Summary (from the publisher):
It’s senior year, and Paige Hancock is finally living her best life. She has a fun summer job, great friends, and a super charming boyfriend who totally gets her. But senior year also means big decisions. Weighing “the rest of her life,” Paige feels her anxiety begin to pervade every decision she makes. Everything is exactly how she always wanted it to be–how can she leave it all behind next year? In her head, she knows there is so much more to experience after high school. But in her heart, is it so terrible to want everything to stay the same forever?
Emery Lord’s award-winning storytelling shines with lovable characters and heartfelt exploration of life’s most important questions.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Emery Lord’s The Map from Here to There, the sequel to The Start of Me and You, was on my TBR since it was first ever announced. Why? Because Max Watson is one of my fictional boyfriends and I needed our reunion ASAP. Fictional crush set aside, I was really excited for this sequel because I’ve really enjoyed all of Emery Lord’s books- The Names They Gave Us still holds the #1 place though- and The Start of Me and You was one of my favorite contemporary reads of 2017. The Start of Me and You follows high school senior Paige’s junior year, determined to make a year of new memories and experiences after the death of her boyfriend a year prior.
Since there was a two year gap between me reading the book- I was fortunate enough to grab a copy of The Map from Here to There at Book Expo and read it in July-, I wanted to binge-reread The Start of Me and You and then read the sequel.
The Start of Me and You Reread Thoughts:
- So where do I sign up to get an Alcott’s (Oakhurst’s coffee shop and bookstore) in
my town? It makes for the perfect setting, especially for Max and Paige’s reading hangouts.
- Max Watson for sure is still on my fictional bf list
- While Max and Paige’s relationship is definitely the relationship of (most) focus, I forgot how much this book is about Paige’s friendship with her three best friends
- There are so many great moments and quotes about books and reading! For example:
Max thought hard, his eyes moving away from me. He blinked and then returned his gaze to mine. ‘Like you had been drowning, and the book was air.’
I was quiet, caught in the surreal moment of having my feelings described so exactly. That was how it felt to me, to live in other worlds—books or TV—like breathing became second nature again with their safety” (222).
- What can I say, I love books that have it all because I liked getting to re-explore Paige’s parents and their complicated relationship
- Call me a horrible person, but I was a bit annoyed at Paige’s reluctance?? I know she is entitled to her grief and her anxiety is a major part of her character, but I wanted her to understand sooner that not everyone defines her as Aaron’s girlfriend.
The Map From Here to There Review
The Map from Here to There basically starts right off from the ending of The Start of Me and You, with a slight exception. Back in July, I had been debating if I should have held off rereading The Start of Me and You and then reading the sequel until the new edition of The Start of Me and You came out in so the covers would match on my owned shelves.
However, as expected, I was too impatient to wait (re: I needed Max real bad) and picked up the US paperback edition, which includes a bonus chapter of Paige and Max’s email exchanges that summer. Nothing too major happens in this bonus chapter and I wouldn’t say it’s necessary for being able to read the sequel, but there are details that come up in the sequel’s initial chapters, such as Paige’s summer job and Tessa’s new relationship.
In short, I really enjoyed The Map from Here to There, but I wasn’t head-over-heels in love with it in the way I had been expecting to when I was first anticipating this book. I think I somewhat realized this may happen during my The Start of Me and You reread, when I realized this isn’t necessarily my favorite Emery Lord story. I love the characters and settings in these two books, but I have come to the realization that I am not the biggest Paige fan. Paige is surely a super relateable character. She’s dealt with loss and grief in her life that has caused her to have trouble opening up to people and trying new things. In The Map from Here to There, Paige has a ton of anxiety, between college decisions, family, her friendship, and her new relationship with Max as boyfriend-girlfriend. I think Emery Lord does such a fantastic job presenting Paige’s anxiety, but I was just often so frustrated with the some of Paige’s decisions, especially when it came to Max. This book had been pitched as what happens after the happily ever after, but I feel like we don’t get Max and Paige’s happy times?? The book begins with their summer reunion after being away, but both soon become stressed about starting a new relationship during senior year and figuring out how to make college decisions with keeping or not keeping each other in mind. In short, I needed some happy Max and Paige time before sad and stressed Max and Paige to help show why they were so nervous about preserving their great relationship.
Like The Start of Me and You, I enjoyed The Map from Here to There because this book is so layered. We have Max and Paige’s relationship, Paige’s anxiety, her family and her parents’ evolving relationship, her friendships with her girl friends, college decisions, work, internships, homework, English class, Quiz Bowl, and of course, much needed days at Alcott’s. I loved Paige’s family life and wouldn’t mind a spin off about Cameron’s baking business. I also liked how we got a bit of taste of Tessa, Kayleigh and Morgan’s own struggles when it came to college life and relationships.
Readers get to experience the majority of Paige and co’s senior year. I liked getting to see their development over the course of this year, from college to relationships to getting to everything on their senior year bucketlist. Paige and her friendships are also tested a bit, as everyone is stressed over college and how their friendships will survive post high school. I wanted to cheer out loud when Paige’s English teacher tells her that college is not so much about the school you choose, but about the decisions you make there. I wish Paige had realized this sooner in the novel (yes, I understand this book is a lot about personal growth and growing up), but she definitely could have avoided some unnecessary problems with her friends. Considering the book’s length, I wish we did get to go to all the way to the end of senior year.
While one of the book’s takeaways is that you don’t always have to have the answers, I was so mad that we don’t find out Paige’s solution to one of her main problems in the book because so much of this book is about college- sorry for the ambiguity but doing my best to avoid spoilers. As much as I love my contemporary books, I hate ambiguous endings and I NEED all the answers (how dare you suggest that I use my imagination or at least hope for the best).
Overall, I enjoyed The Map from Here to There for being able to jump back in the world of The Start of Me and You, but I admit that I was expecting a tad more cheerier of a story. Some readers will appreciate this book’s seriousness and realistic moments, from Paige’s anxiety to high school senior life and more, but I had really been expecting some more light-heartedness in Max and Paige’s relationship and the overall story.
The Map from Here to There comes out on January 7, 2020.
This review is based on an advance uncorrected proof. By no means did receiving this ARC affect my thoughts or opinions.
Is The Map from Here to There on your TBR? Have you read The Start of Me and You or any other books by Emery Lord? Share in the comments!