Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Review: Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler

Just Visiting Reagan Forrester wants out—out of her trailer park, out of reach of her freeloading mother, and out of the shadow of the relationship that made her the pariah of Charytan, Kansas.

Victoria Reyes wants in—in to a fashion design program, in to the arms of a cute guy who doesn't go to Charytan High, and in to a city where she won't stand out for being Mexican.

One thing the polar-opposite best friends do agree on is that wherever they go, they’re staying together. But when they set off on a series of college visits at the start of their senior year, they quickly see that the future doesn’t look quite like they expected. After two years of near-solitude following the betrayal of the ex-boyfriend who broke her heart, Reagan falls hard and fast for a Battlestar Galactica-loving, brilliant smile-sporting pre-med prospective... only to learn she's set herself up for heartbreak all over again. Meanwhile, Victoria runs full-speed toward all the things she thinks she wants… only to realize everything she’s looking for might be in the very place they've sworn to leave.

As both Reagan and Victoria struggle to learn who they are and what they want in the present, they discover just how much they don't know about each other's pasts. And when each learns what the other’s been hiding, they'll have to decide whether their friendship has a future.

My Review: 5 Stars

I read Behind the Scenes and liked it and then read Under the Lights, and I loved it.  After Under the Lights I thought there was no way Dahlia Adler could top that book, not because I don't trust in her ability to write good books, but because I just loved Under the Lights so much.  Then I read Just Visiting.  I know without a doubt that this is easily my favorite Dahlia Adler book yet, as well as making it into my top favorites list of all time.  (Now I need to go add this to all my end of the year lists).  Something I did not expect going into this book was that it would almost make me cry.  I don't typically cry reading books, so almost making me cry is as close as I get to crying at a book.  I am always impressed when books are able to do that because it is so rare for me, and this book was able to do it, so I love it for that as well.

First, I have to talk about Reagan because she is my favorite character in this book and I loved her so much.  There were also so many times in the book when my heart ached for her and I just wanted to go and give her a hug and tell her everything would be okay.  She has a super tough life.  She lives in a trailer park with an awful mom, and a dad who's hardly ever there because he has to work all the time.  And there are some secrets in her past that are absolutely awful.  After finding out this secret of hers, it was easy to see why she was closed off some of the time, to even her best friend.  I also loved how well her poverty seemed to be portrayed.  The book showed how she could get application fee waivers, and it showed other things like how important scholarships were to her, and how she had to work to be able to afford things like gas money.

I didn't love Victoria's character as much at first, but she quickly grew on me throughout the book.  At first, she seemed to not really care about the school part of college, and instead only cared about parties, sororities, and boys, which is very much not me, so I didn't relate.  Also, she wanted to study fashion, and me and fashion are not too words that are typically thought of in the same sentence.  At first, it seems like her life is a lot better than Reagan's by far.  Her home life definitely is better, since she has loving parents, including a deaf mom, who she speaks ASL to.  But she has things in her past too.  She is Mexican American, and that has made things tough for her thanks to people bullying her for her ethnicity, and people acting like she was an illegal immigrant and asking to see her papers. 

Now I'm going to talk about the friendship.  This is definitely going to rank as one of my top female friendship books of all times.  I think it could even be my top one, but I'd have to look through which other books had my other favorite friendships to be sure.  This friendship experienced so much growth throughout the book.  At the beginning, Reagan and Victoria were both keeping important secrets about their pasts from each other, though especially Reagan.  Seeing how their friendship evolved once their secrets were out in the open was a beautiful thing to read about.  Sure, it wasn't always easy.  There were times when things were super weird and awkward between the two of them, and when they would fight, but it all read as very real to me.  Throughout the book, Reagan dealt with a lot and Victoria was so supportive through everything, and I loved this and how genuine it was.

This book is way more about the friendship than the romance, but there was a cute ship for both of the girls in this book.  Reagan met a guy named Dave on her first college visit, and they immediately hit it off and flirted with each other.  The two of them were just so cute together.  Reagan had some issues from her past with her ex-boyfriend that made it difficult for her and Dave to have things work at first, but I liked the progression of their relationship.  Victoria also had a cute ship, and I won't say who it's with, but I will say that it's with someone that I wouldn't have expected her to have a romance with, and it's really cute.

Anyway, the basic gist of this review is that you should read this book, because if you do, there is a strong probability that you will love it.


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