Note: This ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
"I just want to, I don't know..." She tips her head to the side. "I know it sounds dumb, but...feel life; do regular stuff. I feel like I missed everything."
Emily O'Beirne became a go-to author from the moment I fell in love and finished her debut novel, A Story of Now, and with the release of her third and latest book, Points of Departure, a young adult (YA) standalone, she proves that she isn't a two-hit wonder. She's given us the stories of five different young women at the cusp of adulthood. A trip that was supposed to take the five of them to various parts of the world changes when one of them is no longer able to go. She's the one friend that connects the other four, and her absence has everyone else wondering how they're supposed to interact with one another. Regardless of where they may be, Liza, Kit, Olivia, Tam, and Mai are taking a temporary respite before each one is ready to safely arrive at new choices and decision that will having them going off to new and varied points of departure, leading them to destinations that could very well shape the rest of their lives. This is a coming of age story, one that's written with authentic purpose and well-put together prose, and it's a fab book I wouldn't second guess in recommending, whether you be a reader of F/F literature or not.
The plan to go on vacation after they finish their twelfth year has been one that Liza, Kit, Olivia, Tam, and Mai have had for quite some time, so when Kit announces that she has to back out because of sudden monetary concerns, her best friend Liza feels uneasy. She isn't close to the three other girls, even though Tam being Kit's cousin and someone she's interacted with before being a possible go-to person she could hang out with, plus having recently told her parents that not only is she quitting running as a competitive sport but she also happens to be gay has her wanting her best friend to lean on. Olivia, Kit's other best friend, desperately needs Kit along for the trip, needing someone to talk to about how her long-held plans are falling apart and how her ex-boyfriend refuses to talk to her. Then there's Tam, who worries about her father and who is now unsure as to what exactly it is she shares with the boy she finally took a chance on. And let's not forget Mai, who knows how to have a good time but is much more than a flirtatious partier. Five girls with different personalities and varied dreams but all five headed for many changes to be faced.
The story is told from the third-person points of view of Liza, Kit, Olivia, and Tam, with Mai being the all-around supporting character. You would think that having more than two points of view would make it difficult to keep tabs on what's happening to whom, but the author did such an admirable job keeping each character's story line on-point. Kit may have been the common thread that tied Liza, Olivia, Tam, and Mai together, but each girl was able to stand on her own story line and together, the four girls were able to weave together their own shared stories, forging new friendships with each other, separate from what they had with Kit. Each one of them is only eighteen, and not all of them are headed for university. Mai has always known what's up next for her; Tam knows what she wants as her profession but her personal life is still one big question mark and she can't help but be concerned about her father; Liza has made her decision regarding being athlete and now wants to experience what she's missed out on; Olivia was supposed to study law, but failing grades have left her in limbo; And Kit is figuring what she's meant to do.
Each of the characters are on different journeys in their lives, but whatever road they may have been on has merged with those of the four others. They learn things about one another but what happens during their summer vacation is that they ultimately learn more about themselves as individuals. They may have set plans, but if there's one thing life teaches you, it's that plans can change, and it's up to you whether you allow yourself to be left behind or to take an unexplored avenue simply waiting to be found. It would be difficult for me to choose which among the five girls I can most relate to story-wise. In terms of personality, it would have to be Liza, who isn't comfortable with new people, needing to feel her way first. I can take parts of each of their stories and recognize having been there at one point or even still being in the middle of it at the moment. Each of the four girls has their individual epiphanies, and I do believe the book ends the way it should: with each of their lives in motion, in flux, but finding happiness in the now while cementing, hopefully, lifelong friendships with one another. Five-plus stars for Points of Departure. ♥
Release Date: 15 June 2016 (Ylva Publishing) | 29 June 2016 (wide release)
Date Read: 14 June 2016
Learn more about Emily O'Beirne.
Purchase Points of Departure on Ylva Publishing.
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