No Place Like Here
By Christina June
Release date: May21, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Retelling
Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.
The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes—inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere—can help her cope.
With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.
Having met Christina in June of last year, I knew that her writing was bound to be amazing. And I was correct (for once)!
No Place Like Here spoke to the heart. It picked apart a teenager’s life that’s fallen into shambles. It brought about a sense of urgency to find one’s self and to learn to live in a life of freedom away from strict figures and rules.
Our main character Ashlyn made a legal mistake in the past that’s landed her in prosecution’s path ever since. She’s hoped to make it into and live up to her parents’ expectations, so that she may return to her old school for her senior year. However, instead of being able to return home, she’s forced to deal with the consequences of her father’s pending arrest and her mother’s sudden admittance into a mental facility.
With nowhere else to go, she goes to stay with her aunt, uncle, and cousin to work at a campsite retreat. Here is where we are given true associations to Ashlyn’s persona, and we watch as the carefully wound cord of herself is slowly unravelled.
Other than a shaky start, I really did like this book. It was everything I expected of a contemporary book, and I look forward to reading more like it from Christina. For that, I rate No Place Like Here 4 stars.
Q1: If there was one thing you were allowed to add into the book, what would it be?
The good thing about the editorial relationship is that it is collaborative. Any questions an editor may have about what is right for the book becomes a discussion, not dictated. My editors have been very clear that I have to be comfortable with what goes into the book, because my name is on it, and I can confidently say that because of those relationships, I am happy with everything that is—or isn’t—in my books. I can’t think of anything I would need to add!
Q2: What is one dream location you’d like to center a book at?
I’d love to set a book in London or Paris, assuming I get to go do research in person.
Q3: Is there someone from real life you added into your book?
There are no real people in NO PLACE LIKE HERE. I’ve been known to mention a musician or celebrity from time to time, though. NPLH does pull quotes from current musicians, as well as popular authors and poets.
Q4: If one of your characters, from any of your novels, suddenly became real, who would you want it to be?
Definitely Blanche. She appears in all three of my books and is the closest any of my characters get to being magical. She is funny and helpful and seemingly psychic, knowing just the right thing to say or offer to make things better. Plus, she’s a big Golden Girls fan and what’s better than that? She makes a very small appearance in NPLH and her contribution was selected very carefully.
Q5: Is there a special place this book was written at?
No, I tend to write everywhere. With a day job and a family, it is hard to have any kind of set writing schedule, so I write at home in my bed or at my dining room table, at various coffee shops, in libraries and at fellow writers’ houses.
Q6: If there was one place you could go on tour at for this book, where would you want it to be?
Everywhere! I love to travel and would happily chat with readers anywhere. I’m excited to get back to Pittsburgh this summer, as well as talk with librarians at ALA in Washington DC.
Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter.
She is the author of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, and the forthcoming NO PLACE LIKE HERE.
FIVE USA residents will each win ONE finished copy of No Place Like Here and a book poster. This giveaway started on the 27th of May and will end on June 7th.