The other week, a friend of mine was getting rid of books and asked if I wanted any. I grabbed You are Here by Jennifer E. Smith, just because I’d been thinking of reading more by that author anyway. It wasn’t until a different friend grabbed it from my pile that I had any idea what it was about.
Yeah, Peter and Emma? They take a road trip.
I’m not sure I could have made it through any other book, considering the mood I’ve been in. For some perspective, I started this book at 10 a.m. and took about 13.5 hours to read it (including work and driving and an episode of Arrow). It’s YA which accounts for some of its easy-to-read qualities, but it’s also a fast-moving story that emphasizes the message that it’s the journey and not the destination that matters. It had characters that I rooted for and wanted to stick with through the journey. And while the characters did get into some trouble, it kept making the point that sometimes you have to do what you have to do…and the people who really love you will come around eventually.
There were things I didn’t like about it. Some of it felt like it moved too quickly: I would have wanted more story from the actual driving. In that same vein, the romantic relationship that develops between Peter and Emma seems forced. In fact, it’s pretty out-of-character for Emma, considering every time we’re in her head it seems clear she just thinks of him as a friend she doesn’t want to lose. I feel she could have learned to treat him better without having to “fall in love” with him. I also feel like she has undiagnosed ADD and her parents (as professors) should look into that instead of assuming she’s just “different.”
But overall, the theme of “You are here” and being lost/wandering isn’t necessarily a bad thing was something I needed to read…besides the irony that they spent all this time and effort getting to North Carolina when I am doing my damnedest to get away from it. They each have an idea of what they’re looking for and come away with so much more. The spirit of adventure is alive and well, and I hope it’s rubbed off on me.
So…here we are, folks. Gold star at this spot. Just like Emma and Peter, it’s time to see where the little dotted lines take us. Just one more week now.