Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler
Release Date: November 17, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: Received From Author, Bought
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Reagan Forrester wants out—out of her trailer park, out of reach of her freeloading mother, and out of the shadow of the relationship that made her the pariah of Charytan, Kansas.
Victoria Reyes wants in—in to a fashion design program, in to the arms of a cute guy who doesn’t go to Charytan High, and in to a city where she won’t stand out for being Mexican.
One thing the polar-opposite best friends do agree on is that wherever they go, they’re staying together. But when they set off on a series of college visits at the start of their senior year, they quickly see that the future doesn’t look quite like they expected. After two years of near-solitude following the betrayal of the ex-boyfriend who broke her heart, Reagan falls hard and fast for a Battlestar Galactica-loving, brilliant smile-sporting pre-med prospective… only to learn she’s set herself up for heartbreak all over again. Meanwhile, Victoria runs full-speed toward all the things she thinks she wants… only to realize everything she’s looking for might be in the very place they’ve sworn to leave.
As both Reagan and Victoria struggle to learn who they are and what they want in the present, they discover just how much they don’t know about each other’s pasts. And when each learns what the other’s been hiding, they’ll have to decide whether their friendship has a future.
If you’re looking for a solid contemporary story that thrives on the friendship between two young girls as they prepare to embrace college, big changes, and independence, you might want to read Just Visiting…
In Just Visiting, we follow two POVs, Reagan, a girl who lives in a trailer park with her deadbeat parents and is working her behind off, determined to become the exact opposite of them…(yay for this class representation and sharing the realities of what it’s like to not even really meet middle class) and her best friend of about two years, Victoria, who is more well off than Reagan but just as lost once she realizes the plans that she had for college won’t exactly pan out how she expected. Victoria is Mexican and her being a minority is a subject that is not shied away from in this book which, as a minority, I very much appreciated. Also, her mother is deaf and I really loved the execution of the communication here.
And can we just take a minute to acknowledge that both parents are in the home for both of the main characters?! How rare is that! This was so awesome to see. Yes, the parents have issues but they are together. And that is super refreshing in a land of YA books where parents seem to be all but nonexistent. So, kudos for not only creating parents but making them so complex and making the dynamics so real and raw and exciting.
So Reagan and Victoria’s story really kicks off when they make their first visit to their first choice prospective college. All of my own crazy campus visit memories came back when I read this. There’s not much to say here without spoiling the book for you but I will say that I quite enjoyed feeling again that rush of excitement pre-college, that feeling of hope and exhilaration and fear and anxiety and determination and surrender and standing your ground as you start over and oh so many feelings when you’re graduating high school and starting your freshman year in college. All all of these feelings came back.
And that feeling when you visit college, meet new people, cling to a few of them, sparks fly between you and one of them, and then, and then….well, like I said, I don’t want to spoil it. But if this type of nostalgia (and the drama that goes along with it) is something you’re in the mood to read, this compelling read will definitely fill your appetite.
Just Visiting is warm and funny, sexy, tense, and encouraging no matter where you are on your own journey as you navigate the roads of love and loss, of life. Plus, there are lots of awesome references. I particularly liked one early one; “I dare you to call Janis Joplin a screaming banshee to her face.” Ha! And I don’t know if “Freckles” was a reference to Lost or not but that’s all I could think about every time it came up.
Anyway, Just Visiting is probably the most quiet of all of Adler’s books, I’d say but it’s also the absolute perfect summer read, especially for those who have just graduated high school and are making the transition to college and for those in any transition and in need of a reminder that you don’t have to do it alone.
Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler is available now.