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Love and Other Train Wrecks Hardcover – January 2, 2018
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★ "An absurdly charming, funny, and romantic odyssey." (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
★ "Told in alternating perspectives, the narrative moves at a satisfying pace and gives readers an in-depth understanding of the characters' motivations. Librarians will not be able to keep this compelling novel on the shelf." (School Library Journal (starred review))
"Konen's novel is a cute addition to the canon of road trip love stories. Ammy and Noah's story will please both readers who swoon and those who scoff at meet cutes and their even cuter resolutions." (Booklist)
"Konen (The Romantics) spins a charming tale of two people who are meant to be, despite terrible first impressions. Alternating between Ammy and Noah's perspectives, Konen provides rich backstories for both characters while laying groundwork for a realistic love story that, like life, isn't always easy or perfect. " (Publishers Weekly)
"A sweet and sentimental story that will make you swoon." (Bustle)
About the Author
Leah Konen is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied journalism and English literature. She lives in Brooklyn and Saugerties, NY, with her husband and their dog, Farley. Find her online at leahkonen.com or on Twitter and Instagram @leahkonen.
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Noah was my favorite of the two characters. He was a little nerdy but pretty adorable and sweet. He is on board the train with an elaborate romantic plan to try to win back his ex and the more we find out the circumstances of their relationship and the breakup, the more we discover it’s guilt driving him instead of love. It was like we are seeing all of the ways they didn’t work as he is realizing it and that just opened his eyes more and more to the girl he is having this adventure with. Ammy was heading to surprise her father at his wedding, burdened with her own guilt of leaving her mother behind in such a fragile state. Her family life is quite complicated and she was struggling with her place among it all. Ammy wasn’t quite as likable for me but I understood her motivations though maybe not so much how she went about it. The two of them sort of butt heads at first, and well on and off throughout their adventure, but they decide to work together to reach their destinations, even when fate seems to be throwing them off course at every turn.
As far as the adventure went, I thought it was a lot of fun and I had to laugh at some of the predicaments they got themselves into. The romance felt a little flat to me though. I didn’t feel much chemistry between the two of them and perhaps that was because Ammy was a little prickly, especially with all that is going on in her life. The ending felt a little rushed as well and I wanted more from it. But the author was able to create a cute story about letting go and moving on with a little twist thrown in that made the book overall enjoyable.
I slide the safety latch on the bottom. Then I grab the long handle in the middle. It turns under my weight, easier than it should be. The door opens, and there it is. The whole world in front of us.
Our adventure, beckoning."
This is a good winter season contemporary, but I only really connected with one half of the couple, so the entire story fell a bit flat for me. I love the meeting and sense of serendipitous adventure that Ammy and Noah find themselves in - even with the many snags, their journey is nice to see. And I did think the romance was sweet and fluffy, with a healthy dose of snarky and angst. Unfortunately, I wasn't the biggest fan of Ammy. I just didn't really connect with her, and our personalities didn't mesh well. Plus, I found her to be annoyingly indignant at times, and it kinda rubbed me the wrong way. Despite not loving Ammy, I thought the story was nice and enjoyable for the most part.
I received a copy of the book from Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
I really liked both Noah and Ammy and felt their characters developed nicely throughout the story. Both start off kind of naive and self-centered but begin to have some realizations as their adventure progresses. There were a few points of the story that I found myself thinking “WTH, why are they doing this, what are they thinking!?!” giphy1Then I remembered that I’m old already and make different life decisions now, lol. After thinking back on what I probably would have done at their age, I have to admit that I probably would have made some of the same decisions.
I assumed this was going to be just some cute-sy girl meets boy, boy gets girl and lives happily ever after story but it was much more than that. Both Noah and Ammy are dealing with events in their past, trying to come to terms with them and move past those experiences. On top of that, the amount of misfortunes these two encounter creates numerous moments of hilarity and you can’t help but feel bad for them at some points. And right when you think the obvious happily-ever-after is going to occur, Leah Konen decides to put us all through the wringer with a surprise twist to keep us guessing.
Thank you to Edelweiss for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
I liked Noah. He’s sweet and maybe a bit nerdy, but pretty adorable. Ammy is smart and loyal and having a hard time with what’s going on in her life. Because of that, she lashes out. A lot. So much that I struggled to root for her.
Plot wise, it was like a YA Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. I enjoyed all of the little mishaps and obstacles they had to deal with. There is a slight reveal that I wasn’t expecting and how that’s handled was frustrating and satisfying at the same time.
Overall, I did want to love this book like crazy, but just couldn’t fully get behind Ammy’s journey.
**Huge thanks to Katherine Tegen Books for providing the arc free of charge**