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Acclaimed author Emery Lord crafts a gorgeous story of friendship and identity, daring to ask: What happens afterhappily ever after?

It’s senior year, and Paige Hancock is finally living her best life. She has a fun summer job, great friends, and a super charming boyfriend who totally gets her. But senior year also means big decisions. Weighing “the rest of her life,” Paige feels her anxiety begin to pervade every decision she makes. Everything is exactly how she always wanted it to be–how can she leave it all behind next year? In her head, she knows there is so much more to experience after high school. But in her heart, is it so terrible to want everything to stay the same forever?

Emery Lord’s award-winning storytelling shines with lovable characters and heartfelt exploration of life’s most important questions.

Title : The Map From Here To There
Author : Emery Lord
Series : The Start of Me and You (book two)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 368
Genre : YA contemporary
Publisher : Bloomsbury YA
Release Date : January 7, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★

Hollis’ 4 star review

THE START OF ME AND YOU was published back in 2015 but, unlike so many readers, I only read it a few months ago. And I only picked it up after hearing that there was a much-anticipated (or was it unexpected?) sequel to be released. I’ll admit that it was a little rocky for me at times but everything that didn’t quite work.. eventually did. It was such an interesting, and eventually enjoyable, evolution. But the romance is where it didn’t quite ever shine for me.

This time, everything from before is still in play, but different. Things feel bigger in this final year of highschool transition into college, and futures, and being away from family, friends, and loved ones. And particularly for Paige and Max who, in the final pages of book one, admit their feelings, only to then be facing a summer apart.

It’s in the early chapters of THE MAP FROM HERE TO THERE that they are reunited, and in the first real blush of in-person-boyfriend-and-girlfriend, post-all the months where the heart grew fonder, everything is great. Until it isn’t.

I actually so appreciated this approach. It finally sold me on the romance, without making it seem like an excuse to a) have a second book and b) just drag out the real payoff, because I felt so much of what they were both going through to be completely reasonable. But though the romance and angst does take a slightly bigger focus than it did in book one, this is still mainly about friendships. And, wow, the friend group? Amazing. The dynamics are beautiful, the heartbreaks, even the fights, it’s all so great.

Despite this praise, I wouldn’t say this book ever really hit that wow factor moment for me, even though so much of it just.. worked, and it moved me enough to make me weepy. More than once. But it’s in the aftermath, the quiet, the pause for reflection, that I realize just how much I enjoyed this. This really felt like such a great, healthy, realistic, and delightful, portrayal of this time period of one’s life, while still being fun and grounded, and tackling very real emotional struggles and worries. Everything you want for YA audiences (and above!).

Would recommend.

** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

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