Source: ARC from author
Series: Stand-Alone (maybe)
Released: February 10, 2015
Length: 323 pages
Goodreads | Amazon
Chloe has one plan for the future, and one plan only: the road. She’s made a promise to herself: don’t let anyone in, and don’t let anyone love her. She’s learned the hard way what happens if she breaks her rules. So she’s focused on being invisible and waiting until she can set out on the road—her dream of freedom, at least for a little while.REVIEW
Blake Hunter is a basketball star who has it all—everything about him looks perfect to those on the other side of his protective walls. He can’t let anyone see the shattered pieces behind the flawless facade or else all his hopes and dreams will disappear.
One dark night throws Chloe and Blake together, changing everything for Blake. For Chloe, nothing changes: she has the road, and she’s focused on it. But when the so-called perfect boy starts to notice the invisible girl, they discover that sometimes with love, no one knows where the road may lead.
It's been a while since I've been in the blogging game consistently, but anyone who's anyone knows I am a Jay McLean Fangirl of the most obsessive kind. I've read every one of her books, and if you haven't tried at least one, this is me telling you that you should. Where the Road Takes me was McLean's first stand-alone novel (which may or may not stay stand-alone... just sayin'...). I was thrilled for a new McLean book, but nervous at the same time. I'd read her first four books which were all part of a series (More Than series) and loved them, and I knew Where the Road Takes Me was going to be pretty different. Not only the fact that I would be reading about different characters, but the entire feel of the book would be different since it was an entire story in one book, not four.
When I got my ARC copy a couple weeks before release time, I hunkered down and finished that baby in two days, which is a mean feat for me these days since I've slowed down on my book intake in recent months. I was sucked right in by Chloe and Blake's story and read almost three-quarters of it on the first day.
Jay's writing, in general, is great, and while I do sometimes have my issues with it, she has steadily progressed in her skill as a writer and it's been a privilege to watch that happen over the course of five books. In WtRTM, she did not fail to deliver and I was so glad that, even with as different of a story as it was, I still fell in love with it all.
I found myself boohoo-ing through the better portion of the book, as tends to happen when "McLeaning", and Chloe's story really broke me. Chloe was not always a likable character and sometimes hard to understand or identify with. With that being said, I always appreciate an author who doesn't create perfect characters who never make mistakes or don't have flaws. So for Chloe's flaws, I commend you, Ms. McLean. And the few Blake had, too. But Blake = <3, so it was easy to ignore his faults.
As with some of her other books, sometimes the plot in Jay's books can get a little funky, leaving you wondering what the heck is going on until it picks back up and fixes itself, but one flawless characteristic that is common among all (now) six of her books is her ability to make me adore her characters. Especially her supporting characters (ahem, Josh) and make them feel like a family I am privileged to be a part of for a short while.
I did feel as though the ending was a bit rushed which took away from the story for me a bit. We saw years of Chloe and Blake's life go by before the epilogue even came and I wished we could have gotten a deeper look at those scenes rather than an overview.
Either way, rushed ending notwithstanding, I fell in love with Chloe and Blake, Josh and Blake's mom, Chloe's entire family... it was hard to let them go at the end of the book, and when I heard trickles of rumors that there may be another book, well, needless to say I was thrilled. I can't wait to hear more on that, and the other books she has in the works.
RATING: ★★★★ - 4 stars!
I don't think a book needs to be perfect to be great. I have come across various issues with many books, McLean's included, and still found reasons to adore them, just like I adored Where the Road Takes Me. Sometimes her stories veer into the cheesy, sometimes the endings are rushed. Sometimes the shocking scenes seem a bit unbelievable. But never have I not fallen in love with a protagonist or supporting character presented to me by that woman or not been touched by her words and ideas and the relationships she creates.
She has a passion for what she does and even more than that, she is a great person which, to me, makes all the difference. Those of you who've stopped reading books by "authors behaving badly" understand the exact opposite of that spectrum and when an author is behaving like an amazing human being, they deserve all the respect and attention in the world. So hey, give Jay McLean a try and you might just thank me if you look past the occasional typo and delve deeper into the worlds and relationships of Jay McLean. I think you'll find something worthwhile there if you do.