Title: No Place Like Here
Author: Christina June
Release date: May 21, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Retelling
Rating: 4 stars
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*Thank you Fantastic Flying Book Club and Blink YA for providing a review copy and for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour. This review consists of my original thoughts and have not been influenced in any way.*
Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.
The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes—inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere can help her cope.
With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.
I was so intrigued by how this Hansel and Gretel retelling was written. It’s so unique and that uniqueness is what hooked me in. Ashlyn is sent to a retreat center to work for the summer after her father is set to go to prison and her mother is taken to a rehab facility for mental health. Ashlyn believes her perfect life and summer have been ruined from this decisions. Throughout the journey, she gains so much from this experience and it changes how she see things moving forward.
I enjoyed this novel mostly because it felt relate-able. Ashlyn had the teen angst related to the family situation. Although I couldn’t relate to situation directly, I understand the strain of teenager – parent relations all too well because I was pretty angsty as a teen. I love Ashlyn’s character development. She went from a character that we felt for because of her circumstance to being proud in her development as a strong protagonist willing and able to face challenges so much better than when she began her journey at the retreat center. Speaking of characters, the supporting characters were also very well developed. The author managed to make supporting characters that helped strengthen the protagonist but also added insight into their own development and stories. I was able to invest in all the characters because they were different and complimented each other so well.
This was a coming of age story that worked well. there wasn’t a damsel in distress stories that many contemporaries I’ve read have done. Through all the wilderness activities, conversations with characters and overall self-discovery, Ashlyn painted a vivid but relate-able story that captivated me form the first page. Throughout the story, the theme of family was very focused. We knew Ashlyn’s family structure was broken because she was no longer living with them and had to uproot herself for a whole summer. However, the family dynamic is important to this story. We understand why although Ashlyn wanted to be home, her relationship with her parents were strained. Ashlyn was trying to rebuild that trust and showing she can be perfect even though her father was far form that. It shone a light in how family structures may seem great on the outside and are vastly different on the inside.
Overall this book was a quick, light-hearted read. The writing style kept me wanting to turn the next page to see what Ashlyn was up to next. It was a contemporary read that is perfect for summer reading.
About the Author
Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become–whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, and hopes to one day be bicoastal–the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland.
She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter. She is the author of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, and the forthcoming NO PLACE LIKE HERE.
Prize: 5 BLINK Summer Reading Tour Book Bundles (A Touch of Gold, Meet the Sky, No Place Like Here, Pretty In Punxsutawney, and Swing by Kwame Alexander) (USA)
Follow the Blog Tour!
Beauty In the Binding – Author Q&A with Annie Sullivan
Onemused – Book Review of Meet the Sky (Instagram Photo)
A Bronx Latina Reads – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Cinnamon Summers – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite Quotes
A Dream Within a Dream – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
A Bookish Dream – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
Savings In Seconds – Book Review of Swing + Favorite Quotes
FictitiousWonderland – Book Review + Creative Post for Pretty In Punxsutawney (Instagram)
What She Will Read – Laurie Boyle Crompton Guest Post
Never Too Many to Read – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Starlight Reads – Book Review of Swing
YA/NA Book Divas – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
YA Media Consumer – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Some Books and Ramblings – Interview with McCall Hoyle
Moonlight Rendezvous – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Favorite QuotesThe Reading Corner for All – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Instagram Post
Feed Your Fiction Addiction – McCall Hoyle Guest PostTaylor Fenner’s
Bookish World – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Book-Keeping – Book Review of Touch of Gold
Utopia State of Mind – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Kait Plus Books – Annie Sullivan Guest Post
Musings of a (Book) Girl – Book Review of Swing
Kait Plus Books – Laurie Boyle Crompton Guest Post
Read At Night – No Place Like Here Creative Post
Ohana Cascadia – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Favorite Quotes
Lifestyle of Me – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
Reading Authors Network – Creative Post for Swing
Story-eyed Reviews – Interview with Christina June
Two Points of Interest – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
The Secret Reader – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Creative Post
Belle’s Archive – Book Review of Swing
A Dream Within A Dream – Annie Sullivan Guest Post
Smada’s Book Smack – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
A Bookish Dream – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Adventures Thru Wonderland – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Here’s to Happy Endings – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Belle’s Archive – Book Review of Pretty In PunxsutawneyThe Secret Reader – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Interview with Laurie Boyle Crompton + Creative Post
Smada’s Book Smack – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Faery Tales Are Real – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
Read At Night – Book Review of Swing + Creative Post
Two Points of Interest – Book Review of Swing