeing the Northern Lights) and give her new perspective on life. If only all dates did that. Oh, wait. They do. They help refine that list of “What I do/don’t want in a date” (do: own transportation, a job; don’t: ear hair, wedding band).
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