Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Blog Tour: Ready to Go by Stephanie Mann

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Ready to Go by Stephanie Mann, hosted by YA Bound Book Tours.  Read on for my review!  You can follow along with the rest of the tour here.

Release Date: 11/12/13
Publisher: Swoon Romance

Daniel is sick of his wonderfully boring and predictable life. He dutifully gets up every morning, goes to class, goes to work, and it never changes. He does, says and even wears exactly what others expect of him. He's so predictable that he barely notices just how unhappy he truly is.

One afternoon, everything changes when David meets a girl on the run from her own demons. She doesn't need Daniel's help, but he offers and she accepts--setting a course for an adventure neither will soon forget.

Together, on an impromptu road trip, two strangers become friends and a bit more, all while facing money problems, car problems, and tourist traps and the naked truth: they can't run forever.

Will they finally stop running long enough to discover true and lasting love?

Add it on Goodreads and purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

My Review

Ready to Go was a very sweet, cute and hopeful NA coming-of-age/romance story that was refreshingly low on drama and high on realism.  This was the story of two ordinary people in their early (Nicole) to mid (Daniel) twenties, both of whom are uncertain about where they’re headed in life, who come together on what starts as an impulsive escape from reality, and ends up as much more.

Community college student Nicole has been planning to leave home for a while, but she impulsively quits her job and sets off before she’s saved enough money, so she quickly resorts to hitchhiking and sleeping in a public library.  She runs into Daniel, a medical student and part-time museum tour guide, when she kills some time (and takes a nap) in the museum, and then again the next morning in the library.  Although their initial encounters are a bit awkward, Daniel ends up skipping out on his classes and job for a day to drive Nicole a little further.  It’s not really clear why Daniel is doing this—not to Nicole or the reader, and not even to Daniel himself—but the further he gets from his everyday life, the more obvious it becomes that he’s as desperate to escape as Nicole is.  Daniel is studying to become a doctor because his parents have always pushed him to do so; he’s not passionate about medicine, and what’s worse, he gets sick at the sight of blood.  Not exactly prime doctor material, but Daniel’s always lived up to his parents’ expectations before…

Until one day with Nicole turns into another, and another, as Daniel ends up determined to take her all the way to California.

For the first half of the story, what really kept me reading was my curiosity about what exactly Nicole was running from.  She definitely seemed upset and uneasy about something, but I had a hard time getting a handle on the tone and direction of the story and just how serious her problem was.  When we did learn more about Nicole’s past, though, I was pleased with the way the author handled it—it was serious enough to justify Nicole’s emotional turmoil and her decision to leave home, but it wasn’t so dramatic that it upset the low-key, cute feeling of the novel.  Once we learned more about Nicole, what propelled me through the second half of the book was the question of whether Daniel would return to the life his parents had set out for him.  It became progressively clearer that Daniel needed this trip as much as, or more than, Nicole…but would he be able to escape his old life the way she had?

Most of Ready to Go takes place during Nicole and Daniel’s road trip across the U.S., and there were so many little things I liked about the book and the journey.  I loved all the strange, random little tourist traps they stopped at, which reminded me of my own road-trip experiences growing up.  I appreciated that Daniel and Nicole had a bit of a rocky start to their relationship, and a number of awkward exchanges even up to the end of the book.  Their time together felt real, which meant it wasn’t always super-romantic, but was true to life.  And I liked that the novel ended with the hope of something more between Daniel and Nicole, but not with declarations of love that would have felt premature after less than two weeks together.

Overall, Ready to Go is a sweet, quick road trip novel about two people trying to figure out what they really want to do with their lives.  Like life, the book doesn’t end with all their issues neatly resolved—but the last sentence definitely made me smile! 


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About the Author

Stephanie Mann lives in Massachusetts. Besides writing, she spends her free time working with fan conventions. She loves to travel, and has visited many tourist traps along the way.
READY TO GO is Stephanie Mann's first novel.

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