GENRE: Young Adult – Fiction, Romance, Road Trip
While I was asked to read this book for review by the author and publisher, Untreed Reads, I have received no compensation for this review outside of the joy of reading!
SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads): Nick Novaczek is a cautious soul, a 17-year old with a boring life, a predictable future, and a quiet thirst for danger. On the eve of his beloved grandmother’s funeral, danger finds him by the motel swimming pool. Her name is Celia and she’s everything he’s not. This foul-mouthed beauty is hitchhiking across the country to make amends with her estranged father and doesn’t carry an ounce of fear or hesitation in her tattered suitcase. She’s bad news all around, but for a rule-follower like Nick, she’s intoxicating.
Twenty-four hours after speaking to Celia for the very first time, following one extremely lucky night, Nick is hopelessly hooked and “borrows” his parents’ car to join her cross-country mission, even though her story is full of holes. It’s the mistake he’s been waiting his whole life to make. Together, they dodge a train, jump off a bridge, and scam everyone in their path. Nick is blossoming into a teenage fugitive, just like Celia, and he’s never been happier. She may not be who she says she is, but she’s got his vulnerable heart.
After weeks of detours, with hundreds of miles left to go, their wild adventure starts to unravel. The money dries up, Celia’s dark secrets begin to surface, and it’s clear they both want vastly different things out of this partnership. Celia is all about no strings attached and severing whatever they may have between them once they reach their destination, while Nick is head over heels in love and wanting a future with the girl in his passenger seat. They seem to reach a new low on a daily basis, but she won’t turn back, no matter how desperate things get. After all, this is her trip and Nick is just the driver. Celia’s got a charming smile to pay her way, a willing accomplice, a hidden agenda, and an endless supply of lies. Not to mention a gun.
REVIEW: A roadtrip gone mad; an adventure gone twisted. Celia on the Run is a trip with two young adults; one wild with love, one driven by something unknown, across the country in a sort of stolen car, forced to live on nothing but their next scam.
I am always attracted to road trip/travel type books. I love the way they are normally set up; with their destinations, and detours. I love how the characters move from Point A to Point B, not only in their trip, but also in their lives. In these types of books, the characters always have baggage of some sort or another. There is almost always attraction between characters, and a kinship formed between them. The books usually end up having playlists – as when you are traveling, music is always involved, and on more than one occasion I have actually purchased music to recreate one or two of the book’s playlists, because I feel like I’m connecting more with the characters and their world. I love “visiting” the stops and locations along the trip, and seeing the world through the eyes of the characters. In the end I’m left with that feeling of wishing I could just drop everything and take a trip of my own.
I can say that with Celia on the Run, most of these things are true; but not the last. This was a road trip I was actually happy not to be a part of in reality. Celia carries a lot of burden, and Nick is a bit oblivious for a good portion of the trip. He knows that there is something not quite right about her, but he is lost in his love and obsession of her to really stop and evaluate what really might be going on. I found this a little bit frustrating, especially when taking a closer look was just a passing thought in his head and then putting the whole thing off as “letting her have her space.” She was very obviously screaming for help.
I was describing reading this book to a friend recently, and I believe my words were something along these lines, “it’s not a bad book at all, actually its written very well and for the most part I like the characters, but I’m reading timidly; waiting on the train wreck that is going to inevitably happen.” The thing is, it is very evident from the start of the book that some major collision is going to happen at some point. Evidenced by the downward spiral of events that starts at Celia and Nick’s very first real encounter, you just know something very serious is going to happen. And it does. Well, many serious things do actually. I was so caught up in the characters, and the story I couldn’t put the book down, but I truly was reading with caution; almost afraid to become too attached to the characters in a way, mostly because I don’t typically like too much reality in my books. I live reality; I read to escape it. However, sticking by this book, and finishing it out to the end was rewarding in a surprising way. I was not expecting how it ended, even though could see hints of it throughout, I just wasn’t positive how the author was going to spin the foreshadowing – but I was pretty happy with the results.
Sarah Mandell put not only a lot of time and obvious love into her novel, but there is an entire website that will make this trip even more real (complete with soundtrack!) that I encourage you to check out.
So, I’d love to give you the chance to take this wild trip with Celia and Nick, and find out what happens on the other side of the train wreck. The publisher has offered a copy of Celia on the Run, therefore I have set up a giveaway below. To win a free ebook copy of Celia on the Run fill out the rafflecopter form. The first entry is free (even if you don’t leave a comment – just click through, I’m not that particular), and there is an additional option for entry as well.