Sunday, November 15, 2015

Review ~ Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler

Series: standalone
Genre: YA contemporary
Publication Date: November 17th, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

Goodreads Description: 
Reagan Forrester wants out—out of her trailer park, out of reach of her freeloading mother, and out of the shadow of the relationship that made her the pariah of Charytan, Kansas. 

Victoria Reyes wants in—in to a fashion design program, in to the arms of a cute guy who doesn't go to Charytan High, and in to a city where she won't stand out for being Mexican. 

One thing the polar-opposite best friends do agree on is that wherever they go, they’re staying together. But when they set off on a series of college visits at the start of their senior year, they quickly see that the future doesn’t look quite like they expected. After two years of near-solitude following the betrayal of the ex-boyfriend who broke her heart, Reagan falls hard and fast for a Battlestar Galactica-loving, brilliant smile-sporting pre-med prospective... only to learn she's set herself up for heartbreak all over again. Meanwhile, Victoria runs full-speed toward all the things she thinks she wants… only to realize everything she’s looking for might be in the very place they've sworn to leave. 

As both Reagan and Victoria struggle to learn who they are and what they want in the present, they discover just how much they don't know about each other's pasts. And when each learns what the other’s been hiding, they'll have to decide whether their friendship has a future. 
Why I Read This Book
Pretty much all I remember knowing about this book before going into it was that 1) it was by Dahlia Adler, 2) it focused on two friends, and 3) it was YA contemporary. I don't think I even read the official description for it until drafting this post. I guess that means Dahlia Adler is officially one of my auto-read authors!
Source: I was given access to an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Just Visiting was a breath of fresh air! It was nice, quick read. It wasn't too heavy, but I wouldn't call it fluffy. The story was one that can give you a lot to think about. The best thing, though, was the friendship.

There was a much stronger focus on friendship than on romance, which I absolutely loved. A lot of times (in the YA and NA I usually read), it feels like romance is a Big Thing and the friendship is something on the sidelines that contributes to the story. In Just Visiting, it was the opposite. There were hookups, crushes, banter, and a date or two, but the spotlight on romance stayed very small. Instead, it was mostly on friendship (and college/life after high school stuff). Reagan and Victoria had a fantastic bond! Even though they went through some issues, that bond never weakened. It just got stronger. Their friendship strengthened as they discovered new things about each other. There was a lot of support between the two of them, too.

Reagan had a certain roughness to her. She didn't let people in. She jumped into things quickly. She made soooo many mistakes, which just made her more relatable and realistic. Reagan was also . . . actually kinda annoying, but not in a way that made me love her any less. I had a similar attitude as her (not quite rough, but I really wanted to get out of my home town) in my senior year. She also struggled with disclosing certain personal info to her closest friend, which is similar to what I went through this year. So, she had qualities that I didn't like seeing in myself in the past. My little bit of annoyance was mainly due to me feeling the urge to shake her and say, "hey, snap out of it!" It actually made me like her more.

Victoria was also a pretty relatable character, but in different ways. My road to college was more like hers than it was Reagan's (well, disregarding my attitude towards the process). I found Victoria to be very fun and supportive. She had a huge heart and a lot of enthusiasm.

The focus on college/life after high school was GREAT. It felt realistic and very helpful. I also loved the focus on going down the path you want to go down, not the one you think you're supposed to choose.

I do have one negative thing to say about this book. I had a tough time distinguishing Reagan and Victoria's POVs in the beginning! Sometimes I had to backtrack to check what name was at the beginning of the section. I had a tough time sorting out which background info and family details belonged to who. Later on in the book, the voices became much more distinct. The differences in their personalities helped with that.

Overall, Just Visiting is the book you want to read if you're looking for a fantastic YA friendship. I especially recommend it to those in their junior year or at the start of their senior year. I also highly recommend it to anyone who have had bumps in friendships (which I imagine applies to everyone). No matter which of those groups you're in, there's so much for many readers to relate to in this book.
My Rating:

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