This is the first novel I read from Emily O’Beirne but I have another review coming for another novel of hers, Here’s the Thing, coming on the 30th. This is definitely one author to follow and I will be reading her first series, A Story of Now.
The F/F romance and blurb hooked me. It wasn’t exactly like I’d assumed but it smashed my expectations. It follows five very different young women during the summer after high school graduation.
I easily recommend this one for contemporary, QUILTBAG, and New Adult fans provided you like this kind of story telling with multiple POVs and time skips. There’s an awesome giveaway for 10 e-copies of Points of Departure below so don’t forget to throw your hat in the ring.
If not, I’d check out her other work. Here’s the Thing is a single perspective that immediately sucked me and it’s going great so far.
Points of Departure
In this young adult novel, to be released June 2016, best friends Kit and Liza have been looking forward to this trip forever.
Five girls, five tickets overseas. It’s exactly what they all need after the final slog of high school. But when Kit’s suddenly forced to drop out, Liza’s left with three girls she barely knows.
There’s Mai, committed only to partying. There’s Tam, who already has her doubts about leaving her sick father behind. And there’s Olivia, so miserable about screwing up exams she’s not even sure she wants to get out of bed, let alone on a plane. Meanwhile Kit’s stuck working double shifts to pay off a debt, wondering if she’ll ever get it together.
All Liza wants from this trip is to discover a new version of herself. She just hadn’t planned on doing it without Kit by her side.
And they’re all learning that travel isn’t just about the places you go, but who you’re with at the time.
I started Points of Departure excited to dive in and was greeted with descriptions of our five main girls. (Not to be confused with the Mane Five.) I like character lists as a reference in general and quickly found it necessary.
While I eventually liked them all and want a sequel with them, the POV jumping was hard to get used to at first. There didn’t seem to be much differences in the writing between them all. Before each section, it lists who’s speaking and where there are that’s tremendously helpful. But I really wish the date/time was included. Getting acclimated to the time jumps was difficult and the only thing I struggled with.
The story begins following Liza, who recently dropped two surprise announcements to her parents. One, she’s a lesbian. Two, she’s quitting running – the thing that’s dominated her life for years.
Liza is the quiet, considerate, best friend anyone could have. She’s had a rough go of it and I immediately wanted karma for those who hurt her. This damn bookish nerd won me over immediately.
Kit came off as an oddball. I wasn’t sure what to make of her but once past the awkward set-up conversation and onto their lives, she became my favorite. Tied with Liza, of course.
She appears to be a mess, but her background and self-discovery journey hit home for me. She reminds me of my best friend growing up, but with a different outcome. I’m so proud of her. She has the knack with people I’ve never had or understood – it seems like magic. I still don’t know how it works, but appreciate people like her. I’d think we’d be friends.
Tam is country-bumpkin homebody ( ← me growing up) worried about her family, aspiring chef, and the boy next door. It was nice to see that not everyone needs or should go to college with her and Kit. Her feelings with everything going on was so understandable. I felt for her so much.
Mai’s the only perspective we don’t get to read, which was perplexing. We see how everyone else views her, but I really wanted to know her since outsider perspectives aren’t the full story. In the end, with great insights and revelations, I appreciated that.
To me, it’s a message of how and why our perspectives are skewed and an argument to be better – not so quick and willing to look deeper. Which goes for the whole tale actually, but I found Mai’s attribution particularly compelling. I liked how her race/heritage came up and was handled. It was just a part of her and how people judged her but she wasn’t the token friend.
Which leaves Olivia. She was parts understandable, sympathetic, and frustrating. Her famous author mother and how it affected her was interesting. Not something you run into every day. Then there’s her collage problems, worried about her exams and “do I really want to do this?” second thoughts, which was engaging. Her romantic problems are where the sympathetic and frustrating go into overdrive for me. It went from “Well, that sucks”, being on the other side of the equation, and “Do what I want now!”
The romance takes a while to appear. I was honestly thinking this would be some sad heart wrenching shit as far as partnerships were concerned for a long time. Like almost the whole book before I was SURE these kids would make it together after all.
It wouldn’t have been a total loss if it’s the unrequited kind because of the adventure, the friendships, the personal problems, and just generally enjoying the story. But I’m ecstatic about how it wound up.
I wasn’t expecting who would show up and pair off. It was a lovely squee fest when things started rolling romantically. They’re all compatible and cute.
It feels important not because it’s all about the romance but because the romance is an integral part of these young women maturing and getting ready for the next stage in their lives. Not everyone ends up committed or with someone either. For some, being independent and alone is what they want and need in their life right now. Which was honestly refreshing along with everything else.
Also, pleased to announce there’s no slut shaming! YAY!
I was wavering between 3.5 and 4 stars, but I have to give the higher rating this time. Even with the problems getting into the story, it was so pleasurable – delightful, fun, and deep—that I can justify 4 stars.
I absolutely want a follow up with these gals to see how, what, and who everyone’s doing.
I can easily recommend this one for contemporary, romance, QUILTBAG, and New Adult fans provided you like or can handle this kind of story telling with multiple POVs and time skips.
If this isn’t your type of narrative, I have a review of O’Beirne’s Here’s the Thing coming in two days. So far, so very good. Hope to see you then!
In the meantime, I have other reviews for your perusal as always. 😉 I also recommend checking out Emily O’Beirne’s blog and her publisher, Ylva Publishing. Worthwhile and did in fact sate my procrastination problem and motivated me to finish this review in advance. Thanks again Emily!
About the Author:
Thirteen-year-old Emily woke up one morning with a sudden itch to write her first novel. All day, she sat through her classes, feverishly scribbling away (her rare silence probably a cherished respite for her teachers). And by the time the last bell rang, she had penned fifteen handwritten pages of angsty drivel, replete with blood-red sunsets, moody saxophone music playing somewhere far off in the night, and abandoned whiskey bottles rolling across tables. Needless to say, that singular literary accomplishment is buried in a box somewhere, ready for her later amusement.
From Melbourne, Australia, Emily was recently granted her PhD. She works part-time in academia, where she hates marking papers but loves working with her students. She also loves where she lives but travels as much as possible and tends to harbour crushes on cities more than on people.
Living in an apartment, Emily sadly does not possess her dream writing room overlooking an idyllic garden of her creation. Instead, she spends a lot of her time staring over the screen of her laptop and out the window at the somewhat less pretty (but highly entertaining) combined kebab stand/carwash across the road. (from the publisher’s website)