FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Amazon Publishing (via NetGalley).
Publisher: Skyscape on March 3, 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (NA)
Chloe has one plan for the future, and one plan only: the road. She’s made a promise to herself: don’t let anyone in, and don’t let anyone love her. She’s learned the hard way what happens if she breaks her rules. So she’s focused on being invisible and waiting until she can set out on the road—her dream of freedom, at least for a little while.
Blake Hunter is a basketball star who has it all—everything about him looks perfect to those on the other side of his protective walls. He can’t let anyone see the shattered pieces behind the flawless facade or else all his hopes and dreams will disappear.
One dark night throws Chloe and Blake together, changing everything for Blake. For Chloe, nothing changes: she has the road, and she’s focused on it. But when the so-called perfect boy starts to notice the invisible girl, they discover that sometimes with love, no one knows where the road may lead.
Chloe’s spent her life so far remaining disconnected, somewhat invisible, and uninvested in the people and things around her. A foster child aging out of the system, she’s grateful that her foster family isn’t kicking her to the curb as soon as she hits eighteen, but she knows better than to think of them as real family. She’s no more connected to them than she is to anyone else, and the one thing she really holds onto is her plan to hit the road, find a new place, a create a life for herself after graduation. So when popular, perfect, living-the-teenage-dream Blake begins to notice her, it doesn’t make sense, has her feeling things she knows she shouldn’t, and doesn’t fit into the plan.
Where the Road Takes Me is quite different from my usual Young Adult and New Adult fare, and coupled with the relaxed storytelling style, that’s what made it stand out.
Chloe’s initial meeting with Blake was not your ordinary introduction, and it was immediately clear that she was different and in some ways a mystery. Had we been in Chloe’s head at exactly that moment, I probably would have had a lot of trouble connecting, but seeing her through Blake’s eyes, not really understanding what made her tick up on first meeting her, that’s what had me immediately intrigued. It was a smart way to bring in a character that a lot of people can’t immediately relate to and make her someone who’s not only interesting but worth figuring out.
The relationship between Chloe and Blake was a wonderfully slow build, paced nicely alongside the atypical friendship that developed. The attraction was certainly there from the get-go, but their story didn’t fall into that rushed trap that plagues so many books in this genre. I did struggle a bit with Blake’s intentions toward Chloe while he had a girlfriend, but seeing things from his perspective made it less dubious and more a case of typical teenage confusion, that war between giving in to new feelings and sticking with the status quo. The fact that Blake’s life was far from perfect, that he was faking his way through school while on a certain level as disconnected as Chloe was, took their romance from the expected opposites attract scenario to the far more satisfying level of two lost teens finding a bit of themselves in each other.
While Where the Road Takes Me certainly has a strong dose of all the typical plot pieces you’d expect from the younger romance drama — after all, isn’t that what keeps us perusing the YA & NA shelves in the first place? — it skips much of the idealized fluffiness I’m used to reading and goes straight for the confusing tangle of emotions and second-guessing that dictate the teenage years. On the surface, the story is simple and the plot isn’t necessarily novel, but the way it’s told, the carefully slow build, and characters’ reluctant but complete faith in what they were feeling is what had me hooked through the very end.