Despite their breakup, handsome Jace Renault agrees to take beautiful Peyton Miller back to Connecticut from Florida on a road trip that is not only underfunded, but completely illogical on the parts of both characters.
Seventeen-year-old Peyton really only wants to go as far as North Carolina and live there, but she hasn’t enough money for the trip, much less starting a new life, and Jace is supposedly ducking an opportunity to give the valedictory speech at his graduation in order to accommodate her. Hijinks and romance predictably ensue. None of it is particularly believable. Jace is the least likely-to-be-valedictorian character ever, and Peyton is beyond naïve about money, despite her parents’ continuous arguments on the subject. Ostensibly, the lesson they both learn is that “you have to put it all out there, you have to be willing to let yourself be vulnerable. Otherwise there’s no way you’re going to be able to have anything real.” Each teen takes turns narrating events, and their accounts wander through time to explain what has led up to the present predicament, including why Jace has suddenly acquired a dog and the peccadilloes of the adults in their lives. Some swearing is thrown in, an apparent but unconvincing attempt at verisimilitude, but the romance never gets steamy enough to raise eyebrows.
An unsatisfying romantic road trip that doesn’t go the distance. (Fiction. 12 & up)