Book Review | “Along the Way” by Jacqueline Kolosov

Posted Friday, 3 June, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was selected to review “Along the Way” by JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. JKS is the first publicity firm I started working with when I launched Jorie Loves A Story in August, 2013. I am honoured to continue to work with them now as a 3rd Year Book Blogger.

I was originally contacted to review this novel last year [2015] however, due to different reasons, I was never able to share my thoughts on behalf of this Luminis Books title until now. This is one of the books from my backlogue of reviews, I am thankful I can now set mind and heart to read. Luminis Books was one of the publishers I was most grateful to have discovered in [2014] due to their compelling Children’s Literature.

I received my complimentary copy of Along the Way from the publicist at JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I originally wanted to read ‘Along the Way’:

As “Along the Way” is reading to me to be a new book that paints a similar portrait of personal growth on a trail that re-defines your life by what you learn and what you gain by the experience itself. In a similar way, this is why I want to borrow the film “Wild” from my local library, as I read the review of a fellow book blogger I follow who gave me clarity of the story from her own ruminations but halted me from wanting to read it due to the heaviness of the abuse/neglect and acting out behaviour the author survived. The film thankfully glosses over some of it, but sometimes I find I can drink in a film better than a book.

“Along the Way” feels more akin to “Not Without My Father” and a topical non-fiction I can handle rather than the harder hitting “Wild”.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Book Review | “Along the Way” by Jacqueline KolosovAlong the Way
by Jacqueline Kolosov
Source: Publicist via JKS Communications

Three friends, 33 days, and 500 miles walking the Camino de Santiago add up to one journey they'll never forget.

Piper Rose, Dani Shapiro, and Alexandra 'Tessa' Louise De Mille Morrow share a history that goes back to their preschool years in Chicago when their families were still intact. Now Piper lives in Evanston with her divorced dad, her estranged, unstable mother popping in and out of her life at random moments.

Meanwhile, Dani's been living in Santa Fe with a psychologist mom pregnant with her fiancé's IVF babies. The blueblood Tessa resides on a prominent street in Boston and dreams of a romantic and well-heeled love story like that of her great-grandmother who went to France during World War II.

Now that it's the summer before college, these radically different friends decide to celebrate their history and their future by walking the legendary pilgrimage along the Way of St. James, from the French Pyrenees to the Spanish city of Santiago. Along the way, each young woman must learn to believe in herself as well as in her friends, as their collective journey unfolds into the experience of a lifetime.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-941311-47-9

Genres: Upper YA Fiction, YA Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction


Published by Luminis Books

on April 2015

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 300

Published By: Luminis Books (@LuminisBooks) | Blog

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #LuminisBooks + tags used together: #UpperYA #Contemporary

About Jacqueline Kolosov

Jacqueline Kolosov teaches creative writing and literature at Texas Tech University. She is the author of the young adult novels Grace from China, Red Queen's Daughter, and A Sweet Disorder, and the poetry collection Memory of Blue. She lives in Lubbock, Texas.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

My Review of Along the Way:

Piper Rose is the character Kolosov chose to engage with us first, tipping my mind to thinking this might be spilt into a multiple point-of-view narrative such as the kind I appreciated in The Shell Seekers. The open and frank honesty coming out of Piper Rose reminded me why I loved The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants – as I hadn’t thought about it, but that series was also Upper YA! I quickly re-classified this story into that particular category and settled in for a reading where my concerns for younger YA readers diminished as the themes inside this novel were not necessarily for them.

Piper Rose had to grow up at an accelerated rate for a ten year old dealing with her parents divorce after her Mum recklessly acted in ways no self-respecting mother would want to be entangled. Her father stepped up to the plate quite brilliantly, raising her to appreciate life, live honestly and go for an adventure if one came her way. Her childhood friends (Dani and Tessa) were met during an ill-fated audition for a television series at an age where none of the girls fully understood the concept of ‘tv’ but they knew how to bond as sisters! Of the three, Piper Rose took the training behind the trek seriously, whereas the other girls seemed to be following her lead.

Tessa isn’t one to hold back her opinion but she is one girl who over speaks before she understands the person she’s speaking too a bit better than an off-handed ‘hallo’. She shares more of herself than necessary in a conversation, but partially, I think this is due to her chatty nature and her inclination to trust people are mostly good rather than deceptively vague in their truer intentions. She was a quick bloomer for a girl, and this has proven to be most of the angst she’s had to work through on a personal level. Her closest confidante is her great-gran – who gives her solid advice on which to grow confidence.

Dani is at a crossroads with her mother, of whom is attempting to keep her current flame interested in her by artificially conceiving his next offspring; twins are presumed but not confirmed. Dani is miffed because she felt her and her mother had a good thing going as ‘Mum and daughter against the world’ but her mother nearly forty-ten felt something was ‘missing’ and only a bloke who wanted more kids would satisfy the missing void in her life. To cross-compare this with The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (as it’s hard not to make the general references outright, as this reads so similar!) Dani is America Ferrera’s character in the films. (yes, I have read the first three novels, but I saw America in my mind as I read Dani’s introductory section!)

Tessa selected their Paris hotel due to the romantic memory of her great-gran – where she spent time there with her husband after the war. It was a lovely introduction to Tessa’s heart as whilst she awaited her friends’ arrival, she soaked inside Rebecca by Du Maurier – a book on my own list of next reads – for her it was the unexpected book left behind in the hotel room! If only! I find notepapers and pens, plus the standard Gideon Bible tucked into desks or bureaus, but a novel? I’d love to find one!

