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ARC Review: The Map to You by Rachel Stockbridge

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Publishing Date: January 25, 2022


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.

My Review:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I was misled by the Cutesy cover and description / synopsis. THIS IS NOT A CUTESY BOOK. At all. It was good but I wasn’t expecting to end up emotionally wrung out and anxious after reading it. I went in expecting a cute and fluffy f/f romance and what I got was…. not that.

The relationship was the smallest part of the book – it was mostly about the characters coming to terms with themselves and who they wanted to be and who they wanted in their life. Which is fine. I enjoy that. But I do not enjoy being blindsided with childhood abuse, and a drug addict mom who calls her college student kid across the country to bail her out of jail for armed robbery and assault after said kid refuses to send her more money for drugs, and a lifetime of emotional trauma.

Also both Kinsey and Sasha have quite a bit of anxiety to work through — Sasha from her mom and childhood and past relationship and Kinsey from her past relationship. The constant gnawing anxiety and self-doubt were very familiar and put me in a bad space mentally.

Since I chose it because I wasn’t feeling mentally up for a more challenging book and wanted a cute and fluffy romance… I feel rather deceived. The heavy topics ought to be mentioned in the description and the cover should also give a clue that this book is a lot darker than it first seems.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Rachel Stockbridge for providing an e-arc for review.

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