Publisher: Artifice Press
Date Published: July 30, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
Source: Provided by author for honest review
Description: Eighteen-year-old Angeli doesn’t "fit in." She’s never been on a single date, and she lives vicariously through an online world of storytelling. With the pressures of choosing a practical future path bearing down, she needs a drastic change. Too old to run away from home, she opts instead to embark on a solo 2-month road trip. But her freedom is tempered by loneliness — and anxiety tests her resolve as she comes face-to-face with her quirky internet friends.
Aside from contracting mono and repeatedly getting herself lost, Angeli's adventure is mired by more unforeseen glitches — like being detained by Canadian authorities, and a near-death experience at the hands of an overzealous amateur wrestler. Her odyssey is complicated further when she unwittingly earns the affections of two young men. One a privileged martial artist; the other a talented techie with a colorful past.
Bewildered by the emotions they stir, Angeli spurns the idea of a doomed long-distance relationship. But she is unprepared for the determination of her hopeful suitors. In the wake of her refusal, one man will betray her, and the other will prove himself worthy of a place in her future.
Angeli sets off in search of a better understanding of herself, the world, and her place in it. What she finds is an impractical love, with the potential to restore her faith in happy endings.
A true story with an unapologetically honest outlook on life, love, faith, and adventure -- Once Upon A Road Trip is a coming-of-age memoir.
When I first heard of this synopsis, I was immediately interested in reading this book. I myself took a long road trip the year after graduating high school in a small northern town and drove to Texas, logging some 4000 miles. This was roughly around the same time that Angeli was making her trek across the continent. My first impression when I began reading this book was of Angeli being a bit too preachy. And honestly, she IS too preachy. The narrative is told form the third person POV of this girl who is embarking on a 2 month road trip the summer after graduating high school in hopes of finding herself. She plans to stay with various online buddies she has met through gaming and online story telling. For the first half of the journey, I was slightly put off by Angeli. She is geeky, preachy, and seems a little too mature for her age, knowing about autism and social disorders and seeming to be so much older and more socially cognizant than her online counterparts. However, by about half way through the book I began to get a better feel for Angie and her character and she became more real to me. I believed her. I began to notice how she hides behind her knowledge and geeky-ness and she keeps people at a distance. Always believing it is better to stay distant than to risk hurting anyone, she is constantly tested by different boys she meets along the way on her road trip. Rather than risk getting close, Angeli tries to figure out how best to not hurt them, to let them down easy. In fact, this wish to hurt no one ends up backfiring as she ends up hurting not only them, but more importantly, herself as well. I was surprised by what a guilt complex this nice smart girl has. I completely related and understood where Angie was coming from. I knew there was a love interest somewhere in this story and me, being in constant search of the ever elusive HEA, was constantly sizing up the new male characters Angie introduced to me, the reader, and I fell for one quiet geeky boy, and a handsome boy after the that. I always tried to guess who was going to be the love interest to our sweet, if not frustrating, Angeli. First I liked one boy. Then I gave him up as Angie travelled on and met the next boy. Then I grew frustrated because it seemed like no one was ever good enough for Angie. She kept breaking my heart. And then I met the boy and it was all worth the wait. And I mean, BOY did I wait for it. I do not wish to give away which boy it is as I feel that was part of the fun of trying to determine what is going to happen next, but I fell for the boy, plain and simple. Such a sweet, compassionate, even if somewhat broken boy. His heart is pure and intentions are good. Angeli puts him through all kinds of tests and rejections and this boy still wins her (and my) heart in the end. Overall, a great heartwarming read about love, rejection, friendship, fear, finding oneself, knowing God on a personal level and never settling for something less than what you want, what you need and what God has planned for you.