The only perspective in this book, Leo has some secrets to hide, a mask of courage to wear, and pain to forget and escape from. Trying to get far away from her home, she studies hard for the SAT to get a much better score. She gets a major detour when Paris, her beloved sister who Leo will always look after and watch, disappears and leaves behind a very cryptic clue. Max Sullivan and Leo join forces to search for Paris. On the journey, Leo rediscovers herself and questions everything she knows about Paris.
Max, who Leo just met at a diner, is the keeper of many secrets, including some involving Leo and her sister. Though he seems to be friendly and open, he has ulterior motives and much more layers. He is smart, but he is also weighed down by said secrets. He is passionate, and he is a full character. Max and Leo share great chemistry with each other.
The mystery of Paris is not without clues and a villain. The villain is a rather frightening character. He/she isn't straightforwardly evil (say Lord Voldemort) but much more complex and subtle. There are so many people out there in the world like him/her. The villain has an ignorant accomplice, who is represents sheer ignorance. It is a fascinating case, and Joy Preble is adept at creating a realistic and puzzling situation for the heroines and hero.
Some random thoughts: The plot is great, and it moves quickly without stalling or faltering. There is little time for readers to rest their eyes. The writing style makes readers enjoy the book more. Despite Leo knowing great amounts of SAT vocabulary words (as one would presume so, because she is retaking the SATs for a higher score to get into Stanford University), the descriptions are short and understandable.
In conclusion, FINDING PARIS is a story of two sisters who will do anything to protect each other. Spinning secrets, lies, truth, and deceit altogether, Joy Preble creates a well-balanced and daring novel of good and evil.
Rating: Four out of Five
Mainly set in Vegas, some of the city's grit rubs off on the setting and is reflected in the brief use of colorful language. This not so perfect world of Leo and Paris is felt in the first person narration as Leo struggles with her sister's disappearance and is reliant on others to aid her in the search. With her desperate need to find her sister, she allows herself to make risky decisions.
What I enjoyed was the sisterly bond that was apparent throughout the entire book. Leo and Paris have a shared family drama but most goes undiscussed. Secrets have a way of festering and for Leo, questions of trust and choice battle within her throughout her hunt the somewhat erratic Paris.
This was a short book, under 300 pages, so it ended up being a pretty fast read. I really liked the whole concept of the book, that and the cover was what originally caught my attention but I stayed with the book for the sisterly bond between Paris and Leo. They had a very ‘us against the world’ type of attitude and with their circumstances, I completely understood it.
I really liked Leo as a character. She was determined to get out of her current situation, she had a plan, and she was doing everything in her power to succeed at that plan. She obviously cared about her sister and she was very book smart, but definitely lacked some common sense. She even remarked a few times how crazy it was that she was running around town with a complete stranger just because he offered to help. Paris was one of those characters where it was hard to fully understand her until the end. She was definitely more of a free-spirit than Leo and until her motivations are fully realized, she could seem selfish and unpredictable and maybe a little wild.
I did find that Leo and Max fell for each other a little too quickly. The book took place all within a few days so I could have understood them sharing secrets between them or beginning to fall for each other, it all happened a little fast. They were cute together though and I would have bought into a slower developed romance.
For the most part, I liked the road trip hunt for Paris. I did find it a little weird that the notes where always there even if it took a while for Leo to find them. Less public places made sense for the notes to still be there but the busy spots, I found it strange no one else had noticed the note and taken it. It was something that I could overlook for convenience’s sake of the plot.
Paris’s reasoning and the big reveal made a lot of sense once everything was exposed. It was something I was expecting and I thought the author did a good job at hinting at the conclusion so it didn’t feel like the twist came out of nowhere, like it was a plot device to shock the reader.
A fast read with an interesting sibling dynamic and some twists while road tripping.