Release Date: September 2nd, 2021
‘Who are you and why do you have my boyfriend’s phone?’
‘He left it in my car. You must be the blonde in the red dress? I’m the Lift driver who dropped you two off earlier.’
And with these words, the life of the brunette and t-shirt wearing Maya Maas is turned upside down. Having planned to surprise her boyfriend, she finds herself single and stranded in an unknown city on her birthday.
So when the mystery driver rescues Maya with the suggestion that she cheers herself up at a nearby beach town, she jumps at the chance to get things back on track. She wasn’t expecting a personalised itinerary or the easy companionship that comes from opening up to a stranger via text, let alone the possibility it might grow into something more…
This is going to be a brief review simply because the book promised something, but delivered something else entirely and I’m a little disappointed by that. I loved the sound of the blurb and the premise, I enjoyed knowing that two strangers meet and connect, but then don’t see each other again for a while. But I didn’t like the way the story was told.
I absolutely loved the setting and the location. I loved exploring Carmel by the Sea with Maya, because it’s been one of the few places on my bucket list. I also really liked that her adventure was guided by someone she couldn’t see, because their text exchanges and their banter was really fun. The first half – where she doesn’t know who Max is and what’s going to happen at the end – was really cute and I was enjoying their relationship and the slow growth of their bond.
There were 80-something chapters, this alone worried me at the start. Because what can you say in 80 chapters? I liked the characters we meet in the second half, all the relationships that Maya builds, but I don’t know why it had to take such a long time for everything to come to a head. We know who the mysterious texter is from her past, but instead of just getting to the point, it took a long while to get there. If I was in Maya’s shoes, I would have pitched a fit when Ethan kept prolonging the reveal just for his entertainment. As a reader, I was annoyed that we weren’t getting proper answers too. And the writing was a little confusing in places with the italics and lack of action tags, but that was a minor issue I had with the story.
Thanks to NetGalley and Aria & Aries for the advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.