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Book Review: Places We've Never Been by Kasie West

If you haven't read a Kasie West book yet, I am here to tell you that you need to. Okay? Okay.


I was first introduced to Kasie West after I graduated high school in 2016. The first book I picked up by her was The Fill-In Boyfriend and I was hooked. I have been reading her novels ever since and I was so excited to pick this one up. Perks of working in Barnes & Noble: I know what books come out when and that we'll get more, so I didn't feel bad about getting this book basically the day it came out.


Kasie West writes feel-good YA contemporary romance. The plots may be a little cliche, but that's what I like about her books. They're easy to follow. But her characters are the real stars. This book was no exception. Kasie West did it again. She made me laugh, almost cry, and turned my heart to mush. I had all the feels.


Synopsis


Friends...to enemies...to lovers?


Norah Simon's summer road trip is going to be absolutely perfect. She's leaving California for the first time in her life. SHe's interviewing at her dream college (the place for future video game animators). And she's reconnecting with her childhood friend, Skyler Hutton--the boy who taught her to draw, the boy she still hasn't forgotten about after all these ears. What could go wrong?


Cue the RV filled with three siblings, two moms, one bathroom, and years of memories, and suddenly this trip isn't quite the vacation Norah was hoping for--especiall when Skyler makes it clear he would rather be anywhere else. But Norah isn't one to give up without a fight. ANd as the families travel from desert heat to mountain vista, sparks begin to fl between two ex-best friends--after all, friendship doesn't just fade away. Does it?


My Thoughts


Upon reading the first chapter, I obviously knew something was off between Norah and Skyler. Not only because of the synopsis, but because of his attitude towards her.


The book jumps from past to present a few times, but in a way that isn't confusing. Norah is so excited to see her best friend, the one she hasn't seen in four years, who inspired her dream of being a video game animator. She puts on the friendship bracelet he gave her four years ago. She packs the notebook they used to communicate in their cell phone-less days as tweens to early teens. She's ready to be reunited. But it becomes extremely evident that he does not want to be ther because of one thing: he thinks she had a crush on her. Her mission: make him believe she didn't. Easy, right?


But then he starts to be a jerk. He ignores her. He isn't the same-old Skyler Norah knew four years earlier. And they both decide they are no longer friends. Because who wants to be friends with a demon child (Willow's words -- Norah's best friend since seventh grade after Skyler's move).


As the two find themselves stuck in an RV during this trip, they start to learn more about each other. New developments. And things start to change between them. At the same time, Norah is trying to figure out one thing: Why the summer trip now? Why wait four years?


I really loved this book. Skyler was funny. It was so cool to see a glimpse between who he was in his early tween/teen years compared to who he is now. And the same goes for Norah. As the reader, we see the comparison between levels of friendship. And I was rooting for them so badly. Because they're not only cute together, but their friendship was a total vibe.


Paisley, Skyler's younger sister was the comedic relief, as well as Skyler's older brother Austin and Norah's older brother Ezra. The teens in this book, who deemed one RV the "teen bus," really made the book for me. Norah is wild and creative and funny. Skyler is quiet and private but knows how to have fun when it's needed. Ezra, Paisley, and Austin provide the small sibling rivalries and comments that this book needed. Everything about it just made my heart happy. Especially the adventure.


This was such a cute summer read. And I'm so glad I got to read it.


Annotations


Like I have done for my past few reads, I annotated. Here's what I did:


  • Pink: Humor

  • Orange: Plot

  • Green: Thoughts/Predictions

  • Purple: Romance/Relationships

  • Blue: Adventure

  • Red: Character Development

I used so many of these. And I'm not the least bit sad. It makes me happy to see the small tabs sticking out through the pages. And it's so aesthetically pleasing when they kind of match the cover (which was intentional).


My Rating:


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


This book is definitel worth the read.If you're a Kasie West fan, you need to read this book. If you haven't read anything by her yet, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!


Song I Thought Matched This Book:



Have you read this book yet? Or is it on your TBR? Let me know in the comments. Let's start a conversation!

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