by Dana Schwartz
Release Date: May 2nd 2017
Publisher: Razorbill, Listening Library
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Length: 6 hrs and 25 mins
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: ARC, Audiobook
Find It: Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Audible
Seventeen-year-old Nora Holmes is an artist, a painter from the moment she could hold a brush. She inherited the skill from her grandfather, Robert, who's always nurtured Nora's talent and encouraged her to follow her passion. Still, Nora is shocked and elated when Robert offers her a gift: an all-expenses-paid summer trip to Europe to immerse herself in the craft and to study history's most famous artists. The only catch? Nora has to create an original piece of artwork at every stop and send it back to her grandfather. It's a no-brainer: Nora is in!
Unfortunately, Nora's mother, Alice, is less than thrilled about the trip. She worries about what the future holds for her young, idealistic daughter and her opinions haven't gone unnoticed. Nora couldn't feel more unsupported by her mother, and in the weeks leading up to the trip, the women are as disconnected as they've ever been. But seconds after saying goodbye to Alice at the airport terminal, Nora hears a voice call out: "Wait! Stop! I'm coming with you!"
Travel – check! A swoony guy – check! An annoying, intruding mother – check check!
Nora loves art. Her very successful artist grandfather has always encouraged her passion for art, yet her mother doesn’t offer up the same support to Nora. When Nora’s grandfather offers her the chance of a lifetime, an all-expenses-paid trip to Europe to study art, Nora is beside herself with excitement. That is, until her mother drives her to the airport to drop her off, and at the last minute decides to accompany Nora on the trip. Well, let’s just say Nora and her mother, Alice, don’t have the most warm and fuzzy relationship. You see, Alice doesn’t approve of Nora’s passion for art, as she feels it isn’t a successful career and that Nora should be focusing on something that will bring her more success in her future. The last thing Nora wants on her trip is her mother’s company… but without a choice, the two set off to travel Europe together, in hopes of finding what they’re each looking for.
As you can imagine, the settings in this story were a lot of fun!! I’ve always wanted to travel to Europe myself, so any time I can travel through the eyes of characters in books, I’m all there! This story was cute and exactly how I thought it would be. Nora is the typical teenager, hoping to find a tall, dark and handsome boy on vacation to sweep her off her feet. I mean, really… what teenager traveling alone wouldn’t want that?! But with her mother always around to cramp her style, Nora is finding it harder and harder to have the trip of a lifetime that she really wanted.
My favorite thing about this story was the writing style. I loved Dana Schwartz’s sassy, witty and fun writing! When you open a book and immediately connect with an author’s style… it’s such a wonderful feeling!!
My issues with this book surround the characters themselves. I was expecting more growth for both Nora and Alice. I thought the last few chapters would have been more impacting, leaving more of an impression about how these two had grown from their experiences together. It was definitely missing something there, something that would have brought this story up a few notches for me. I also struggled with Nora’s and Alice’s behaviors on the trip. I can completely understand how Nora was bothered by her mother basically taking over their trip… but I struggled with how she let it impact her entire trip. Instead of acting like an adult on taking over the trip like she had originally planned, she let the fact that her mother tagged along affect her entire attitude day after day. I also thought it was pretty crappy of her mother to basically just crash her trip, and then take it over, planning out their days entirely. The behavior of these two day after day on their trip made it hard for me to really connect with them. Honestly, I wanted to smack them both a time or two. Get it together, ladies!
Overall though, this was a really fun contemporary story involving travel, one of my favorite things! Since I don’t travel a lot myself, I adore reading books about others venturing out in the world. This was a cute story that would be perfect for a day at the beach. A quick, easy read. And just look at that cover!! *heart eyes*
This type of story, one involving travel, particularly, is a lot of fun on audio. I tend to really enjoy travel, road trips, and other stories of discovery on audio. I feel like I’m right with these characters, taking in the sights myself. I had the opportunity to listen to this audiobook, as well as read the physical copy, and I enjoyed both formats quite a bit. Whether you want to go the audio route or the hardcopy, this is a cute story to add to your Summer tbr!
Do you enjoy travel books? What would you do if your mother decided to tag along on your European trip at the last minute?