Reviewed by Nancy
4 out of 5 stars
To be home for Christmas, they must bridge the distance between them.
Charlie Yates is desperate. It’s almost Christmas and his flight home from college has been delayed. For days. Charlie promised his little sister Ava he’d be home for her first holiday season since going into remission from leukemia. Now he’s stuck on the opposite coast and someone else grabbed the last rental car. Someone he hasn’t even spoken to in four years. Someone who broke his heart.
Gavin Bloomberg’s childhood friendship with Charlie ended overnight after a day of stolen kisses. With years of resentment between them, they don’t want to be in the same room together, let alone a car. But for Ava’s sake, Gavin agrees to share the rental and drive across the country together.
As they face unexpected bumps along the road, can Charlie and Gavin pave the way to a future together?
Charlie Yates is going to have the worst Christmas ever if he doesn’t get to Connecticut in time to see his little sister, Ava, who is now in remission from leukemia. It turns out Mother Nature is going to make Charlie’s life difficult by wreaking havoc on both coasts, forcing massive flight cancellations during one of the busiest travel times of the year. Charlie’s only alternative is to rent a car and drive cross-country. Unfortunately, Gavin Bloomberg, Charlie’s childhood friend and cause of his broken heart, has taken the last one.
This is a light, sweet romance with a little angst that is just perfect for the holidays. The alternating viewpoints mostly worked well here. I liked how the problems that caused Gavin’s and Charlie’s separation were revealed slowly, helping to maintain a sense of mystery and keeping my interest. I was thankful, though, that each chapter was headed by the main characters’ first names, because there were times I got confused and forgot who was talking.
I loved how Charlie and Gavin sorted out their problems and reconnected during their long journey. Teenagers may be much more savvy than they were in my day, but I couldn’t help feeling that they acted too maturely for their 18 years. As much as I felt their chemistry and enjoyed their sexual encounters, the dirty talk didn’t feel age-appropriate and made me squirmy.
I enjoy road trip stories and was disappointed there were so few adventures and mishaps other than a slip on the ice and a flat tire. One of my favorite scenes is when they stopped at Little America and were encouraged to participate in the Reindeer Run for charity, where Gavin (the reindeer) is blindfolded and Charlie (the sleigh) carries presents and directs Gavin toward the finish line while managing not to fall off his back.
Normally, I steer away from romances with children, but I rather enjoyed Charlie’s relationship with Ava and the family interactions which revealed a lot about his character. Ava was well drawn and her presence was brief, so don’t let that stop you from reading this.
If you enjoy stories about friendship, harmonious families, fresh starts, and the healing power of love, you won’t be disappointed.