Book Review: The Map to You

Rachel Stockbridge

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

published: 25th January 2022
spoilers? no


Sasha Deforest always seems to fall hardest for girls she can’t have. And she’s never fallen harder than she has for her tough, stubborn best friend Kinsey. Sasha can’t help all the outrageously flirty things that come out of her mouth when they’re together, even if Kinsey always plays it off as a running joke. Sasha doesn’t really mind, though. She likes that they’re just friends. It’s easy. Uncomplicated. And it means she has an excuse not to open up about her troubled family life back home.

Kinsey Han has been nursing one hell of a crush on sweet, sarcastic Sasha for the better part of the last year. Not that she’d ever let Sasha know it. Kinsey tends to express herself by frowning and ordering her loved ones around. Even if she thought Sasha meant all the flirty nonsense she’s always coming up with, Kinsey could never be the kind of cheerful, outgoing woman Sasha deserves to be with. It’s better for everyone if Kinsey keeps her true feelings to herself.

But when Sasha drops everything to drive Kinsey 600 miles to deal with a family emergency, things get complicated. The more time they spend together, the harder it is for Kinsey to keep her feelings for Sasha buried—and the harder it is for Sasha to remember why it’s so important to keep Kinsey at arm’s length. If they continue to conceal the depths of their feelings for each other, they’d be missing out on falling in love with the one person who could truly get them. But taking that chance also means opening themselves up to heartbreak. And neither is sure they’re willing to risk losing the other forever.

Galley provided by publisher

CWs: child neglect, child abuse, mentions of overdose, toxic relationships

The Map to You is a sweet college romance, between two friends, both of whom believe their love to be unrequited. Really, it should have been perfect for me. And yet, while I liked it—and would definitely recommend it—I never really loved it.

Perhaps this was down to the two things: the tension between the two, for all the scenes where it should have been tangible, never really was, and you never got to see the development from meeting to friends to in love. Let me take the latter first.

This wouldn’t have been a problem, I don’t think, if the story hadn’t started pre-friendship. You got a prologue of them just meeting, and then suddenly chapter one opens and they’re close friends. Perhaps, in all honesty, this is something that book one resolves, and I didn’t read that. If so, this point is entirely on me. And I’m not saying there’s anything bad about “they’re already in love when the book starts”, but you never saw that development here, and I would have liked to.

The other point—that I never felt the tension between them—is probably harder to explain. It’s possible this was down to the writing which, although good and readable, didn’t really get the emotions across for me. Which, as you might expect, bled into the tension between the characters. This wasn’t helped by the fact that they got together, and thus resolved that tension, by the halfway mark. Then the second half was them confronted with Sasha’s mother’s problems, and their own insecurities. Now, none of this was bad, I will stress that. But, as I said, none of the emotions got across.

Which means I overall liked the book, but felt none of what I was supposed to be feeling. Hey, this one may easily be chalked up to me! It’s very possible I’m just not quite the right reader for this one. But if we’re looking for reasons for my rating, this would be why.

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