TGIF! I’m not sure why but this week has felt so incredibly long. I’m beyond excited that the weekend is finally upon us because I’m so ready for some downtime. I don’t read much YA anymore but I still have a few authors that if they write YA, I’m going to read it. Emma Lord and Lynn Painter are two of those authors and they both have new novels either out or coming out soon so this week I actually have two YA reviews to share with you.
The Getaway List Goodreads
Author: Emma Lord
Publication Date: January 23, 2024
Publisher: Wednesday Books
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Wednesday Books via Netgalley and a complimentary ALC from Macmillan Audio. All opinions are my own.
With her latest novel, Emma Lord has penned one of the most relatable coming of age stories I’ve ever read. She perfectly captures what I think is a pretty universal experience for most young people as they turn 18, graduate from high school, and look to leave home and find their path forward as adults, in some cases, before their parents are really ready to let them go.
Riley finds herself in just such a situation when we meet her on her graduation day. She has been following a path her mom laid out for her but then fails to get into any of the colleges she applied to. Her mom is pushing her to go ahead and at least start community college, but Riley just isn’t feeling it and after some awkward exchanges with her mother where she really has to stress the fact that she is now an adult, Riley finally just tells her that she is going to NYC to see her childhood best friend, Tom, and to think about what she wants.
I loved seeing Riley re-connect with Tom. Their bond was clearly a special one and I especially loved that they still had this “getaway list” they had written years before and that they were now determined to actually complete the items on the list. Not only does this list help facilitate Riley & Tom’s re-connection but it also introduces Riley to several wonderful new friends who become like family for her. And while the list and its antics are meant to be fun, they also start to open Riley’s eyes and give her some concrete thoughts about what she might like her future to look like.
There is also a sweet romance brewing as Riley realizes she may have more than just friendly feelings for Tom, but at its heart, The Getaway List is really about Riley’s personal journey and Emma Lord has delivered her readers yet another gem of a read.
I alternated between the physical copy & the audiobook. The audiobook was narrated by Norma Butikofer who did a great job capturing both the fun and the soul searching vibes of Riley’s journey. I enjoyed both formats immensely! 4.5 STARS
Betting on You Goodreads
Author: Lynn Painter
Publication Date: November 28, 2023
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Lynn Painter is the queen of witty banter and I’m a big fan of her books because I just know I’m going to have a good time while reading them. For that reason, even though I don’t read much YA anymore, I’ll always make an exception for Painter. Betting on You is her latest YA book, and although not my favorite because that will always be Better Than the Movies, it was still an enjoyable read for me.
Charlie and Bailey first meet on a flight to Nebraska. Bailey’s parents are divorcing and her nerves are frayed anyway, but pretty much everything about Charlie rubs her the wrong way, particularly his cynical views about the world and relationships. By the time the flight lands, she really hopes she’ll never see this annoying guy again. Flashforward a few years and Bailey finds herself working at a waterpark with who of all people, Charlie of course. This time around though, she gives him a second chance and they actually become friends, even though Charlie’s “When Harry Met Sally” belief that male and female coworkers cannot be just friends tests her patience at times.
I really enjoyed Charlie and Bailey together. While that initial plane ride had some hilarious moments just because Charlie annoyed Bailey so much, I definitely preferred to see the two of them bonding. It turns out that they are both parents of divorce. Charlie’s parents divorced a few years before Bailey’s so she is able to turn to him for advice or comfort whenever she’s feeling down about the changes taking place in her life.
Bailey also turns to Charlie for help when she decides she wants to break up her mom’s new relationship. I have to admit that as a child of divorce myself, while I found Bailey’s fear of change very relatable, I was not the biggest fan of her trying to sabotage her mom’s happiness, especially since the guy in question seemed like such a good one. The whole scenario does offer the opportunity for personal growth while we wait for Bailey to realize this too, which I liked, but I guess as an older and maybe wiser (haha!) reader, I just wanted to scream at her to just let her mom be happy.
Even with that issue though, I still overall really enjoyed reading about Charlie and Bailey and the changing dynamic of their own relationship. As always, Painter’s banter is on point, and she uses some of my favorite romance tropes to bring their story to life, including a little fake dating and of course friends to lovers. Betting on You is another solid YA read from Painter and the perfect read for anyone who enjoys the tropes I mentioned or stories that have When Harry Met Sally vibes. 4 STARS