Author: Joy Preble
Synopsis: Sisters Leo and Paris Hollings have only ever had each other to rely on. They can’t trust their mother, who hops from city to city and from guy to guy, or their gambler stepfather, who’s moved them all to Las Vegas. It’s just the two of them: Paris, who’s always been the dreamer, and Leo, who has a real future in mind—going to Stanford, becoming a doctor, falling in love.
But Leo isn’t going anywhere yet… until Paris ditches her at the Heartbreak Hotel Diner, where moments before they had been talking with physics student Max Sullivan. Outside, Leo finds a cryptic note from Paris—a clue. Is it some kind of game? Where is Paris, and why has she disappeared?
When Leo reluctantly accepts Max’s offer of help, the two find themselves following a string of clues through Vegas and beyond. But the search for the truth is a not a straight line. And neither is the path to secrets Leo and Max hold tightly.
Huge thank you to Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss for this ARC!
I feel like I can’t say much without getting spoiler-y… but this could have been a lot stronger if it hadn’t been written in first person. I do not have a problem with unreliable narrators, but this book did not benefit from it. When a MC has a secret like this, I just don’t see how they can keep it a secret essentially from themselves for the entire novel.
This book starts off with Leo’s older sister Paris waking her up in the middle of the night to go get pie. Paris then ditches Leo at the restaurant, leaving her with a boy she’s just met and a clue that will lead Leo to Paris. Leo is upset with her sister and seems pretty clueless about why her sister would take off like that. The boy, Max, offers to help her find Paris and the two of them set off, following the clues around Las Vegas until they find one that leads them to LA. The entire time I NEVER got the feeling that Leo was hiding something or being unreliable. Max surely was, and we find out his secrets and his connection to the whole thing later on. But Leo NEVER seemed like she had a secret. She seemed genuinely confused about why her sister was doing this.
And with the secret involving Leo as much as it did I just do NOT buy that she had no idea what was going on.
And this is what really lowered my rating.
Overall I really liked the writing, and there were a few scenes that were just gut wrenching (the one with the model skeleton towards the end had me in tears) and others that I was laughing along with and there was one part about that ‘Jesus take the Wheel’ song by Carrie Underwood that I was DYING over because I’ve had the SAME EXACT THOUGHTS and the SAME EXACT CONVERSATION about that stupid song (I totally picture some stupid woman driving along in the dark, hitting a patch of ice and throwing her hands up while Jesus is sitting next to her and is like ‘okay sure I’ll steer’).
The romance… I take issue with books that have characters fall so quickly. I try not to because I myself fell for my husband pretty quickly (it was kinda love at first sight) but I was also older and we didn’t even have our first kiss until a few dates in. But the ‘fall in love in less than 24 hour’ books get to me. Thankfully they didn’t “fall in love” but there were some intense emotions. And those really took me by surprise when we later find out the secret.
Not a bad book, but not my fave.