Book Review

ARC Book Review: Exactly Where You Need to Be by Amelia Diane Coombs

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Amelia Diane Coombs
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Release Date: June 7th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Turtles All the Way Down meets Love and Luck in this romantic road trip story about a teen girl’s last chance to have an epic summer with her best friend before everything changes.

Florie’s OCD and her mother’s worrying have kept her from a lot of things, like having an after-school job and getting her driver’s license. And now that she’s graduated high school, while her best friend Kacey is headed off to Portland in the fall, Florie’s taking a parent-sanctioned gap year off before starting college. When the decision was made, Florie was on board, but now she can’t ignore the growing itch to become the person she wants to be and venture outside the quaint, boring Washington town she grew up in.

Winning tickets to see her favorite true crime podcast’s live show in California gives her the opportunity to do just that, if only for a few days. So—unbeknownst to their parents—Kacey and Florie set off on a road trip to San Francisco. The only downside in Florie’s opinion? Sam, Kacey’s older brother and Florie’s forever crush, is their ride. The Samson Hodge, who Florie hasn’t seen since winter break, and who she’d prefer to never see again, if possible. But Florie is willing to put up with Sam if it means one last adventure with her best friend.

Making it to San Francisco and back to Washington without their parents catching on isn’t a given, but one thing is for sure: this trip will change everything.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.

GROWTH.

I could not put this book down. I adored it.

Florie absolutely just melted my heart and captured my soul. I loved her ability to acknowledge her strengths, but also where she could do better. Florie took so many steps to get to where she was by the end of the book and I was cheering her on the whole way. When she finally stood up to her Mother? HERE FOR IT. I think these intense and deep conversations (at times with the help of a therapist) were exactly what this book needed.

Kasey, Florie’s best friend, was another favorite. I loved her charming nature and acceptance of who Florie is, as she is. Even when the conflicts came up (and Kasey had a right to be upset), the fact that both sides LISTENED and found ways to move through this bump in their friendship was soul soothing. I loved their bond and definitely teared up at the end when the inevitability of college came around.

Now the romance? How adorable was Sam? VERY. I do wish there was a bit more time between them (because I didn’t think the love scene was necessary for these two?) for me to see a bigger connection between them, but let’s face it. I thought all of the times they were together as the two of them were so sweet. Sam also met Florie where she was and I liked that even though miscommunication was apart of their story it wasn’t there for drama. It brought them together and actually opened up more channels in their romantic relationship.

This has already gone on a lot longer than expected because apparently I’m in a gushing mood. If you love a good road trip with some antics along the way, mental health rep, close friendships, first love and finding exactly where you need to be, then this one is for you.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: one vague open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, therapy sessions, brief marijuana use, underage drinking

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