Published by Blink on May 21, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Retellings
Source: The Publisher, Blog Tour
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
Life leads you to unexpected places. Love brings you home.
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.
From Christina June, author of It Started with Goodbye and Everywhere You Want to Be, comes No Place Like Here, a modern twist on Hansel and Gretel.
Ashlyn has lived her life trying to measure up to her father’s expectations, but it’s always been a losing battle. So, even when he ends up in prison for tax evasion, he somehow still has a hold over her that she can’t quite break. She’s shipped off to work at a wilderness camp with her cousin—something she never would have chosen for herself—and she spends the summer wishing she could just go back home again. But the camp teaches her a few things about how capable she truly is, and she starts to realize that if she wants change, she’ll have to learn to speak up—as terrifying as that is for her.
I felt for Ashlyn, and I could relate to her inability to speak up and her desperate need to avoid conflict. And I think almost any teen will understand Ashlyn’s sense of powerlessness in a situation that feels out of her control. There’s a teensy bit of a love triangle involved in the book, so if you absolutely hate those, you’ve been warned—though honestly, in this case it’s more about Ashlyn growing and learning what type of guy she really wants in her life and why. So it’s less about the actual romantic decision than it is about Ashlyn figuring out how to take charge of her own life and not just let a guy lead her along.
One note: This book is billed as a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, but I’ll warn you that it’s a very loose retelling—you’ll have to really search for tenuous connections between the fairy tale and this story.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read with an MC I was rooting for. I’m hoping that June will revisit these characters in future books.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
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. Chris-tina 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.
5 Finished copies of No Place Like Here + book poster (USA only)
This looks like an interesting read. Thanks for the giveaway!
You’re welcome. Good luck!!
This sounds like a great example of a young woman learning to find her own voice and use it. Enjoyed your review, Nicole.
That’s a great description of this book!
Love, love, love that cover!
All of June’s covers are similar and SO pretty!
I can totally understand not being able to stand up for yourself at that age. Sounds like Ashlyn learns a lot.
Heck, sometimes I still have issues with standing up for myself now. 🙂
I’m listening to this one on audio RIGHT NOW — and enjoying it! Great review, Nicole. Can’t wait to see how it goes.
I often do Blink books via audio because my library always has them (through Hoopla). Glad you’re enjoying it! (Or, maybe you enjoyed it by now. LOL!)
I was so excited to win the author’s recent giveaway of all three of her books, including this one. The covers are so cute! Contemporary/romance is not one of my go-to genres, but I’m going to give hers a try, and I KNOW my middle schoolers will gobble them up!
Congrats on your win! I do think these books would be great for your classroom.
I love reading your reviews on Goodreads, and this one looks so good.
Did you find your way here via Goodreads? I don’t usually think to put in my Goodreads link that there’s a giveaway going on, so I’m curious if that’s the reason you decided to click over. (It’s always good to know if that’s useful information to have in the GR review–I just have to remember to go update it when the giveaway is over.)
The love triangle sounds interesting. I love that it focuses on Ashlyn growing and seeing for herself what she likes and doesn’t like. Great review!
Yes, sometimes a love triangle can be a big no for people, but I felt like this one was different than the typical angsty, “Oh, who should I be with?”
I agree, super loose retelling, but it was a charming story of finding one’s voice, mending relationships, and forgiveness. I would have loved an epilogue, because I wanted that romance to happen and was also interested in seeing how Ashlyn and her family made out.
Yeah, I almost wonder if she’s planning to come back to this couple in a future book.
I would be down for that.
The summer camp setting is one I know well! And I think I can relate to that wanting to avoid conflict even though I have been trying to push myself to be better at that lately… great review x
Oh, I can definitely relate to that. I’m a conflict-avoider if there ever was one.
Aaah, the cover for this one is gorgeous!! I’ve recently realized that I love covers that have that ombre thing going on ? Ashlyn sounds like a great MC, I enjoy reading books where you can see definite character development through, so this sounds like something I’d like to check out!
I agree about ombre covers—so pretty!