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Sunday 27 September 2020

Review: The Map From Here To There

This coming of age novel centres on the last year of high school for Paige Hancock and her friends. 

Paige seems to have it all mapped out – she has a part-time job she loves at the local cinema, the perfect boyfriend in Max and her close friends. 

Everything seems so perfect, Paige doesn’t want anything to change, but of course that is when it all does.

Her job at the local cinema allows Paige to save for her college tuition. Except her divorced parents who are currently dating (in a bizarre dark comedy sort of way) have expectations of where Paige will be going and studying.  

Paige knows things need to change but wishes it could stay the same forever. 

A chance workshop in English allows Paige to explore screenwriting and encourages her to think she may have a future career; instead of being the English teacher which is expected of her. Changing career paths means applying to film schools in New York and Los Angeles – that wasn’t in the plan.

Another chance meeting at a screenwriting workshop introduces her to Maeve who eventually becomes her writing partner and adds another level of complexity to the decisions Paige is making – should they apply to the same film schools?

Her perfect boyfriend Max, who has just returned from spending the summer in Italy already knows that he will be studying pre-med just like his parents. However, he unwittingly puts pressure on Paige by declaring he wants them to get married, when she baulks at the idea, they split - sending Paige down a rabbit hole of emotions.

Paige is then involved in a near fatal car accident and everything spins out of her control.  Paige begins to experience panic attacks and anxiety, feelings she thought had been dealt with a long time ago. The rest of her life relies on these decisions, what if she makes the wrong one?

Seeking help, Paige is diagnosed with traumatic grief which stems from the death of her previous boyfriend Aaron who drowned in a freak accident. How Paige deals with these life changing decisions, her counselling sessions and the direction life takes her is a rewarding read.

This story highlights the stress and life changing decisions that all teenagers face when catapulted into adulthood. While author Emery Lord depicts the tumultuous feelings, expectations and decision making that happens in real life, she also offers hope and clarity. Life never goes to plan, but there are always new opportunities to explore and embrace.

Title: The Map From Here To There
Author: Emery Lord
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, $14.99  
Publication Date: 31 March 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781526606648
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult Fiction