Where The Road Takes Me by Jay McLeanWhere The Road Takes Me by Jay McLean
Published February 2015
Genres: Young Adult
three-half-stars
Format: ARC

Note: I was granted an advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my rating or the content of my review.
 

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Chloe has one plan for the future, and one plan only: the road. She’s made a promise to herself: don’t let anyone in, and don’t let anyone love her. She’s learned the hard way what happens if she breaks her rules. So she’s focused on being invisible and waiting until she can set out on the road—her dream of freedom, at least for a little while.

Blake Hunter is a basketball star who has it all—everything about him looks perfect to those on the other side of his protective walls. He can’t let anyone see the shattered pieces behind the flawless facade or else all his hopes and dreams will disappear.

One dark night throws Chloe and Blake together, changing everything for Blake. For Chloe, nothing changes: she has the road, and she’s focused on it. But when the so-called perfect boy starts to notice the invisible girl, they discover that sometimes with love, no one knows where the road may lead.

Chloe Thompson is counting down the days until graduation, when she’ll finally be able to take her piece of crap car, hit the road, and just drive. Without any plan; without thinking about the future. And until the big day, Chloe plans to stay just as invisible as she was throughout high school.

However,  things change when she bumps into Blake Hunter, the high school’s famous basketball jock, who can’t help but actually notice her. Blake tries hard to break Chloe’s walls, but she’s focused staying closed off – even though she can’t help but fall for him – and intent on taking the road after graduation. And Blake is intent on making the best out of the days that he has left with her.

What I loved about this book:

  • The characters were extremely real and endearing, especially Blake
  • The plot was pretty down to earth and the subjects of it quite serious, so it differed from your standard romance novel
  • I couldn’t put it down!

What I felt needed improvement:

  • The plot wasn’t exactly new
  • Some parts of the plot came too easily
  • The ending would have deserved to be different

This was not my first Jay McLean read, and from previous reads from this author, I knew that Where The Road Takes Me could either be hit or miss. Turns out I liked it, both in terms of the plot and in term of the characters, but it didn’t exactly qualify for a mind-blowing read, because some things – especially the ending – bothered me or took away a part of the book’s realism.

The writing was an alternating 1st person POV, which started with the Male-POV, and thus made the book quite interesting, because Chloe’s story and predicament was only slowly uncovered. It was done in a skillful and suspenseful way, which kept me on my toes.

Chloe is unable and unwilling to think about the future, because she is convinced that she doesn’t have one. That’s why she doesn’t want to get close to anyone: not her foster family who loves her, and not anyone else because she doesn’t want to make them suffer once she leaves. She sees The Road as her only possible escape.

“I’d learned to accept my fate and never hope for more than what I had. I’d never questioned the way I thought about my life.”

You’ll soon understand why Chloe acts so closed off. After a few chapters and a few hints here and there, it becomes quite clear what her issue is, and once I realized her phobia, the whole story started really twisting my guts.

View Spoiler »

I was quite frustrated with how long it took Chloe to open up and set her fears aside.  Thankfully, Blake made her see the light, and I loved who she became. But before Blake, Chloe was nothing but a chicken and a quitter, taking the easy way out rather than facing her demons.

I absolutely loved Blake – he was an impressive and extremely endearing character. Even though I really disliked the way he treated his girlfriend before Chloe, he quickly turned out to be a perfect book-boyfriend which a very romantic attitude. I loved how he cared for Chloe, and how he showed her his affection. He never pushed her too hide (even when he should have!) and he was perfectly content with whatever small piece of herself she’d let him have.

“You can run, you can hide, you can choose to see, but where the road takes you will always lead to me.”

The book resembles Ten Below Zero by Whitney Barbetti or The Edge of Never by J.R. Redmerski because of the road trip / disease plot, so it didn’t exactly feel new to me. The morale was clear: seize the day, enjoy the present and don’t think about what the future may or may not bring. Also, you can’t keep people from getting attached to you no matter how hard you try, and ignoring this affection or pretending it’s not there will only cause hurt.

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.”

Thankfully, the story didn’t only evolve around Chloe and Blake’s story but also around Blake’s parents (especially his mom), his best friend Josh and Chloe’s foster family, so that was a plus for me (even though I felt that every single person in the book had issues…) But thinking about it, some things made it quite easy for the plot to move along. It was too easy that just like that, they found out Blake’s mom was BFF with Chloe’s mom, which greatly helped Blake winning Chloe over. It was also too easy that Blake’s mom happened to be loaded. But oh well, it wasn’t really a major inconvenience.

The story was cute and a good read, and the ending was okay, although it ended up on a more or less bitter note, and while it rounded up the book and several stories inside it, I wasn’t so so happy with how things turned out. Check out the following spoiler if you care to know why.

View Spoiler »

So all in all, Where The Road Takes Me wasn’t a bad read, since I liked the characters and the “idea” of the plot, but you clearly have to take it with a pinch of salt. If you don’t mind a book with a mildly sad and depressing ending, but that’s still full of love and romance, then I’d definitely recommend it.

And last but not least, I loved Josh as character, and I would be excited to read a story about him and his little boy Tommy finding their match.

Detailed Rating
Storyline
3 Stars
Characters
4 Stars
Writing
3.5 Stars
All the feels
4 Stars
Overall: three-half-stars