Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book Review: "The Last Place I Want to Be" by P. Buchanan

At fourteen, Amy is supposed to be hanging out with friends and enjoying life as a carefree teenager. Instead, her father announces he's moving the family across the country—away from home, away from friends, and away from the school newspaper that Amy adores. And all to open a bed-and-breakfast in a tiny Northern California town. Why her? Why now?

Feeling like the newbie she is, Amy is left out and alone. How is she supposed to fit in where she is obviously not welcome? And how can she help her family with their new business when she is so unhappy? When finally Amy seeks God's guidance, she quickly learns that God's answers to prayer are never what we expect.

I love finding little gems of reading goodness that I would have never come across had it not been for being a book blogger. This book was one of those little nuggets of reading joy. Honestly I just could not get over how much I enjoyed reading this book. It had everything I love in a YA book - food, friendships, characters I could relate to, small town settings, deep characterizations. Amy is trying to fit in with her new surroundings but she's having trouble. When she does manage to find a niche with the school paper, it's not the glam job she thought it was going to be.

There were times when Amy really got on my nerves with her attitude. I understand her desire to fit in and get a head start on the school paper. However the way she came across was very unlikable. She just acted like a know it all and was incredibly naive about how things were run. I think the worse was just her assumption that she would get a top position simply because she had gone to a bigger school and thought she knew better than the other staff members. Her first impressions of the other girls on the staff are incredibly snobbish considering the fact that she's just a lowly freshman AND the new girl! Therefore her transformation throughout the book is much needed and comes across very naturally and believable. The author is male, but you would never know it from the story as the story is told perfectly in a 14 year old female's POV. It's full of all those awkward moments of growing up and learning that it's ok to be wrong.

I loved the small town setting and all the townsfolk that showed up in the story. Billie and Mark's story is hilarious. There's a lot of miscommunication and hurt feelings that could have been avoided if pride didn't get in the way but it all played out very well. I also really liked seeing the inn transform both physically and how it affected Amy's family. I felt that Amy's dad's dream of having the bed and breakfast open was parallel to Amy's dream about the newspaper. It didn't work out exactly as they both planned but it ended up being better for them in the long run.

The only qualm I had was that it's never found out as to why Amy's letters got unanswered. I chalk it up to friendships fading after one moves away, but still it leaves the reader hanging and I would have liked a definite answer. Other than this, I am just raving about the book. Really, the entire book was just really enjoyable to read. It's a rather thin book at less than 200 pages, but the story is one that is very comforting to read and reaches deep. If I could find out more information about the author, I would love to know if he has any other novels published because this book was a total pleasure for me. HIGHLY recommended.

The Last Place I Want to Be by P. Buchanan is published by Kregel (2009)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

4 comments:

  1. I understand her desire to fit in and get a head start on the school paper. However the way she came across was very unlikable
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  2. I saw this book featured in another Kregel YA book, and I knew I'd want to read it some day. I enjoyed your review! :o)

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