Destination Unknown, by Amy Clipston (Zondervan, 2014)
You’d think Whitney Richards has the perfect life. In her high school senior year, she’s captain of the cheerleading squad, getting straight A’s and on track for a prestigious college. Until a D on her recent calculus test prompts her mother to insist on a tutor. Could it get more humiliating for a girl who’s a tutor herself?
Truth told, Whitney doesn’t want to go to her mother’s exclusive alma mater after high school. All her life she’s complied with her parents’ directions, with her friends’ expectations. Who is she, really?
Her calculus tutor, Taylor, is good looking. And he likes the same books she does. He’s also from the poor side of town, and she’s surprised at how her friends treat him. How could she not have noticed how shallow and cliquish they are?
Whitney’s always been a nice girl, but she’s been insulated by her family’s wealth. Meeting Taylor and his sister challenges her to discover who she really is—and who she wants to be. Along the way she discovers that objective, true-to-herself choices are more than just choosing against her mother’s wishes.
Destination Unknown is an engaging story, and I liked Whitney and Taylor. The dialogue is natural, but many of Whitney’s internal observations would have benefited from another round of editing to convert the “telling” into “showing”. Examples: “His lips formed a thin line illustrating his discontentment.” (p. 31) and “I narrowed my eyes as animosity rushed through me.” (p. 159)
I also felt things wrapped up a little too tidily at the end. Still, it’s a good read and it could prompt teen readers to think about others’ feelings and about choices.
Amy Clipston is the bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series for adults, as well as the YA novels Roadside Assistance and Reckless Heart. Destination Unknown is a sequel to Roadside Assistance but can be read independently.
[A review copy was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.]