Thursday, December 1, 2016

Road to Paradise

Road to Paradise by Paullina Simons
HarperCollins: 11/29/16
advanced reading copy; 544 pages
trade paperback ISBN-13: 9780062444332

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 Bakersfield, CA.

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 me. UGH!

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 reading it.

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 me.

Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from HarperCollins and TLC


1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.