There were some things about this book that didn't work for me, but I want to talk about the one that did: the friendship between Dee and Reagan.
It is a sad commentary on books with a main character who happens be a teenage girl that so many of them ignore the most critically important thing in a the life of a teenage girl, which is her friendships with other teenage girls. Yes, there are boyfriends, but in the history of a life, boyfriends come and go but the friendships are forever.
There was a quartet of us in high school, myself and my three best friends. We were inseparable nearly three and a half decades ago. There were ups and downs, of course, because no one can hurt a girl more than one of her best friends.
Four years ago or so, the four of us managed a weekend get together. And, again, there was hilarity and reminiscence, and the difficult stuff that we weathered together didn't matter anymore because what mattered is that I spent time with the three people who knew me best when I was learning who I truly was. They know all of my secrets, dirty, little and otherwise, and I remember who I was when I am with them. I have friends that I have made as an adult, and they are amazing men and women, and we are bound together by things like families and work and a passion for helping children. And I have a husband who knows me better than anyone, even better than those three, but he does not really know who I was when I was young because no one really can except for those three women.
So, as I started this review, it is a sad commentary on YA and NA that so few books give their heroines real relationships with female friends. There is a tendency to spend a lot of time developing the relationship with a boyfriend, or even a boy who is a friend (because girls who hang out with boys are always way cooler than those girlie girls who hang out with girls). But what makes adolescence bearable is the friendships that we rely on to get through it.
So, what I enjoyed about this book was the friendship between Dee and Reagan, which was real and honest and occasionally bitter, as friendships are. Much more screen time was given to this relationship than to the relationship with Matt Finch, and Reagan made decisions that honored her friendship with Dee. She didn't just give lip service to the idea that it was the most important thing in the world to it - she acted on her principles.
The romance was cute as well. Where the book failed, for me, was in the occasionally dumb plotting decisions, and, most obviously, for the inevitable obstacle that had to be overcome in order to put Reagan and Matt together at the end. It was trite and poorly conceived, relying on a "misunderstanding" that was a combination of perplexing, annoying and stupid. Reagan's growth curve was disrupted by what happened in a way that neither rang true nor was necessary. And while I acknowledge that conflict is necessary in a romance in order to achieve that satisfactory resolution, the unnecessary angst that all teen romance authors inject into their stories becomes wearisome indeed.
So, over all, a cute road trip romance, fun to read, with a really lovely friendship between two teenage girls who are figuring stuff out as they go along.