Book Reviews, Romance  |  05.16.2021

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

Synopsis:

Addie and her sister are about to embark on an epic road trip to a friend’s wedding in the north of Scotland. The playlist is all planned and the snacks are packed.

But, not long after setting off, a car slams into the back of theirs. The driver is none other than Addie’s ex, Dylan, who she’s avoided since their traumatic break-up two years earlier.

Dylan and his best mate are heading to the wedding too, and they’ve totalled their car, so Addie has no choice but to offer them a ride. The car is soon jam-packed full of luggage and secrets, and with three hundred miles ahead of them, Dylan and Addie can’t avoid confronting the very messy history of their relationship…

Will they make it to the wedding on time? And, more importantly… is this really the end of the road for Addie and Dylan? 

Genre:

Contemporary Romance

Trigger Warning:

Toxic Relationships, Depression, Mental Health Struggles, Substance Abuse, Sexual Abuse.

Spoiler-Free Review:

Wow, this book was NOT what I expected.
But, I was pleasantly surprised. I loved it.

It’s very different than Beth O’Leary’s previous works, so it’s possible that some readers aren’t going to like this story at all. Where The Flatshare and The Switch are heartwarming rom-com’s (or even woman’s literature), The Road Trip is a dramatic second-chance romance that is closer to New Adult.

There were Normal People, HBO’s Girls, Cruel Intentions, and Gossip Girl vibes. Addie, her sister, and the mysterious Rodney are driving down from England to Scotland on their trusted mini cooper to attend their friend’s wedding. While stopping to stock the car with goodies for the trip they accidentally smash into another car. Because of Murphy’s Law, the driver was no other than Addie’s ex-boyfriend Dylan. Now, Dylan, his buddy Marcus, Rodney, and the girls must squeeze together in the tiny car to make it to the celebration on time.

The premise is entertaining enough. But, there’s so much more to this story. Split between past and present, Beth O’Leary leads us to the idyllic summer in the south of France when Addie was working as staff in a hillside villa and met Dylan – a posh, poem-reciting, Oxford graduate. The chemistry between them is crackling.

But there’s tension in their relationship. Both, are struggling to understand who they are in the world. There’s the whole ”we come from completely different worlds conflict”, but also talks of mental health, consent, etc. It’s a character study and a coming of age. But, more importantly, The Road Trip has a recurring theme about toxic relationships, both with family and friends, and when it’s time to let go. This book could, in fact, be renamed to ”My Friend Marcus ruined everything, or ”With Friends like Marcus, Who Needs Enemies?”.

As you can see, I’m not a fan of Marcus. And I didn’t think the ”punishment” he received at the end fit the crime. But, focusing on the romance, I was 100% there for it. I fell in love with Addie and Dylan and I couldn’t put this book down.

Also, Deb (Addie’s sister) deserves an honorable mention because she’s a badass and responsible for a lot of the comic relief of this book.

Rating: ☆☆☆☆.☆ (4.5 Stars)

Find the book here:

Goodreads

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