Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 2296
No Place Like Here
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
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.
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