I love books I randomly stumble upon that I end up really enjoying. I’d heard of Christina June when I went to an author event she helped co-host at One Page More in Arlington, Virginia, and then I won a giveaway on her Twitter! So, as part of ARC April, I read No Place Like Here, and now you can order it too!
No Place Like Here, first off, has a gorgeous purple cover with a cute little bridge design that is repeated on every chapter. We stan cohesion, yes we do. Anyway, No Place Like Here stars Ashlyn Zanotti, fresh off a year at boarding school for getting in trouble with a boy back home. Ashlyn was looking forward to going back home to Arlington and spending time with her best friend Tatum, but her family has other plans. That’s because Ashlyn’s dad is off to federal prison for tax evasion and the stress of it all is sending her mom into a rehabilitation center for “exhausted” mothers. We all know what that means, but for Ashlyn, it means being shipped off to a retreat camp with the cousin she hasn’t seen in years. There, at a retreat center where companies send their employees to bond or whatever and families take a vacation, Ashlyn discovers that it’s about time to stand up for herself in the face of her father’s nagging voice in her head. She’s got her cousin by her side, a couple cute boys roaming the camp, and a camp director who keeps messing up in major ways, so Ashlyn is going to have to learn to stand-up for herself to not only get what she wants (out of that boarding school) but to keep herself sane at Sweetwater.
This was a really cute book, and I read it in a day I was so drawn in. Ashlyn is an interesting main character who clearly has flaws but doesn’t dwell on them or completely overlook them. She makes mistakes, she writes quotes, life goes on. Her relationship with her parents, especially her dad, is fraught, but that’s a great part of the story. Similarly, the supporting cast feels fleshed out. We all know a guy like Marcus, right? I also loved the “summer camp” setting with a fresh take on it, not just chasing after kiddos but also planning activities for adults and all that jazz. The back cover bills the book as “clean fiction” which I guess it is even though there’s “kissing senseless” and a dad in prison, but I liked it a lot! It felt realistic teen and I can imagine enjoying this kind of read when I was in high school as well as now!