The synopsis and the praise that this book received prior to its release in August 2014 was enough for me to pick up this book. It was related by many people (including the sticker on the cover) to John Green, one of my favourite authors, and the idea of a YA contemporary road trip novel just sounded like something I would enjoy. I read Paper Towns by John Green a few years ago and read Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson earlier in the year and had heard this was similar so thought it’d be right up my street.
The layout of this story was different in that it focusses on the different people that Leila comes across and in some way changes during her journey to see the Northern Lights. I thought that it would be a unique way of story telling, despite the obvious ‘manic pixie dream girl’ trope, and it did in fact build up the mystery behind Leila’s character quite well. However I just found Leila’s story to be disappointing and although I won’t say here in detail because I don’t want to give spoilers, I just found that the author’s explanation of Leila’s trip was just a way to get out of explaining any backstory. At least that’s how I felt about it.
Some of the characters Leila meets along the way are funny and really add to the story but knowing so little about Leila made this feel like a short story collection rather than a fully fleshed out novel.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this book to an extent despite all of the problems I have with it. It is a fun YA contemporary and if you want something quick then, sure, give this a go, but this is by no means one of my favourites of the genre and I found it quite disappointing overall.