Friends with ARCs: The Pick-Up

I've been keeping up with all of Miranda Kenneally's work since I first read her debut Catching Jordan years ago, and I was looking forward to her latest YA contemporary novel The Pick-Up. The novel follows two teens, Mari and TJ, who first meet when they end up sharing a ride to a music festival. This is the beginning of a whirlwind weekend of music, fun and flirtation, but the pair must figure out how they're going to move forward -- both in their own lives, but also for their potential future together.

I liked The Pick-Up, though the premise itself feels a touch gimmicky. I found it as easy to read as Kenneally's other novels have been and devoured it in a matter of mere hours. And many elements of it were certainly enjoyable, like the music festival, seeing bits of Chicago (which made me want to visit the city one day), the meet cute (and meet again cute) moments. But due to the short length of the actual book and the short timeline of a three-day weekend in the story, I just didn't feel like we really got the chance to get to know our main characters Mari and TJ intimately. They're each working through some difficult personal situations and complicated feelings (which was a surprise, as I didn't anticipate this being part of the story), and also trying to figure out how they feel about each other. But because I didn't feel fully invested in them or their relationship, the overall emotional impact was greatly diminished. 

The Pick-Up wasn't quite what I'd anticipated. It's most definitely a quick contemporary read with a sweet blossoming romantic connection. But it just also happens to dip its toes into more emotional waters along the way, though the lack of further development in this aspect means readers will be mere observers just witnessing a portion of what the characters are going through. It's a shame that it didn't quite hit the emotional beats I would have liked, but even so, it's still overall a decent read that made me smile when I got to the very end.

Five artists you'd like to see at a music festival? My answers are going to be predictable to anybody who knows my musical tastes, but hey, I like what I like! Taylor Swift, James Bay, Ed Sheeran, Westlife and Maggie Rogers (and I've seen all of these folks in concert before, true, but I would probably perish of happiness if they all did a festival together).

The Pick-Up by Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire | Publication Date: September 7, 2021
Source: e-galley received from the publisher via NetGalley


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