Let’s Get Lost
Copy courtesy of Harlequin AUS via NetGalley
Leilia is on a mission to road trip north to Alaska and see the Northern Lights. On her travels she meets four teenagers and through her brief interaction with each, helps change the path of their lives.
First is Hudson, a 17yo who works in his father’s auto-repair shop in small town Minnesota. Leila brings her car to be fixed and Hudson promises to show her around, introduce her to some hidden treasures. He has a very important appointment the next day with the Dean of a university some 60 miles away about a full scholarship for a medical degree. But in spending one night with Leila, whom he is instantly attracted to, will Hudson risk everything for love?
And then there’s Bree, a teenage runaway who has been on the road for months. She left her sister’s oppressive rules and now she’s all about living life on a whim, travelling around and not obeying any rules. And occasionally, she shoplifts simply for the thrill. But when Bree goes one step too far, it might only be Leila who can mend things between her and her sister.
Elliott has just confessed to his best friend that he’s in love with her only for her not to feel the same way. Drunk and depressed after the prom, he’s in the middle of the road when Leila nearly runs him over. She decides that it’s time Elliott put some effort and in and went out to get the girl – just like they do in rom-coms.
Sonia lost her boyfriend of two years over six months ago. And now she thinks she might’ve been lucky enough to find love again but she’s at the wedding of her former boyfriend’s sister. His family means so much to her and she’s terrified of what their reaction might be, especially as her new love is pushing her to come clean and confess to everyone. Enter Leila to save the day….but only after a lot of running around first.
Now that she’s fixed things for others, it’s time for Leila to make it to Alaska and see these Northern Lights…because maybe they’re what she needs to fix herself.
I love a good road trip book so when I heard about this one being promoted at BEA a little while ago, I was always going to be keen to read it. And I did like it, but not as much as I expected to. I think this for me, was one of those books that was just good enough to keep reading but when I finished it, I began to see things that didn’t work for me, or how it might’ve been better. Firstly, Leila.
Leila is an epic portrayal of the MPDG and I’ve never read a book where the characterisation is as appallingly obvious as it is in this book. She’s “unique” and she exists solely to help people “embrace life” and she shows them what they truly want. It’s terribly brutal in the first section, with Hudson. Despite only knowing Hudson 2 minutes, she allows him to drive her car around the town, goes home with him for dinner and then sits in her car and waits outside after Hudson goes to bed. He has to be up early the next day to travel to a university but instead Hudson decides to sneak out and hang out with Leila some more. I’m not going to say what happens because it’s so damn obvious I don’t need to but the aftermath is Leila is smug and knows more about what Hudson wants than Hudson does and of course she had to show him and Hudson is a jerk.
I really didn’t enjoy Bree’s section, which involves a lot of stealing things and then getting arrested but without mentioning how Bree had survived as a runaway for so long, which I would’ve liked to know. And Elliott’s section was another raving mad MPDG moment that ended really inexplicably. I did like the interactions between Elliott and Leilia, which could be quite amusing at times but the whole mad goose chase was really trying and I don’t know how/why it ended the way it did? The reader never got to find out why that happened, after so much indicating the other way. And that’s kind of a pattern in this book, there’s so much that you aren’t told which becomes very disappointing.
I think I probably enjoyed Sonia’s section the best but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t without its issues. I think the border stuff is supposed to be funny but I find it hard to believe that people don’t make day trips from the US to Canada and have to cross over twice in a small time. Canada surely aren’t that paranoid about people coming back in to Canada? Surely they could have just told them a facsimile of the truth, which was they were going to a wedding in Canada and needed to get the rings. And bribing agents at the border with Tim Hortons donuts seems like trying to bribe the Colonel with some crumbed chicken or something. I just didn’t get it.
And then there was Leila’s story, which we finally get in the fifth and final section of the book but there was a lot that didn’t add up there either and things that you never found out. In one of the sections, Leila’s credit card is declined twice….but why? All of these characters are teenagers who get into a car with a stranger and drive around. It pretty much goes against everything anyone is ever taught, even if the person driving the car is a seventeen year old girl. She’s picking up strangers as well, not to mention undertaking a 4,268 mile (6,868km) trip on her own. For references sake, driving from Melbourne (where I live) to Perth (on the opposite side of our pretty large country) is about 3,418km. That’s almost exactly half of Leila’s trip so it’s basically driving from Melbourne to Perth and back. Hers is slightly different as there are more towns, etc to stop at but still. Holy crap that’s a long way, for anyone! Let alone a teen doing it alone.
I think I’d really have preferred this book if it were more about the road trip itself and Leila’s journey, rather than her inserting herself into the lives of randoms she meets along the way.
Book #161 of 2014