One thing that kept surprising me is how superficial some of the conversations are and how most of the focus isn’t about topics or subjects you’d think they’d be engaging whilst on a spiritual exodus onto an ancient pathway. I shouldn’t have wrinkled a brow over how quick they were to catch the eye of a bloke and how much two of the three girls were considering they’d rather ‘be with the guys’ than seriously attached to their journey. Or at least that was the appearance by their actions and words. Part of me realised the problems I was having with the context of the story is how stereotypical the story-line was running for me – to the level these girls had the potential to have more depth, but they were slighted a bit for the roles you might expect them to play in a friendship trio where pop culture references rage through the occasional historical reference. Even the pop culture references waned for me, because they felt like a crutch for the girls’ to sound ‘relatable’ to the reader, rather than part of the texture of the time period of the novel itself. Less background and more fluffy superficiality. In essence, the cross-relating memories which originally nodded to the Sisterhood was cut short.

The encounter with cyclists on the trail reminded me of a local issue with cyclists on trails – they truly do not respect walkers/hikers, they believe they ‘own the trail’ and thereby, if your on the path, you must yield to ‘them’ rather than the other way round! I’ve had several ‘near misses’ myself including one time where I nearly injured myself just to sidestep myself out of the way of a charging rider! I have no idea why they think they can be so irritatingly disrespectful, but the scene inside this novel truly capitalises on their negative ‘superior attitude’.

I did not reach the half-way mark where I decided this story simply wasn’t my cuppa tea – the premise was a good one, but it’s the delivery of it that bothered me. Also, I am uncertain why we had to have a insta-boyfriend along for the ride? I thought the point was how the girls’ would start to re-relate to each other, draw insight out of the journey and simply be caught up in absorbing the local atmosphere, traditions and customs of the countries they were visiting. In all honesty, I took out more from my journey to Mexico at sixteen than I think these three could manage together as a travelling group! I was disappointed by how the plot drew thin, everything became a bit too ‘predictably light’ and the heart I saw flickering in the beginning did not last long enough.

Small Fly in the Ointment:

The transitions are a bit rough between sections of focus – as I was becoming acquainted with Piper Rose the shift into the section about Tessa confused me a bit, as I was thinking I was on the flight with Piper, rather than Tessa initially. Sometimes the girls’ sections are a moving stream of conscienceness to which end, it’s not always apparent which girl’s ‘voice’ is speaking to you and thus, the confusion sets in as their voices tend to meld together into one singular voice. I am unsure if this was corrected pre-publication as I was reading the ARC version.

Given the fact I reclassified this as Upper YA, I knew to expect a bit of vulgarity as despite my earnest hopes for ‘less is more’ I oft-times find ‘more is the standard’. This story is not the exception but rather the rule in that regard. Oy.

On the writing style of Jacqueline Kolosov:

As soon as I read ‘quick sex and espresso’ listed as potential stellar interests on behalf of Piper Rose (page two, by the way!) I quickly shifted this novel out of ‘young adult’ and placed it firmly in Upper YA! I am unsure why this was originally targeted for 12 year olds in seventh grade, except to say, if the girls were emotionally secure and maturing at a regular speed of increase, they would appreciate the realistic nature of the story as it’s developing to be told. I seriously do not believe it’s writ for teenage boys, but I could be wrong; as truly literature is open to everyone. This might be one of those novels that clues in teenage boys into how girls think and how they challenge themselves to tackle something quite adventurous such as hiking a famous trail across European countries!

Note (see also): Two Upper YA selections I’ve been wicked surprised about how much I loved reading them were The Summer of Chasing Mermaids and Dragonfly both of which are linked to this review below under ‘Same Genre’ in the Related Posts section.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Previously I have hosted these stories & authors on behalf of Luminis Books:

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This book review is courtesy of:

JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm

JKS Communications Reviewer BadgeFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst bloggers who picked up the same story to read.

Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Follow my bookish journey:

Follow

{more ways to subscribe in my blog’s footer}

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

{SOURCES: Book Cover Art for “Along the Way”, author biography, book synopsis, and reviewer badge were provided by JKS Communications and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Tweets are embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Comment Box banner made by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2016.

I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie

Divider

Posted Friday, 3 June, 2016 by jorielov in 21st Century, A Father's Heart, ARC | Galley Copy, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Coming-Of Age, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Mental Health, Modern Day, Pilgrims and Pilgrimages, Realistic Fiction, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Upper YA Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature, Young Adult Fiction




All posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary! I try to visit your blog in return as I believe in ‘Bloggers Commenting Back’. Comments are moderated. Once your comment is approved for the first time, your comments thereafter will be recognised and automatically approved. All comments are reviewed and continue to be moderated after automated approval. By using the comment form you are consenting with the storage and handling of your personal data by this website. Once you use the comment form, if your comment receives a reply (this only applies to those who leave comments by email), there is a courtesy notification set to send you a reply ticket. It is at your discretion if you want to return to re-respond and/or to continue the conversation established. This is a courtesy for commenters to know when their comments have been replied by either the blog's owner or a visitor to the blog who wanted to add to the conversation. Your email address is hidden and never shared. Read my Privacy Policy.

Leave a Reply