Title: Finding Paris
Author: Joy Preble
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
This book was given to me by the publisher, Balzer and Bray, through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review--thank you so much!
Lately, I've been getting into contemporary fiction--it's a genre I've grown to enjoy (dare I say, love?) as much as any high fantasy novel. And I'm happy to report to you guys that 2015 seems to be a great year for contemporary young adult fiction. This is Joy Preble's contemporary fiction debut. I've had my eye on her Anastasia series for a while now, so when I saw that this was up for grabs, I went for it, letting my curiosity lead me.
I love novels about family; in particular, married couples, and sibling relationships. Leonora aka Leo Hollings and her sister, Paris, are complete opposites. Paris is the social butterfly, the life of the party, flighty and beautiful, magnetic and compelling. Leo, on the other hand, is the go-getter. The straight shooter, the would-be doctor, science fanatic. Two sides of the same coin, and there's no one they trust more than one another.
That is, until the night Paris disappears, leaving Leo in a diner in the middle of Vegas at four in the morning. Led by a mysterious set of cryptic, vague clues, she meets Max Sullivan--a stranger, an acquaintance forged by a piece of bad coconut cream pie. Feeling she has no one to trust, Leo and Max set off to try and find Paris. And in the process, discover themselves, and the fact that even the most unassuming people have their secrets.
I really enjoyed this book. It was nice getting inside Leo's head. The girl who thinks she has it all figured out, until the night her life is turned upside down. I really enjoyed her, and her character development. Quiet, unassuming, and rock solid, I loved that you got past her perfect facade. Our image is so important to us when we're young--we all want to be seen in a certain way. I loved that she was real, and flawed, and utterly beautiful. And then there's Paris, her sister, a figure you only really interact with in Leo's memories, a faint presence of the past always on her mind. And then Max, the boy that Leo may or may not be falling for, who has more secrets of his own than he's willing to really admit, but truly wants Leo to be happy. Leo's family, too, were complex and dynamic. Not really likable, but definitely able to leave an impression on the reader.
The pacing was breakneck--I couldn't put it down, once I began to try piecing together Paris's disappearance. I loved the way the book went--I was expecting it to go one direction, but it completely reversed, and I didn't see it coming! I loved the twists that this book contained. A lovely tale of road trips, sisterhood, cute boys, and self-discovery, but what really sold me on this book was the explosive ending.
This book was wonderful, it really was, but at times, it just seemed like the journey Leo goes on gets a little out of control, and it didn't make sense to me that Leo was directed away. (You'll see in the book!) The bottom line: An engaging, sensitive contemporary debut, I loved Finding Paris--one of my favorite contemporary books of the year! Next on deck: Every Last Promise by Kristin Halbrook!