Review: Your Destination Is on the Left by Lauren Spieller

Your Destination Is on the Left by Lauren Spieller
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming of Age
Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Add to Goodreads!
Amazon | BN | Indiebound
Seventeen-year-old Dessa Rhodes is torn between leaving her modern nomadic life and pursuing her dreams of becoming an artist in this fun, contemporary debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson.

Dessa Rhodes is a modern day nomad. Her family travels in an RV, their lives defined by state lines, exit signs, and the small communal caravan they call home. Among them is Cyrus, her best friend and long-time crush, whom she knows she can never be with. When your families are perpetually linked, it’s too dangerous to take a risk on romance.

Instead, Dessa looks to the future. She wants to be a real artist and going to art school is her ticket to success and a new life. There’s just one problem: she hasn’t been accepted…anywhere. Suddenly her future is wide open, and it looks like she’s going to be stuck traveling forever.

Then an unexpected opportunity presents itself: an internship working with a local artist in Santa Fe. Dessa struggles to prove to her boss—and herself—that she belongs there, but just as she finally hits her stride, her family suffers an unexpected blow. Faced with losing everything that she has worked for, Dessa has a difficult decision to make. Will she say goodbye to her nomadic lifestyle and the boy she loves? Or will she choose to never stop moving?


Well it's official: I have a new favorite 2018 debut and its none other than Lauren Spieller's Your Destination Is on the Left

I never planned on reading this book in February given its June release date; however, in a moment of weakness, or as I like to call it curiosity, I read the first chapter. Before I knew it the first chapter turned into the fifth, and by the end of the night I had read it from start-to-finish in one sitting. 

Do I have any regrets? No and yes. 

No, because Your Destination Is on the Left is seriously fantastic! Read-in-one-sitting-I-can't-stop-won't-stop fantastic. It's about growing up, letting go, being brave, and standing up for yourself. I loved the art world. I loved the setting. And I especially loved the characters! 

Yes, because now I'm going through good-book-withdrawl, wishing it could have gone on and on forever, because what am I possibly going to do now? Especially when Lauren's next book isn't due out until FALL 2019. Cue the sobs. 

Until then I guess I'll have to make do with raving about this book non-stop. Therefore, to give you a feel of why you should read Your Destination Is on the Left, here's a list of the top six reasons! 

1) Dessa: 

When Dessa is first introduced, she's craving routine and normalcy. She loves her parents and she's enjoyed their traveler lifestyle, but now she wants to settle down, preferably at a nice college with an art program. Dessa is this wonderful mix of determined and frightened. She knows what she wants - an art degree & her work to be featured and maybe even admired - and she's determined to achieve her goals, no matter how many walls she has to break down or hard decisions she may need to make. At the same time, however, she's terrified, shaking-in-her-boots-don't-know-what-to-do terrified, because after a series of rejection letters, her dreams suddenly seem out of reach. She's nervous - is she cut out to be an artist? Are these programs seeing something she's not seeing? She's suddenly vulnerable and at an unexpected crossroad. All of this is what made her story more believable, more realistic, because who hasn't experienced a setback, a moment of weakness where you wonder if you're cut out to do what you want. I could relate and I'm sure others will as well. It also didn't hurt that Dessa has spunk. She's funny; she's the perfect amount of reckless; and she's passionate. Lauren did such a great job of capturing Dessa's voice, and more importantly, giving a voice to any teenager who's not known what to do next. 

2) The Other CharactersCyrus, Dessa's grandmother as well as her dad, Taryn.... I loved them all! Taryn was definitely a surprise. When she was first introduced, I never expected her to play as big of a role as she ended up playing. It was great to see the friendship develop between her and Dessa, and I especially liked when she'd call Dessa out on being ridiculous. I will say, though, Dessa's mom drove me insane! I couldn't stand the woman. I know she thought her intuitions were good, but goodness, they just seemed so incredibly selfish to me. 

3) The art - 

I've never been that into art; however, I loved reading about it here. It was interesting to see the inner-workings of the art world - the gallery openings, the preparation, the good days, and the bad days. I also enjoyed getting a look into to Dessa's work (I wish her paintings were real!). 

4) The romance - 

It wasn't a huge part of the book; however, when it did take front-and-center stage it was so incredibly well done. I always love a good friends-to-lovers romance, and it didn't hurt that I loved Cyrus. He was swoony and adorable. I wasn't even that mad when he made some ridiculous choices. Additionally, I adored Dessa and Cyrus together. They meshed together so well it felt like they had been together for years, but I also appreciated that everything wasn't always perfect - they had spats, mixed signals, and goals that conflicted. Sometimes I feared it wouldn't work, but I still held out hope. 

5) Growing up, making mistakes, and learning - 

As hinted to above so much of Your Destination Is on the Left focuses on growing up and leaving the "nest." Stories like this are what make me love contemporary, stories that are more character driven that plot driven, that focus on the beautiful and cruel parts of growing up, that take something so ordinary and make it so extraordinary (i.e. the traveler aspect here). 

6) The writing 

One word: gorgeous! I can't believe this is Lauren's first book that's how good it is. 

Overall, Your Destination Is on the Left is yet another fantastic 2018 debut! Heartwarming, beautifully written, and empowering, Your Destination Is on the Left will humor, excite, inspire, dazzle and anger you...maybe even all five at the same time. 

5 stars!! 

1 comment:

  1. I also enjoyed this book. I found the art and the nomad lifestyle fascinating. I wanted more of that fantastic romance too. Cyrus <3


I love comments so never be afraid to leave one!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Design by Imagination Designs
Artwork by www.CreateTheCut.com