The Destination Is On Your Left by Lauren Spieller (June 26)
Overview: Life hasn't been stable for Dessa since her family gave up life in Chattanooga, Tennessee at the end of seventh grade. Her new normal became living in an RV, never staying in any place longer than a week or two and always voting on where her future would go, not only with her family, but with the two others that made up their RV caravan. Now a graduated senior, Dessa hopes to change that. With a pending acceptance to UCLA on the table, Dessa is ready to move on to art school and stability, even if that means leaving her family and long term crush Cyrus behind. Overall: 4
Characters: 4 I enjoyed Dessa. She was a great character to lead the story and exhibited a lot of growth in character and independence as the story progressed. Seeing another Greek main character in YA made me happy. I also loved her mentor, a Santa Fe found artist, and a girl that could be called her new best friend who takes her out for a wild night in Oklahoma City. Both women's larger than life personalities fit the story.
The other high point for me was her unique family situation. Getting to see this found family of many different families was really cool to explore with her unique lifestyle. Though I wish I'd gotten to know her travel companions a bit better, it made for an interesting addition.
The only character I didn't love was Cyrus. Not that I have anything against him. I actually kinda like him as a character. My problem came with the underdeveloped, flightiness of their relationship that was never based firmly in anything for the reader.
Plot: 4 I love a good travel story to spice things up among the heavier contemporaries I tend to read. They always nail the fast paced, easy readingness that is addictive. While this RV, traveler story is more tied down than I'd anticipated, it still delivered on that traveler's sense of urgency.
Writing: 4 Was the book perfect? No. There were a lot of things that I would have loved to seen be developed more, particularly in the wider family dynamics, and, as I stated above, I found the Cyrus romance unnecessary (not every contemporary needs a romance), but it was a lot of fun to read and kept me totally engaged the entire time. I finished this one in one sitting. Perfectly timed for summer, it's an art and traveling rooted contemporary I'd recommend someone looking for a light read pick up!
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