Where the Road Leads Us

Sourcebooks/Fire. Apr. 2021. 304p. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781492635253.
Gr 9 Up–It’s Jack’s last day of high school and his 18th birthday. Still reeling from the death of his father the previous year, struggling with anxiety, and feeling ambivalent about his college plans, Jack has a lot on his plate. When his girlfriend, Natasha, drops a bomb on him days before they are set to begin the next chapter of their lives together, it throws everything into question. Meanwhile, Hallie’s cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment have forced her to miss out on much of her high school experience and has put a strain on her family’s finances. Although she has been in remission for some time, she has found it difficult to plan for the future or find pleasure in things she used to enjoy. At the start of this novel, her thoughts are consumed by some concerning news she received at her last doctor’s appointment. After their paths cross in a serendipitous meeting, Jack and Hallie end up on an unexpected road trip together, both searching for answers. In alternating perspectives, the protagonists feel authentic, as does the connection they form. While the ending wraps up a bit too tidily, readers will be invested in these characters and enjoy watching them become confident in forging their own paths versus doing what is expected of them. Main characters’ ethnicity isn’t stated.
VERDICT A fun and thought-provoking read for mid-size or larger collections.

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