I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley and Quercus Books in exchange for an honest review.
Disclaimer: This book contains drug use, mental health, consent and sexual assault.
Addie and her sister are about to embark on an epic road trip to a friend’s wedding in rural Scotland. The playlist is all planned and the snacks are packed.
But, not long after setting off, a car slams into the back of theirs. The driver is none other than Addie’s ex, Dylan, who she’s avoided since their traumatic break-up two years earlier.
Dylan and his best mate are heading to the wedding too, and they’ve totalled their car, so Addie has no choice but to offer them a ride. The car is soon jam-packed full of luggage and secrets, and with four-hundred miles ahead of them, Dylan and Addie can’t avoid confronting the very messy history of their relationship…
Will they make it to the wedding on time? And, more importantly, is this really the end of the road for Addie and Dylan?
Beth O’Leary is a name on a lot of people’s lips (and TBR lists) so I was made up when my request to read her latest release, The Road Trip, was approved (especially considering it was one of my most anticipated books for 2021).
I quite enjoyed The Flatshare (rating it 4.5 stars back when I rated books!) and have yet to read The Switch (it’s on my Kindle waiting to be read, once I get through my never ending TBR) but I went into this one with caution: can an author whose two books have garnered so much attention and hype deliver a third that’s just as good (or better?).
At first, I wasn’t sure where to place this one. It looked – from the bright, fun cover (as is customary of O’Leary’s books, hence the fact they’re plastered all over Instagram) – like a fun, road-trip narrative that would do very little to quash my desire to get in a car and drive (or be driven, considering the thought of getting behind a wheel – and being responsible for myself and a car – gives me the creeps. Big time). Of course, looks can be deceiving and – as I delved deeper into this book – that proved to be the case.
The Road Trip doesn’t waste time getting started as – within seconds of the opening chapter – the reader witnesses the crash that not only leaves Addie with whiplash but with two extra passengers, one of which is her ex.
It’s such a bizarre set up, two sisters, two best friends and one random acquaintance but with humour, heart and seriousness O’Leary crafted a book I just couldn’t put down. I was laughing, eye-rolling and swooning throughout.
I’m sure I’ve said this before but I do love a second chance romance, as long as it’s done well, and O’Leary certainly does it well. A lot of people have read holiday romances but it’s very rare we see stories of how the romance works – or doesn’t – when everyone returns home. The start of Addie and Dylan’s romance is sun-soaked and steamy, even though Dylan’s Uncle Terry lurks in the wings. Weaving between past and present, O’Leary takes the reader from fling to thing and showcases every moment of the relationship. It’s sensitive and sweet and honest, which is very rare.
O’Leary also presents other relationships brilliantly. Though I do wish Deb was included more in the story, there’s no denying I loved the relationship between her and Addie. I’m very close to my own sister so I love seeing sibling relationships portrayed in books. I also really appreciated the relationship between Dylan and Marcus. Even though Marcus was a difficult character to mesh with, and Dylan was a bit pretentious at times, I think O’Leary does a brilliant job of conveying fiercely loyal friendships and how far we go to make sure the people we love are ok.
A bit like the trip the book depicts, the book itself was a little bit slow in pace. It took a while to get started, and – much like the car journey- required snacks and tunes (got to say, I loved the occasional Taylor Swift tune thrown in there). Of course, once it got going, I read it quickly.
I thought I’d love the relationship this book depicted but, in all honesty, I didn’t. Though there were sweet, tender moments and I can’t deny watching Dylan and Addie fall for each other in the past was a joy, I wasn’t fond of their relationship in the present and – whilst many people will be happy with the ending – I kind of wasn’t.
Regardless, there’s no denying that The Road Trip is a good read. It had wholesome, funny moments mixed with serious, emotional ones. It definitely made me excited for whatever O’Leary has planned next…
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