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Reviewed by:
  • The Map from Here to There by Emery Lord
  • Deborah Stevenson, Editor

Lord, Emery The Map from Here to There. Bloomsbury, 2020 [368p] Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-68119-938-2 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-68119-939-9 $12.59 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 9-12

It's senior year, and Paige, screenwriter wannabe, is hoping to go to NYU, or at least to make it to the same school as her screenwriting partner from her summer NYU seminar. Back home in Indiana, though, there's Max, Paige's adored boyfriend, and her gaggle of nice, intense, nerdy friends, all wondering what the future may bring. The stresses of the year are hard on overthinker Paige, who's not sure what the possible parting of next year means for her relationship with Max now. This is a relationship-focused romance with some solid and authentic dynamics as Paige and Max earnestly wrongfoot each other and themselves in their attempts to be thoughtful and generous; fortunately, it's also clear that there's plenty of affection and respect here, so the angst isn't about toxic behavior, just human uncertainty. There's not much trajectory to the plot beyond the experience of a fraught senior year, and while the character names, possible colleges, and events are more a dizzying series of lists rather than emotionally developed components, Paige's narration is credible as a frenzied infodump from a clinically anxious teen. She's therefore relatable as a proxy for a lot of readers themselves at the precipice, and they'll be cheered to see her find the confidence to take the leap. [End Page 215]



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