I am back on the blog! ~tentatively and more review focused~
Which basically means that I don’t know what I’m doing but I enjoyed this book so much (The Map From Here to There by Emery Lord) and received it as a review copy (Thank you SO MUCH Bloomsbury Publishing) that I couldn’t help myself but rave a little about it.
And you know what ~ I loved this book and reviewing it means I’m saying you should probably read it too!
Note: This is the sequel to The Start of Me & You, see my review for that one HERE.
Acclaimed author Emery Lord crafts a gorgeous story of friendship and identity, daring to ask: What happens after happily ever after?
It’s senior year, and Paige Hancock is finally living her best life. She has a fun summer job, great friends, and a super charming boyfriend who totally gets her. But senior year also means big decisions. Weighing “the rest of her life,” Paige feels her anxiety begin to pervade every decision she makes. Everything is exactly how she always wanted it to be–how can she leave it all behind next year? In her head, she knows there is so much more to experience after high school. But in her heart, is it so terrible to want everything to stay the same forever?
Emery Lord’s award-winning storytelling shines with lovable characters and heartfelt exploration of life’s most important questions.
Rating: ★★★★★ (4.75/5)
Can I just say – can I just BEGIN by applauding the fact that when I started reading this, it was like The Start of Me & You had never ended.
As part of my OWL’s Readathon, I reread The Start of Me & You and jumped straight into The Map From Here To There, and it was honestly like I never left. Not to mention that this book was published 5 years ago – which makes this so satisfying in of itself that we got a sequel.
The Map From Here to There continues from the ending of its predecessor where Paige is now in her final year of high school and is having to come to terms with many important decisions coming up. Those being which college to apply for and how that will affect her relationship with Max, as well as her friendships.
I related so much to Paige in this book, even more than the first because in The Start of Me & You, we have Paige overcoming an unusual type of grief but in this one, the story explores how she must deal with the scary events of change as she looks to the future. As someone who also suffers from anxiety, this book really touched me. I could relate to her thought patterns, her habit to overthink and jump to the horrible cynical ending that may happen. Emery Lord’s writing was on point and this book made me shed tears because it was so full of emotion.
Paige’s character development was front and centre, and so well explained, but I also got to enjoy meeting more characters and also seeing further development in existing side-characters. Nothing felt rushed and everything felt rushed in that I needed to keep reading this book and I couldn’t put it down until I could see the light at the end of my bookish corner’s tunnel.
When it came to the plot’s structure, there’s only one way to explain it. It was messy and an anxious mess – and I knew by the end of the book that, that, was the whole point of it. Paige and her friends all had to come to terms that nothing in life will always be perfect or go according to plan but that you can survive it and that things will be okay.
Even though I’m not a huge fan of love triangles, this book just showed it to me so elegantly in a non-aversive way. I finished the book left wanting more answers and hoping to meet these characters again.
Something that I personally feel is most important about this book is that no matter whether other readers my age (adults) think this has too many tropes and the themes are overdone – this book was written for a teenage audience and I have to appreciate that.
I can only imagine how many young girls like Paige will likely go through similar situations to do with college and how it’ll affect their relationships (romantic or platonic) and how to deal with such big changes when everyone is telling you that you’re making one of the biggest decisions in your life, not mention while suffering from anxiety no the daily. I was told the same thing when I had to figure out what degree to study in my final year of high school.
I was listening to a podcast last night about how YA has seen big changes in the last decade as the market has opened up drastically, and one of those changes is that almost half, if not more, of YA readers, are adults. Unfortunately, this has definitely affected the market. Some books I have read, I totally think either; well that’s way too immature or stupid for a 16-year-old to do, or how can they speak so well and I sometimes can’t even order pizza properly over the phone? YA has become so popular that sometimes content aimed at teens and representing teens can be either left out or pushed to the side. Let’s not even get started on the debate and the controversy of New Adult today.
So I think, a contemporary YA novel like this, which deals with a messy, unpredictable and highly emotional situation relevant to finishing high school, makes this so impactful for the audience YA has traditionally be aimed at – teenagers and young adults.
Overall, I have to say I loved it. The writing was beautiful, the story was heart-wrenching and hit close to home. If you have read The Start of Me & You, even if you didn’t enjoy it, I’d recommend you pick this sequel and give it a go – then tell me what you thought!
What did you think of this one if you’ve already read it?
Until next time,