Road to Paradise by Paullina Simons
advanced reading copy; 544 pages
trade paperback ISBN-13:
Road to Paradise by Paullina Simons is a novel about teenage girls on a cross-country road trip in 1981.
After graduating from high school and before she heads off to college in
the fall, Shelby Sloane plans to drive across country from Mamaroneck,
NY, to Mendocino, CA. Her mother, whom she hasn't seen since she was a
young child, supposedly lives in Mendocino. Her father died years
earlier. Emma has taken care of Shelby. Emma also gives Shelby a classic
bright yellow 1966 Shelby Mustang as a graduation gift. Shelby's former
friend Gina hears about her cross-country plans and begs to go with
her. Gina wants to reunite with her boyfriend who is living in
Soon Gina is part of the planned road trip but her addition adds other
problems, like several side trips to run "quick" errands for various
family members. Oh, and Gina forgets to tell Shelby that she doesn't
have her driver's license, so Shelby has to do all the driving. Along
the way the two girls run into a hitchhiker who calls herself Candy
Cane. Once she joins the two, their road trip takes a dark turn.
First things first: I would read a few pages of Road to Paradise,
and then have to set it aside so I could rant at all the characters.
Mainly, at the beginning, I wondered how Shelby could be so foolish and
stupid. I wondered who in their right mind would not say it was a bad
idea to take this trip, especially to a young woman who has never
traveled anywhere. Now, I was a young adult in 1981, in college and a
few years older than these
girls, but still.... Even then I would have considered this a bad idea.
Then I was wondering why Emma would buy her that car. Why not save the
money for her college fund. Don't even get me started on what Shelby
didn't realize about Emma's relationship to her. How could this have
never been discussed?
There were so many ignorant, incompetent decisions that it was
incomprehensible. And they just kept coming. Why wouldn't they have just
left "Candy Cane" at a gas station and keep going. Why couldn't Shelby
just say "No." No I won't drop these dogs off 250 miles out of my way.
No, that is not going to happen. No, Gina, I don't want you to go with
I would have set this book aside and informed the publisher that I
simply could not finish it because it was not a book I was enjoying at
all, but I had a commitment to TLC. I dearly love reviewing books for
TLC, so I finished reading the whole hot mess. I admittedly did start
skimming through the middle of the book because it is 544 pages of a hot
mess. The epilogue did make it all a wee bit better - not enough to
raise my rating, but at least I didn't feel as much resentment over
Obviously, I don't recommend this book, but be sure to read other
reviews and see how other readers felt. It just wasn't a good choice for
Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this
book from HarperCollins and TLC.
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