YA Review: WHERE IT ALL LANDS by Jennie Wexler
Published by Wednesday Books on July 6, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult Fiction
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FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Jennie Wexler’s debut YA contemporary novel Where It All Lands is one of the more unique stories I’ve read recently. It’s a story about love, friendship, missed opportunities and second chances, and it’s about how something as simple as the flip of a coin can alter the course of a person’s journey.
The story follows three teens: new girl Stevie Rosenstein and Shane and Drew, who have been best friends forever. Both Shane and Drew find themselves drawn to Stevie and want to ask her out. They don’t want to step on each other’s toes though and have a girl come between their friendship, so they do what they always do when they need to resolve something and move on – they flip a coin. Whoever wins the coin flip gets to ask Stevie out and the loser steers clear.
It’s here that the story takes a unique turn because the author presents the rest of the story in a dual timeline: in one timeline, Shane has won the coin toss and becomes involved with Stevie and in the other timeline, Drew has won and it is he who gets to ask out Stevie. I have to admit I was a little nervous when I realized it was somewhat of a love triangle, but I really loved how the author presented the relationships in each timeline. She really fleshes out all three characters and shows how sometimes even the smallest choices people make can have a huge impact on their lives and the lives of those around them.
Even though it was the unique concept of the love triangle/coin flip dual timeline that drew me to this story, what really made me love it was the cast of characters. I adored Stevie, Shane, and Drew. I was particularly drawn to Stevie because she had spent her whole life moving from city to city because of her father’s job. Every time she makes friends, she immediately has to pack up and move. She’s lonely and at this point in her life is hesitant to even bother trying to make new friends. I felt so bad for her and was immediately rooting for her to find some great friends and convince her dad to settle in one place so she can put down roots.
I also adored Shane and Drew, especially because of their friendship. They’ve both been through so much and no matter what, have always been each other’s number one support system. I didn’t want them to let a girl, or anyone else for that matter, come between them, so I was anxious to see if they would really be able to abide by the rules of their coin toss or if the tension would come to a head and cost them not only Stevie, but also their lifelong friendship. Wexler does a wonderful job creating tension and straining these relationships to the brink. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I’ll say that this book also had me in tears a few times. I just became so invested in these characters that when tragedy strikes (also presented in a dual timeline with different outcomes) I was immediately a wreck.
Even though there’s definitely quite a bit of heartbreak sprinkled throughout, overall Where It All Lands is still a heartfelt and hopeful book. If you enjoy unique stories that feature love, friendship, trust, second chances, and possibilities, you’ll want to check out Where It All Lands.