Book Review: Road to Paradise

Friday, December 23, 2016

Road to Paradise by Paullina Simons

From the publisher: Love, passion, and friendship collide on the road trip of a lifetime in this breathtaking novel from Paullina Simons, internationally bestselling author of The Bronze Horseman and Tully.

There’s no telling where a journey will lead you…
Shelby Sloane has big plans for the summer of 1981. She’ll drive cross country in her graduation present—a classic yellow Mustang. In California, she hopes to find the mother who left her behind long ago, and then return East in time to start college. Her childhood friend Gina is desperate to reunite with her boyfriend in Bakersfield and has convinced Shelby to bring her along.

With Gina on board, Shelby’s carefully mapped-out itinerary is quickly abandoned. Soon, so is their “no hitchhikers” rule when Shelby picks up a mysterious girl named Candy Cane, who sets them all on a new and dangerous course. Streetwise beyond her years and decked out with tattoos, piercings, and spiky hair, Candy is on the run from a past darker than anything the two suburban girls have ever known. Candy draws Shelby and Gina into her terrifying world, where life as they know it is turned upside down and there is no place left to hide.

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This book gave me confusing and mixed emotions. The concept itself is great and totally entertaining. I've seen movies with somewhat similar concepts, but I've never read anything quite like this one. It has a lot of creative elements. A lot of the writing is very impressive, and there are plenty of surprises throughout. 

However, I also had some issues. The characters were not relatable to me and quite frankly, some of them were annoying. As an organized, planner person, the constant flightiness and demands of Gina were incredibly irritating to me as a reader. Why will no one let this girl just get the hell where she wants to go?! 

That being said, the detours and madness that follows all of these terrible decisions is what forms the bulk of the plot, and it does make it more interesting and surprising. This is a solid coming-of-age story written by a writer who clearly knows what she's doing in that niche genre. 

However, some minor and more major elements made it difficult for me to love this book. The dialogue is sometimes awkward, the decisions were frustrating for a Type-A reader, and it was definitely a slow, in depth read. It's a long, dense book--much denser than I expected. Not fully a bad thing, but just something to know about before choosing to start this one. 

Recommended for fans of road trips, adventure, Paullina Simons, or people who were teenagers in the 80s. 

Book links for Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble

Thank you to HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours for sponsoring this tour . Check out the rest of the tour stops here

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