Review: Coasting

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Coasting by: Ben Karwan

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Winner of the Australian Sony Young Movellist of the Year Award!

Jen’s just finished year twelve and she’s dreading what’s coming next. She needs to escape her mum’s too-high expectations for a while – and decide whether her boyfriend, Dylan, is someone she needs in her life.

There’s only one solution. Road trip! Jen, her best friend Elliot, the ladies’ man (in his dreams) Theodore C. Block and the lovely Sophie pile into Elliot’s beat-up old car, Vincent, and head up the coast to reunite Elliot with his girlfriend. If Jen can’t be happy, at least Elliot should have a chance. But things don’t quite go to plan.

Snarky and irreverent, Coasting will make you laugh and bring tears to your eyes as Jen tries to work out who she really is – and what’s important to her.

‘Witty, clever and heartfelt . . . I really enjoyed this book and its distinctive voice. It speaks directly to the experiences of young Australians.’ Skye Melki-Wegner, author of the Chasing The Valley trilogy and Australian Sony Young Movellist of the Year Judge

Beware spoilers ahead!

I heard about this book through Twitter. Someone shared a link about Australian books. I love road trip books and I didn’t hesitate to buy this. I am happy to say that I liked it!

 The book begins with Jennifer (Jen) who has just finished all her exams. She’s just completed Year 12. Jen feels pretty good about her exams. In the sense that they’re finished. Jen assumes that she won’t really do that well especially in her science courses.

Jen is looking forward to week of resting. And then deciding about University afterwards. Her mother asks her how she did on her exams and Jen replies that she doesn’t think that she did well in science. Her mother really wants her to go to med school because she feels that Jen would be wasting her potential if she doesn’t go. Even though Jen is having a hard time in science and doesn’t like science.

Jen does a lot of things to please her mother. She hasn’t told her mother that she can’t see herself as a doctor, nor has she told her that she’s only dating Dylan because her mother likes him. Jen does all this to maintain peace with her mother. She doesn’t want to get into a fight. Jen also feels that she’s a constant disappointment to her mother. And that no one else but her friends and family will love her.

Her best friend Elliot really misses his girl friend. She’s in Queensland for a vacation with family. And Elliot hasn’t really been able to talk to her. When Jen, Teddy, Sophie, and Elliot are hanging out Jen decides to use the money her grandmother gave her to go on a road trip. Partly it’s to make Elliot happy and that way Jen can avoid thinking about University for a bit.

This was way better than I thought it would be! I am surprised that I really enjoyed it! This is an Australian book so the writing style was a bit odd but I got used to it as I continued to read. It is written in first person in Jen’s point of view. And it takes places within a month or so.

The characters and their relationships were all well done! Jen was a different YA character. I have never read about a character who feels like a disappointment. And she made it her mission to make sure everyone else was happy. Again I’ve never read a character like that either. Jen was a feminist but not in an annoying way. She wasn’t preachy and spoke her mind when need be.

I loved the relationship that Jen had with her family! While Jen felt that her mother didn’t understand her, they were still close and cared about each other. And in the end they did make up and come to an understanding. Her brother was really sweet as was her father! I liked reading about Jen and her friends. Sophie was nice and understanding. Teddy was a goofball but still caring. Elliot was an amazing best friend! I especially loved reading about her friendship with Elliot! Also there’s no romance in this book! Which was refreshing. Instead the book focuses on family and friend relationships.

I also liked how there was so much focus on University and school. That is a really big part of being a teenager and I’m surprised it isn’t in a lot of YA contemporaries. In the end Jen decides a school and program that she will enjoy. Which I was happy about. The ending was sweet and it was nice to know that Jen still kept up with her friends.

I only had three problems with Coasting. Like I said earlier the writing style was weird but I did get used to it. I didn’t really like the road trip aspect. I think it could’ve been done better. In the middle I felt that the book started to drag and was boring. Nonetheless I did like it!

Note that Jen is a Christian and there are a few references to Christianity. It isn’t preachy. It didn’t bother me at all. I actually found it to be interesting. But if that’s something you don’t like I would suggest skipping this book.

Overall this was a really good book! I recommend this to contemporary fans who are looking for a story without romance.   

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3 thoughts on “Review: Coasting

  1. Pingback: Monthly Wrap-Up: April 2016 | Fafa's Book Corner

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