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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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Overview: I love the cover art and the title. That's what got me to buy this book. Sadly, those two things were the only parts I enjoyed of Noah and Ammy's story. The book recounts the tale of two seat mates on an Amtrak train desperate to get to Hudson when the train leaves them stranded for hours in the middle of nowhere. They decide to ban together to make their own way out and get there soon enough to make their plans, all while trying to cope with their respective reasons for the trip. As you can probably guess, nothing goes to plan. Overall: 2.5
Characters: 2 The characters in this book actually made me mad. Other faults of the story were forgivable, but I could not get over Noah, Ammy, and their families. Noah and Ammie, and essentially everyone else in the book, seem like they were created from randomly generated stereotypes spit out of a slot machine. It's something that I see in every YA book I don't enjoy. It feels like the author has never met a teenager before or spoken to them in any way that could possibly be meaningful. They're simply writing about teens because they're the only population that could hold the fruity love story. It feels very much like it comes from a place of condescension, whether intentional or not, and teens experience that too much daily to also get it from media that is made for them.
My other major bone to pick with this book is the depiction of anxiety. Ammy's mother has it, and, while it is probably mentioned a million times over the course of the book, it's just an excuse as to why her mother is a completely insufferable nutcase. Panic attacks are just a major inconvenience for Ammy to deal with, and maybe her mother is just making it all up to make her life harder. I understand how anxiety presents major strains on relationships, as I have experienced it in my own life, but if that is going to be a part of the story, explain it, delve into it. Don't just write in some horrible mother and write "ANXIETY" in red Sharpie over her forehead.
Plot: 3 If I didn't have the issues I do with the characters, this book might have gotten a solid 3.5. While I didn't love all the plot elements, there were some good twists, and it was plotted well. With characters with true emotional depth, it could have made for a spectacular story. The plot was the only reason I bothered to finish it.
Writing: 2 Aside from my major grievances above, the story needed a fair amount of editing. Characters frequently repeated themselves in the same scene and went on long, random, whoah is me rants that seemed to be the same in every chapter. I did finish it, though, which surprised me. At least the adventure had some interesting moments.
I guess it's hard to really enjoy a two character story when you don't like one of the characters. I didn't enjoy the character of Ammy at all. There were times that she was tolerable, but never likable. I found myself being annoyed with her and confused by her. One minute she would be rude, the next she would be a spoiled brat.
Another part of the story that was very hard for me to understand is how the two characters fall in love with each other. Ammy goes from thinking Noah is an annoying nerd to saying he's adorable and "wanting" him, but the reader has no idea how she arrived at those feelings. Sure, he was a nice enough guy, but it still didn't explain what made her so cold to very hot.
It's the same thing with Noah. When he meets Ammy, he's hung up on his ex and wanting to win her back, and then, BAM! He's in love with Ammy. What made him fall in love with her? The reader is left wondering.
After not liking so much of the middle of the story, the last 100 pages managed to suck me back in, but the ending felt incomplete. You're left with a short epilogue that's more annoying than satisfying.
Most recent customer reviews
This book is told by the POV of both Noah and Ammy, two teens stuck on a train, both emotionally wracked with...Read more