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Destination Anywhere – Sara Barnard

Book Review

Thank you to the publisher for gifting me a eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

After five years at secondary school spent with no friends, Peyton King starts sixth form determined things will be different. Whatever happens, she will make friends at any cost.

When Peyton finds the friends she’s always dreamed of, including am actual boyfriend and she is happier than ever. But, when they let her down in the worst way, Peyton is left worse off than when she started.

Now, Peyton knows the only chance she has of finding happiness is to look for it somewhere else. Her life may feel small, but it doesn’t have to be. With nothing but her sketchpad and a backpack, she pays for a one-way ticket to Canada and off she goes.

There is always something about Sara Barnard’s books that have me hooked from the first chapter, this one was no different. If you have ever felt lost or misunderstood you will defintely find ourself within the pages of this book. Sara Barnard really has a talent for writing authentic and realistic teenage main characters and Peyton is a character that I feel everyone can empathise with in some way.

One thing I adored about this book was how self-aware Peyton is as a character and how that contrasted with her view of her own well-being. You can sense Peyton’s desperation throughout the past flash-backs. She ignores so many red-flags, like her friends using her their own fain, the toxic relationships her and her friends are in and a lot more red-flags. This book also tackles the serious topics of casual drug taking and living with the attitude of ‘this might be fatal but who cares I have friends’.

All of this is then contrasted against Peyton’s positive experiences in Canada and how she is trying to bounce back from her lowest point in life. I adored the pacing in these chapters. They were slightly slower than the past chapters which allowed me as a reader to take in more about Canada and the experiences Peyton was having. One thing I really appreciated in these sections is that Peyton wasn’t immediately over all the everything that she had faced in the past. Peyton defintely too the slow and steady approach to healing and you could see the one step forward and two steps back happening for her. This made the entire book feel a lot more realistic for me.

Although I am normally one for a full romantic storyline, I throughly enjoyed that the romantic plot-line in Destination Anywhere never overwhelmed the overall story and Peyton’s journey. It was kept simple and I appreciated that.

I did have a couple of issues with this book. One being that I felt that the supporting cast of characters in Canada were a little bit underdeveloped. I found myself quite often forgetting their names and getting them mixed up. Another issue was I felt that the grandfather storyline in this book was entirely used as a plot-device rather than being an intrinsic part of the entire story.

Overall, Destination Anywhere was a wonderful and thought-provoking YA read that I will happily be recommending to fans of contemporary YA in the future. This book isn’t out until June 2021 but I cannot wait to see this out in the world and share my love for this book nearer to it’s publication!

4 Stars
Happy Reading

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