Author: Carol Lynch Williams
Publisher: Paula Wiseman Books
Buy This Book: Amazon / Book Depository
In trying to reunite with her mother, Winston discovers the many meanings of family and finds friendship in an unexpected place in this coming-of-age novel from the author of Waiting, which Kirkus Reviews, in a starred review, called "exceptional" and Glimpse, which Booklist called "gripping."
Life is just fine for fourteen-year-old Winston. She loves her dog, Thelma, and although she never knew her dad, and her mom left ten years ago in search of Hollywood fame, Winston has family with Nanny, who is in her forties, and that doesn't even make her old. But a "just fine" life gets a lot more exciting when a letter arrives from Skye Harper, aka Judith Fletcher, aka Winston’s mother. She needs help, and Nanny says the best way to give it is to take a cross-country road trip—in a "borrowed" motor home—to go find Mama once and for all. Winston’s not so sure about this plan, but with a cute stowaway named Steve along for company and an adventure on the horizon, this is sure to be a summer to remember.
I wasn't sure about downloading the eARC of this because the character was fourteen and I worried she might be too young. But, the cover showed more adult looking characters and so I was hopeful she would be a mature fourteen-year-old. Sadly, she was actually a really immature character and she acted, sounded and behaved like someone who was a lot younger most of the time. For a large portion of the novel she was acting younger than my eleven year old cousin, which made this really hard for me to read.
The chapters in this are so short and that didn't work for me. It has 183 chapters in a book that is only 304 pages long, that's not even 2 pages a chapter. I felt like it never let you get sucked into the story, the chapter would quickly end and break up the story. I just felt like this was really unnecessary and didn't really work with the story, at least not for me.
My other problem was that this book is set in the 70's but there's no indication of that in the blurb or cover photo. That might have been the intention but I found that really irritating. There's also very few indications in the book, it's just suddenly mentioned and then loads of references are made to the Olympics. Once I figured out which Olympics they were talking about, it started to make sense why the author had picked that year to set it in. But, I honestly felt like there should have been more indications of the time setting then just some little references to an Olympic athlete.
I never connected to Winston, or Nannny or Steve. I never felt like I fully got to know and understand them all. Nanny's only forty but she certainly acts like she could be in her sixties or seventies at times. Steve was a typical boy for most of the book, but I never really felt anything towards him at all. And Winston was just too young for me, she talked young and acted young. I felt this book shouldn't have been marketed as young adult, for me it feels like a Middle Grade book.
The ending wraps the whole story up far too nicely. It's also obvious what is going to happen to characters and where they will be at the end of the story. Overall, it's a quick and easy read but for me it wasn't a young adult book and I felt disconnected from the story and the characters the whole time I was reading it. I think it could appeal to a younger reader but it just didn't work for me.
I just didn't end up caring about any of the characters or where the story was going. For me, this isn't a young adult book and shouldn't be marketed as one; it feels far too young. I felt the chapters were unnecessarily short, most chapters were barely two pages, some were just a few lines.
*I received a copy of this novel from the author/publisher/publicist via Edelweiss in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.