Review Blog

May 04 2020

The map from here to there by Emery Lord

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Bloomsbury, 2020. ISBN: 9781526606648.
(Age: 14+) Paige is in her last year of high school, the year to make decisions about what she wants to do and where she wants to study. She has a wonderful group of friends and a gorgeous new boyfriend, Max, who is incredibly understanding and supportive of whatever she decides. The problem is Paige is recovering from the death of her former boyfriend in an accident and also the recent loss of her beloved grandmother. And memories of the lead up to the divorce of her parents still haunt her, despite the fact that they seem to be getting along really well following the separation. Although she has had counselling Paige still experiences anxiety about any decision she has to make and always fears all the worse possible case scenarios. Then there is another accident which sets her back even more, and all the relationships she cares about start to crumble.
Whilst Lord's novel builds a world of teenager friendships that most young people might easily relate to, for the non-American reader some of the language and situations could be quite unfamiliar and a bit off-putting: words such as freshman, sophomore, senior;  the complicated process of applying and writing to universities; baseball and cheerleading; homecoming balls etc. But if you can get past that, the characters are warm and relatable, the twists of the relationships are interesting, and the story of overcoming panic attacks and insecurities may become another useful addition to the genre of young adult fiction that deal with mental health issues, with ultimately a positive message.
Themes: Anxiety, Panic attacks.
Helen Eddy

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