Featured Review: No Place Like Here (Christina June)
About This Book:
Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down. The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes—inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere—can help her cope. With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.
*Review Contributed By Elisha Jachetti Staff Reviewer*
NO PLACE LIKE HERE by Christina June is a YA contemporary novel set in the Pennsylvania wilderness. Ashlyn, an admittedly bookish girl, is shipped off to work at a summer camp after she finds out her dad is going to prison for committing a white-collar crime and her mom is going to rehab for depression. Ashlyn is used to being sent away, having spent the last year at boarding school, but this time she’ll be with her estranged cousin, someone who could potentially be her friend and ally. With her dad’s negative comments always haunting the back of her mind, Ashlyn must learn to silence them if she’s going to make it in this new place.
Ashlyn’s struggle with finding her own voice is completely relatable. For teenagers and even adults, there is so much messaging encouraging us to be perfect. We must do the right things, say the right things, look the right way, and never make a mistake. It is quite a mountain to climb and Ashlyn finds herself doing that. What makes it worse is that her dad, even from prison, is very demanding and belittling. He always looks for the bad in Ashlyn’s behavior, so much so that she’s decided it’s better to do nothing than to risk failure. Her journey is one that could help a lot of people struggling with shame and self-confidence and I wish I had this book when I was younger.
NO PLACE LIKE HERE’s setting is dreamy. I always wanted to work at a summer camp, even though, like Ashlyn, I’m not the biggest fan of dirt or bugs. This book took me there, even if it was just for a few days. I love that there is no cell reception or internet connection where Ashlyn is working. The story reminds us of the kind of adventures we could have if we spent less time on our phones and opted to get outside more. It even inspired me to look up wilderness certifications and zip lining.
Despite awkward dialogue and a few predictable plotlines, NO PLACE LIKE HERE is the perfect beach read. It’s quick, entertaining, and good for fans of Sarah Dessen.
*Find More Info On This Book HERE!*