Book Review

Where It All Lands

Where It All Lands

  • Author: Jennie Wexler
  • Genre: YA Romance
  • Publication Date: July 6, 2021
  • Publisher: Wednesday Books

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am offering my honest opinion voluntarily.

CONTENT WARNING: bullying, antisemitism, infidelity, mention of drug use, profanity, death of a parent, death

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Stevie Rosenstein has never made a true friend. Never fallen in love. Moved from city to city by her father’s unrelenting job, it’s too hard to care for someone. Trust in anything. The pain of leaving always hurts too much. But she’ll soon learn to trust, to love.

Twice.

Drew and Shane have been best friends through everything. The painful death of Shane’s dad. The bitter separation of Drew’s parents. Through sleepaway camps and family heartache, basketball games and immeasurable loss, they’ve always been there for each other.

When Stevie meets Drew and Shane, life should go on as normal.

But a simple coin toss alters the course of their year in profound and unexpected ways.

Told in dual timelines, debut author Jennie Wexler delivers a heartbreaking and hopeful novel about missed opportunities, second chances, and all the paths that lead us to where we are.

Where to start with this one? This was one of my highly anticipated reads, but I really struggled with this one. There were a few things that I liked, but also a few things that I didn’t like about it. There’s a little bit of Jewish representation in the story.

The story starts with a tragic event, but we don’t really know exactly what happened, or to whom it happened to. Then it flashes back to 4 months prior, and the story is told in dual timelines. It gives us a sneak peak into what might have happened if just one outcome would have happened differently. 

But the event on which the entire story hinges is where the story is problematic for me. Drew and Shane have always solved all of their problems by flipping a coin. So naturally, when Stevie catches both of their eye, they decide to … flip a coin for her? It completely disregarded her personal choice, as if all that is needed to start dating a girl is to win a coin toss. That’s where the story kind of lost me (and it happened in the first chapter).

The first half of the story relies heavily on insta-love, which is my least favorite trope of all time. The characters bond immediately, and are so connected right away. However, when someone asks Stevie about the relationship, she can’t come up with a single answer about why she is with him, which makes the whole relationship feel so pointless and contrived.

“The truth is I don’t have an answer. Not a real answer, anyway.”

The second half of the story was a little better. That timeline provided more of a genuine connection that developed slowly over a period of time. But the characters were a little flat. Stevie, Drew, and Shane all had a single issue that they were fixated on, and didn’t seem to have the energy or desire to do much else. All three had the fact that they loved music and had daddy issues in common, but not much else. Let me tell you, when Stevie referred to Pearl Jam as “old people music,” it physically hurt me. And it’s possible to like a range of musical types — you can like Pearl Jam and not diss Taylor Swift. 

I’m typically not a fan of reading the same story over twice, even if it is from different perspectives with slight changes. This wasn’t too bad, however, but I didn’t really love the story overall. The last quarter of the book is where I finally got involved, but the very last chapter is where it lost me completely. While I was hoping for a good story, ultimately, it just wasn’t a good fit for me.

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