By: Cait Marie
Norah hasn’t seen her childhood best friend, Skyler, in years. When he first moved away, they’d talk all the time, but lately their relationship has been reduced to liking each other’s Instagram posts. That’s why Norah can’t wait for the joint RV road trip their families have planned for the summer.
But when Skyler finally arrives, he seems…like he’d rather be anywhere else. Hurt and confused, Norah reacts in kind. Suddenly, her oldest friendship is on the rocks.
An unexpected summer spent driving across the country leads both Norah and Skyler down new roads and to new discoveries. Before long, they are, once again, seeing each other in a different light. Can their friendship-turned-rivalry turn into something more?
I swear, every time I read a new Kasie West book, I say, “This is my new favorite.”
West has such an incredible way of drawing me into her stories. They’re so easy to read, and there’s always a great balance between light, fluffy romance and realistic, relatable struggles. This book hits all those sweet spots.
Places We’ve Never Been combines the friends-to-enemies-to-lovers trope with the forced proximity and road trip tropes, which was really fun. This book is all about secrets, and eventually, realizing how important it is to be yourself.
Norah and Skylar have such a meaningful backstory, and it was great seeing that come out over the course of the book as they ease back into their friendship. They stopped talking a few years earlier, creating a lot of tension and arguing in the beginning, but even then, it was clear how much they care for each other.
Throughout the book, Norah is also trying to figure out what secret her brother is keeping after overhearing him on the phone. So, there’s a bit of mystery going on. She’s worried something is wrong with her mom or that her parents are getting divorced, and she recruits her best friend back home and Skylar’s younger sister on the trip to help her snoop around. The book also had a bit of adventure as they’re traveling via RV from California to Seattle, which was really great.
The character development was done well. Everyone, even the side characters, felt well-rounded. They all had their own stories. The romance was very slow burn but still good. This book was really focused on rebuilding their friendship, as well as what was going on with their families.
I will admit, it was a little predictable; I guessed what the secrets were pretty early on. However, that might be because of my own writing and editing experience. I know the different signs to keep an eye out for and am usually good at spotting foreshadowing. Having an idea of what was going to happen did not in anyway lessen my enjoyment. If anything, it urged me to keep reading so I could see if I was right.
This book was fantastic. I really loved it and highly recommend it to those who read YA romance. It’s one I will probably re-read in the future.
One small note: I listened to the audiobook, and while it was done really well in general, there was one thing that stuck out to me. Skylar’s sister sounded really young and almost immature, and she’s supposed to be like 14-ish, I think. If I hadn’t caught the part where she mentioned eighth grade, I would’ve assumed she was around 10 based on the narration. I think reading the physical copy or ebook would’ve given a completely different look at her. Again, it didn’t take away from the story at all. It was just something I noticed.