Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Book Review - Destination Anywhere by Sara Barnard

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Title: Destination Anywhere
Author: Sara Barnard
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: 15th April 2021
Rating: 4 Stars

Sometimes you have to leave your life behind to find your place in the world.

After five years at secondary school spent without any friends, Peyton King starts sixth form college determined that things will be different. Whatever happens, she will make friends at any cost.

When she finds the friends she’s always dreamed of, including an actual boyfriend, she’s happier than she’s ever been.
But when they let her down in the worst way, Peyton is left no better off than when she started.
Now Peyton knows the only chance she has of finding happiness is to look for it somewhere else. Her life may feel small, but it doesn't have to be. With nothing but her sketchpad and a backpack, she buys a one-way ticket and gets on a plane. . .

In Destination Anywhere, Sara Barnard explores love, life and friendship in this exquisite tale of the lengths one girl will go to to change her story.

I really had no idea what to expect from this book, it was almost certainly an impulse request from Netgalley, due to the cover grabbing my attention, as anything with a plane on it, while in lockdowns is extra appealing as I need to be able to constantly dream of escape. 

And well that is what Peyton is trying to do, she is only 17, yet more or less overnight decides to drop out of college and get on a plane to Canada without much of plan.  It is clear she is unhappy with her life back in England, but until you start getting the alternating chapters set in the past, and seeing how her first year of college panned out,  plus other key background, you don't realise just to what extent the desire to get away is. 

In fact even as she was describing the toxic friendship and relationship she was in, after having done five years of secondary school being bullied and having no friends at all, I still wouldn't have guessed what would act as the ultimate trigger for her to try to flee her life. 

While we are getting all this background, we also get to see Peyton's travels across Canada, her lack of plan, the other backpackers she meets and forms some sort of friendships with.  

As a travel fiend I absolutely loved all the descriptions of Canada, especially of its breath-taking beauty, stunning scenery and some of its wildlife too.  I loved the idea of backpacking across such a Canada although personally October is probably too cold for me, but it does add to the atmosphere. 

But this is more than just a book featuring a fabulous bit of travelling across a country that I rarely see featured in the books I read,  This is a coming of age, journey of self discovery for Peyton, of learning all manner of lessons about herself, as well as with hindsight realising just where the previous year went wrong for her. 

She's also a talented artist and I couldn't help but be annoyed that her family didn't seem to support her that much, or listen to how she is really feeling at any point which would have attributed to the possibly rash decision to book a flight elsewhere. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and also found myself thinking about Peyton even when I wasn't reading it, which is a sure fire sign of a book getting under my skin.   And it even made me feel quite emotional too! 

Thank you to Pan Macmillan and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily., 

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