Published by Harlequin Teen on July 29th, 2014
Genres: contemporary, young adult
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Five strangers. Countless adventures.One epic way to get lost.
Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.
There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.
Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.
Ugh. Okay. I wasn’t initially interested in this book at all, just based on the cover. When it was first on NetGalley and was being super hyped up on Twitter, I was immune. But then I attended the Harlequin breakfast at BEA, and Adi Alsaid made a little speech about his book and well, color me intrigued. Let’s Get Lost is a series of short stories about four completely random people who have absolutely nothing in common, nothing to do with one another, except one girl. They each meet Leila right when they need to, and she flies in on her manic pixie dream wings and saves the day. The story normally wouldn’t be my thing, but I thought the idea of writing four different points of view that each come in contact with her was clever. I really should have known better though.
I mean, on its surface, the idea is fine. Leila is on a road trip with no real itinerary outside of “North” and during her travels she meets a bunch of other kids her age. The first story with Hudson was a bit sappy for me, but whatever. She takes her car to his garage and then they have this magical night together and it’s ruins his plans for college and he realizes, wow, maybe I don’t want that life anyway. After meeting a girl and knowing her for 16 hours, he completely changes his life. Right. I rolled my eyes more than a few times. And the fucking writing was JUST LIKE John Green, so negative one thousand bonus points there.
The second story was about a runaway named Bree who is reeling from the death of both her parents and a horrible fight with her older sister. Bree is reckless and wild and ends up getting them both arrested. There’s no one else to call so they call Bree’s sister and all is well in their universe thereafter. I actually really enjoyed reading Bree’s story because it was about two young, attractive, and wild girls who got along so well, didn’t compete with one another, and didn’t secretly hate one another. THAT is refreshing to say the least – it never freaking happens. The friendship these two girls built together in just one day was wonderful, and I’m actually really disappointed that this book wasn’t about Leila meeting Bree and them having a wild and crazy road trip together. That would have been a wayyyy better book.
Honestly though, I was basically bored throughout the whole thing so far. I put the book down to go have dinner and I just dreaded picking it up again. It was so dull. The characters with real depth and development don’t stay on the page for longer than 50 pages, so there’s no one to get attached to. There was no central plot, and like Kara said in her GR review, there was no suspense. There was nothing to keep you turning the page.
But the story that actually made me mad and had me DNFing finally was that of Elliot. It opens up during prom night, right after Elliot proclaimed his undying love for his (girl) best friend. But she doesn’t like him like that and tries her best to let him down easy. This leads to this enormous inner monologue of entitlement – basically, Maribel OWES it to Elliot to love him back because he’s always been there for her and they’re such great friends and he had all these dreams of their romantic summer together. I’m sorry, Elliot, but fuck you. And I know how this story goes because it’s already happened twice: Leila is going to swoop into Elliot’s life (like she did with Hudson and Bree) and make things better. So he’s trading in his entitlement to Maribel for just another girl making his life better. Girls to Elliot are just tools for his own personal gain and just fuck that. I am seriously not okay with the manic pixie dream girl trope anymore. I over it. Girls are not just there to spur male leads to life and make them see the error of their ways, question their judgment, give meaning to life. No. Girls are their own fucking people and I’ve had enough of them being written this way.
What started out as a sort of promising road trip book devolved into a boring mess, and then actually offended me. Honestly, the writing wasn’t too bad, but it reminded me of writers before Alsaid, like John Green (who I also passionately dislike, so.) Maybe this will work for other people – it’s always so nerve wracking to be one of the earliest reviewers of a book. I should have known better though.
This book covers the Road Trip! square on my Bookish Bingo card.