July 23, 2017

Sailing Takes Me Away • Changes in Latitudes

(Alexa's Note: I'm well aware that this post is days late and going up on a weekend! In my defense, I had planned for it to be up on time, but I've been fighting off illness all week. Since I'm finally on the mend, I thought I'd get it up before this weekend ends!)

Cassie is still reeling from her parents' divorce when her mom announces that she's planning to take Cassie and her younger brother Drew on a sailing trip from Oregon to Mexico for four months - effectively ruining any upcoming plans Cassie had. Trapped in close quarters with the mother she resents, the brother she is trying to protect and a bunch of new acquaintances that they'll be sailing with, Cassie will soon discover that life is unpredictable, people can be surprising and maybe, just maybe, things aren't as terrible as she thinks.

Changes in Latitudes book cover
Plot? Malone sets the story of a teen girl dealing with some rough emotional turbulence in her personal life against a little bit of a voyage at sea - and I liked it a lot. I thought it was interesting to read about a sailing trip, first of all, even though I know next to nothing about sailing and I don't know if I'd be willing to commit to that long of a sail myself. But I also really liked that there was more going on than just the ups and downs of this sailing adventure. Cassie was dealing with some pretty rough stuff to begin with and she also has to navigate some new relationships, and I think Malone was pretty adept at weaving that in between all the sailing bits.

Characters? I did like Cassie, especially because I could relate to her emotional turmoil as a teen (even though I was never in her exact situations). I understood her resentment and anger, and I fully felt for her when she was trying to keep it all together for the sake of her younger brother. Her interactions with other characters (particularly her mom, Drew and Jonah, a fellow sailor) were really well-done, though I could have used a tiny bit more time between her and her mother.

Writing? It's really easy to read, and I think that Malone has a compulsively readable style. I rather liked the way that it went back and forth between Cassie dealing with her problems and her experiences on the ocean, as the rhythm for it was pretty steady. Despite the fact that I think it ends well, I do sort of wish it had ended a little differently (though I can't say why for fear of spoilers).

Overall? I really enjoyed this one! I love reading books about travel in general, but especially in the summertime, and this proved to be no exception. If you're looking for something to tuck into your bag for a summer trip, a beach day or a camping trip, well, definitely consider picking this one up.

What's an experience that derailed your plans but turned out to be worth it in the end? My college friends & I had been planning on doing a little island hopping of sorts in the Philippines the summer after our graduation. But out of nowhere, my grandmother asked me to accompany her and two of her friends to Japan for their little trip. I didn't necessarily think it was something I wanted to do, so I dragged my heels a bit at first. But after having gone, I can certainly say it was worth it. Japan is one of my favorite countries I have ever been to, and I honestly can't wait to visit because I just know there is so much more to see.

Changes in Latitudes by Jen Malone
Publisher: Harper Teen | Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Source: e-galley downloaded from Edelweiss (Thanks!)


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