Thursday, July 27, 2017

Changes in Latitudes by Jen Malone

Changes in Latitudes by Jen Malone
Release Date - July 25, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A "road" trip romance that takes place at sea!

All Cassie wants is to get some solid ground under her feet following the shock of her parents' divorce. So when she learns of her mom's plans to take Cassie and her brother, Drew, on a four-month sailing trip from Oregon to Mexico, she's stunned. There is absolutely nothing solid about the Pacific Ocean.

Cassie is furious. And nervous. It's been hard enough keeping Drew sheltered from what Cassie knows about her mother's role in breaking their family apart, but living in such close quarters threatens to push her anger past its tipping point. Enter Jonah, a whip-smart deckhand who's as gorgeous as he is flirtatious. Cassie tries to keep him at a distance, but the more time they spend together--wandering San Francisco, riding beachside roller coasters, and exploring the California coastline--the harder it is to fight the attraction.

Cassie wants to let herself go, but her parents split has left her feeling adrift in a sea of questions she can't even begin to answer. Can she forgive her mom? Will home ever feel the same? Should she take a chance on Jonah? With life's unpredictable tides working against her, Cassie must decide whether to swim against them... or dive right in.
I have always been fascinated by novels that focus on some kind of travel. I love the idea of learning about yourself while discovering some place new. I had never read a novel that focused on a sailing before so the synopsis for Changes In Latitudes immediately caught my attention. Jen Malone manages to craft a highly entertaining, heartfelt novel that also manages to ignite a little bit of wanderlust all its own.

Sailing has never been something I have thought I would be into. I have never had the desire to take a cruise, or anything of the sort. Changes In Latitudes not only makes this type of trip seem very appealing, but it paints it as an adventure. The novel carefully balances the more fun elements of sailing with the harsh realities (like last of food storage space). I felt it gave a pretty decent overview of what it might be like, while not overwhelming people who have very little knowledge of nautical terms or experience being on the water. I may have personally appreciated the land portions of their trip but this novel definitely managed to make the call of the seas seem a little more alluring.

I often refer to books at palate cleansers and this is one such book. It's got enough substance to be satisfying but is light enough to be read after a more emotionally heavy book. It the kind of book that reminds you of a nice summer day after a string of grey cloudy days. It is exactly the book you need in specific circumstances.

The family dynamic is really the heart of the novel. Cassie is having a hard time dealing with her parent's divorce and the anger she holds towards her mother. I always love when teen books include parents and family as part of the story and I found that in this novel it was THE story. It was more vital than the romance. It was really the driving force of the plot and the emotional parts of the story. The novel allowed a deeper look at this family and their adjustment to the many changes they are going through in a very real, and relatable way. The bond between Cassie, her mother, and her brother was one of my favourite parts of the novel. No matter how much anger there was between them, the fact that there was genuine love there was never in question. The inclusion of Cassie's father, even in a secondary role, also made the story feel more complete. This really feels like a story of a family weathering the aftermath of a divorce in all its messy, broken glory.

The romance was, much like the rest of the book, really fun to experience. It has its fill of swoon worthy moments. The 80s fangirl in me was delighted by the call out to not only the movie The Lost Boys, but the town where it was filmed as part of the romance. The romance is really based on these characters getting to know each other, and letting each other in, which made the progression feel really natural. I also appreciated the more realistic feel to the relationship in terms of not having all of the answers for what happens to them as a couple. It feels like one of the more grounded elements of the novel.

Changes In Latitudes offers a novel in which both the family dynamic, and romance elements are equally strong. Jen Malone has created a fun, lighter read that will be a perfect read for your end of summer reading lists. It manages to be fun, heartfelt, and engaging all at once. It certainly made me want to read whatever comes next from Jen Malone and I eagerly await news of her next release.

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