Title: Just Visiting
Author: Dahlia Adler
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
Where do I even start? Just Visiting was the book I had in high school. And I do not say this lightly. This was not a perfect book - in fact, I actually put it down about halfway through and didn't pick it back up for months, but I am so glad I did. It was completely worth it.
Reagan and Victoria are ready to get out of their small town. College looms, and the one thing they're agreed on is that they'll be together. But as they make their way to these different colleges, they soon realize maybe that won't happen either.
First off, let me say that I totally regret not doing college visit road trips with my friends. That would have been so much fun (seeing as how we all ended up going in-state anyway). (Also I did not know you could sit in on actual classes, because I'm pretty sure that's not allowed at my school. Then again, we have small classes, not lecture halls. But I digress). I love that this was friendship book, as I think we definitely need more of them. Yes, there were guys and relationships, but at the core, this was about Reagan and Vic and their relationship with each other.
Reagan has been dealt a pretty crappy hand. Everything she does is with her ultimate goal of getting the heck out of this town. Victoria doesn't have it terrible, but she her dreams are too big for the small town where no one gets her. But they both have terrible secrets. I loved seeing them work through the hurt and anger to realize that their friendship mattered more than any of that.
Senior year is such a hard thing. People expect you to know who you are, what you want to do, and it can be terrible. Reagan and Victoria had to grow and mature and figure out what they wanted for their lives, not what other people wanted. And I loved seeing them learn to take charge of their own lives. I think that is something more teen girls need to see.
And of course, the guys. They weren't perfect (ahem, Dev) but they were real. Being a teenager is hard, and I think that was perfectly captured. I loved seeing the girls work through, again, what they wanted. I also love the family aspect, as they were present and a big part, even if Reagan's were terrible.
I loved this book. A lot. And I want to recommend it to every senior (and not senior) I know. It was honest, it was real, but also just a lot of fun.
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