“But beneath the scuff marks and scars, I could still see us in bright, glossy color…”
– Emery Lord
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Bloomsbury YA for an eARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review!
Acclaimed author Emery Lord crafts a gorgeous story of friendship and identity, daring to ask: What happens after happily 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?
I had a ton of mixed feelings about this book. I really enjoyed The Start of Me and You. Paige was a great representation of mental health not defining you and her friend to lover arc with Max was adorable. They were both geeky little things that I adored the hell out of so it felt weird having their story continue. I’d liked where we’d left the two of them, with the promise of new romance, and I didn’t want to touch that. I wasn’t fully convinced there needed to be more for them. To be honest by the end of The Map from Here to There I was slightly pissed and felt like this ruined their relationship for me.
The book was about Paige and her friends on their journey through their senior year. With that comes a lot of decisions, between applications, college decisions and relationship issues it was total turmoil. This was so relatable. It’s hard to decide a future period let alone if you should include your boyfriend/girlfriend, friends and/or family in your decision. We see Paige especially really struggle with this along with some more mental health issues. Like The Start of Me and You, The Map from Me to You was great about handling mental health issues in a positive way. It showed you don’t need to be embarrassed and the different options Paige had to obtain help. That is reason alone to pick up this book, it’s everything else about it that I really disliked.
Max and Paige were an adorable couple that I thought we’d left in a good place, one that was the start of something really great. They were pretty toxic in this book. They both held back from telling each other things, said some really mean things to each other and then we got the non-ending ending which really ticked me off. Honestly Max was barely in this book it felt like. I was dreading getting a love triangle, since one guy was mentioned so much (there isn’t don’t worry), but I felt like maybe there should’ve been so we got some kind of cute romance. It was real, relatable with the mental health issues happening with Paige and maybe if the book had been longer I would have been happy with The Map from Here to There, but it wasn’t and I’m not.
I’ve mentioned it a few times but the non-end-ending really ticked me off. Just when things started to pick up and get good again I turned the page and it was over. I felt like the potential for more was there and yes I understand that it was about Paige learning about making decisions on her own and how there were so many options out there for her than she originally thought. Not that we ever get to learn what decision she does make. There were just so many sub-plots left open to interpretation where I wanted answers.
I love Emery Lord’s writing and I don’t want this to be a hate review in anyway. Lord will always be an instant buy author for me and this won’t change that. This is the first book by her that I haven’t really liked the plot of, but the writing was still beautiful and I like how she portrayed mental health with Paige. I just wanted more Max, more romance and definitive answers. I understand what Lord was trying to do though and I respect that, it just wasn’t for me.
Disclaimer: All quotes used in this review are taken from an advanced copy and may be changed from those that appear in the final version. Quotes will be updated to reflect such changes, if any.