Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity

Jess has just graduated and is gearing up for her first cross-country Big Road Trip from California to Chicago. Her goal? Crashing the wedding of her father, whom she hasn't seen, or even spoken with, in years. Not since he ditched her and her mom for her mom's former best friend...who just happens to be the bride in question. Nevermind that Jess was formally invited to attend the nuptials. She still considers it crashing. Accompanying her on the journey is her BFF Christophe, a.k.a. "Chunk." And their used Honda, "Betty".

Post-high school road trip stories seem to be a current common theme in YA novels. Seems characters don't properly learn the proper life lessons unless they've gone through this gas-guzzling, greasy spoon food-eating, roadside attraction-visiting rite of passage. Of course there must be drama along the way. There must be romance. There must be at least one awkward and/or completely disgustingly embarrassing incident. And there must be a too-neat ending before the credits finally roll.

Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity, by Kristin Elizabeth Clark would blend seamlessly into the plethora of Road Trip books already gracing the shelves. Except for the LGBTQ element. 

The last time she saw her father, Jess was Jeremy. She's been transitioning for the past several months and is finally beginning to look on the outside how she's always felt inside (she still has a ways to go, though). Jess believes her trans status is the reason her dad left. He couldn't deal with his son really being a daughter. She harbors a ton of resentment about this. So she plans to attend the wedding and flaunt herself in her father's face. To force him to either accept her or live up to the phobic jerk she believes he is. In fact, she's kind of hoping for the later so she can be right. So right off there's a TON of angsty feels. This is the setup for one heck of a memorable road trip. One that will change Jess and Chunk forever.

This book was kind of cliche and very predictable at times. But I liked it. The best part was the character growth. At first, Jess was pretty bratty and self-absorbed, but by the end she had began to mature into a thoughtful young woman who finally realized what was important (and that the world didn't revolve around her). Of course she almost ruined her life in the process, but everything ended up working out. Sometimes you need to read a book with a Happily Ever After. 

A good, light read--AJB

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