January 15, 2020

Mini-reviews: The Map from Here to There + We Used to Be Friends

pub 1/7/20 by Amulet
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received e-ARC from pub for review
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 starsWe Used to Be Friends was achingly real. I couldn't put it down and stayed up way past my bedtime to finish but once I did, it actually hit so close to home that I didn't know how I felt about it at first. And it didn't help that one of the girls reminded me so much of someone I used to be best friends with (that's probably I didn't like that character) while the other vocalized a lot my feelings during my own bestie breakup with said friend. In this book, we get to see both sides of the story and it's told in dual timelines meaning half the chapters move forward while the other moves backward. It sounds complicated and kudos to Spalding for approaching it this way and making it work. At the start of their senior year, James and Kat are inseparable but by graduation they're no longer friends. James reflects a lot on the why's and how's (I totally relate) while Kat is mostly focused on being in love with her first girlfriend and assumes James will just be there even when she doesn't show much interest in her friend's life (clearly, I have a bias here). And I think my reaction is totally normal. Maybe some readers will sympathize with both girls equally but I wouldn't be surprised if sympathies sway to one over the other because of personal experiences. What's important is that both girls got equal representation. Whether or not you agree with either side, both perspectives are necessary to tell the story of a friendship breakup because it does take two people to get there and Spalding did an incredible job of telling a story most women, of any age, can relate to.

Do I recommend? | I do! Especially if you've gone through a BFF breakup yourself, this is so relatable.


pub 
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars | After two years without any new books from Emery Lord, it would be an understatement to say I was excited for The Map from Here to There. But I prepare myself, I decided to re-read The Start of You and Me (I highly recommend doing this!). Truth be told, this was never my favorite book of hers. The first time I read it, I only rated it highly because I love Emery. The second time -- I liked it well enough but that was it. And then the third and most recent time (can you tell I really wanted to give this a chance?), I fell in love with it! Timing really is everything and it just worked for me finally. Going straight into this sequel was perfect because it picked up a couple months after where the first book left off. Paige has now come back from a fun summer job in NYC and reunited with her friends and wonderful boyfriend Max for senior year. Everything should be A-OK right? (Of course not.) With senior year comes thoughts of the future, huge decisions to make, and all the features that usually come along with it. It was a real, genuine look that wasn't just about prom and the "fun stuff". While I'm sure it might be frustrating for some readers, I personally enjoyed and related to the pressure Paige felt about college and deciding what's right for her while also weighing in her relationships, friendships and otherwise. It's natural to worry about those things and I thought it was depicted in such an honest way. Everyone, from Paige to Max to all the individuals of their circle, are going through their own set of ups and downs and I think every reader will see themselves in at least one of them.

Do I recommend? | Absolutely! It's totally another winner from her.


1 comment

  1. I really loved The Map From Here to There too! Emery did such a brilliant job writing this next part of Paige's story in a way that felt so real and relatable to me. And after seeing your full thoughts on We Used to Be Friends, I am very intrigued now!

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