Notes from the Backseat
Its kind of funny how you might know someone for a really long time and never truly know them. Marla thought she knew her best friend Gwen, but she never knew Gwen could write so much.
The story starts out with Marla in Paris, meeting her fiancÃ©s parents. However, most of the story is told from Gwens point of view through the journals she sends to Marla. Gwen is going on a trip with her boyfriend of almost three months, Coop, and Coops best friend from college, Dannika. What Coop doesnt know is that Gwen has massive jealousy problems, and the fact that Dannika is a beautiful blonde in a yoga-toned body doesnt help.
As one would expect, the story ends well. I found many parallels between Notes from the Backseat and Faking 19 (see review here). The main characters are two girls who have been best friends since high school. There is a divorce involved in both, and the girls from those families come to terms with or learn to accept their fathers. And of course, theres the happy ending.
Theres a repeated phrase in this novel that really stuck with me: We are not out parents. It shows that no matter what our parents do, we can always blaze our own trail because were not destined to follow directly in their footsteps, as realized by Gwen and her new friend Joni. Thats the phrase that helped Joni get through her wedding and Gwen come to accept her dads mistakes.
What I like best about this novel was the descriptiveness. Gwen, Coop, and Dannika do a lot of driving, and each new scene and setting is exquisitely described. I felt like I was there beside them. I also really appreciated the complicated personalities of the characters. All the jealousy, anger, and finally happiness makes them seem human.
I would recommend this book to teens, although I believe it was aimed at an older audience. There are some mature scenes, so it would be best for older teens to read.