Hi friends! How are you today? I hope your week was great. Today is reviewing day and I’m back with the mini-reviews because well…I just read too many books. Also, these may be so-not-mini-reviews, but I sometimes can’t stop. Ooops. #noregrets
There are no spoilers in these reviews.
As someone who really, really loves to travel, I am always on the lookout for some sweet contemporaries where characters are going on an adventure like that. Points of Departure offers exactly that and I’m thrilled to say that, yes, I went on an adventure with them – just not quite the one I was expecting.
As in many contemporaries, this story is more about the characters than the actual destinations and traveling. Told in four different point of view, the story follows an unlikely group of friends as they get into this journey, from Australia to Europe, on a crazy trip they all had planned but won’t go at all like they imagined it to. If I am not such a fan of multiple point of views, I’m glad to say that they were all well-handled, each character was different and went through a different development, different struggles. Something that was weird here, though, was the fact that the book was told from FOUR different point of views, yet there were FIVE girls on this trip – it felt a bit weird to me that Mai was left out of this, not interesting enough to be one of the point of views of the story? It also made me a bit sad because, for that reason, I couldn’t quite connect to her just as much.
If I really enjoyed the characters, I felt a bit sad that the story didn’t use its setting as much as I expected it to. Traveling in Europe, from Portugal to Albania to England, there were so many opportunities to make the setting “pop” a little more into the story, with vivid colors and descriptions and people, without making it overshadowing the development of the characters, obviously, but still, I would have loved to get more of the countries, cultures and vibes of their traveling through the story, to make this even more perfect.
Points of Departure was a sweet contemporary, one you can quickly get lost in and one that very easily brings in diverse characters, something that should be noted. LGBT characters, characters from diverse backgrounds and cultures are part of the story and they are NOT the story’s main arc at all. They’re just part of the story, not making the story.
“The seductiveness of always being about to get someplace, the promise of the journey, compared to the reality of the destination”
My rating : 4 drops !
KEY WORDS: travel, Europe, contemporary, LGBT romance, friendships, school pressure.
TO READ IF
You love contemporary and stories about traveling but most of it all, finding yourself and don’t mind multiple POV stories.
First and Then has, in its synopsis already, all of the elements that could make me love this book. A sweet coming-of-age story about a girl, a boy she did not expect, a brother she did not expect. Both somewhat about finding yourself, someone you did not expect to, and some ones you did not expect to love.
As always in my contemporaries, I need to talk about the characters. I was pleasantly surprised to see how realistic and three dimensional they all felt. At first, I had a hard time getting into the story because of the main character and her particular voice: to be honest, I found her a bit annoying and felt like shaking some sense, some motivation, something to make her more pro-active into this story. As the story went on, though, I found myself growing more and more attached to her as I got to get to know her better and actually understand and enjoy her.
The other characters were as three-dimensional as Devon, which I really enjoyed: there was always more to uncover from what you see on the first few pages. From the slightly awkward Foster, Devon’s cousin, to the crazy talented but unattainable Ezra, they all appeared, in the end, different, changed by the events and by their growing relationships with each other.
As in many other contemporary stories, First and Then is about the characters, they are the ones driving the story forward with their actions, their words, their evolving relationships and they are making things happen to them. This was a story about high school struggles, from what you want to do to who you want to be, but also with a great emphasis on family with the relationship between Devon and Foster, growing and changing, making me smile as they grew closer to each other. It was also a little bit about love, obviously, because there has to be romance in here. It was about appearances and reality, about what you think people are and what they end up being.
First and Then was such a lovely book, driven by realistic characters and adorable relationships. It’s also a whole LOT about football, which is something you should know before heading into this because well…if you hate football, you might get a teensy bit bothered about all the drama surrounding this.
“When you love something, you can’t be happy all the time, can you? Like, that’s why you love it. It makes you feel all kinds of things, not just happy. It can hurt, it can make you fucking mad, but… it makes you feel something, you know?”
My rating : 4 drops!
KEYWORDS: coming-of-age, family, romance, high school, football.
TO READ IF
You like coming-of-age stories, high schools settings – and don’t mind a bit of football, obviously – and emphasis on family issues.