Author: Dahlia Adler
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Release Date: November 17th, 2015! SO GO BUY IT ALREADY!
*eARC kindly provided by the author. Thank you so much, Dahlia!*
Reagan Forrester wants out—out of her trailer park, out of reach of her freeloading mother, and out of the shadow of the relationship that made her the pariah of Charytan, Kansas.
Victoria Reyes wants in—in to a fashion design program, in to the arms of a cute guy who doesn't go to Charytan High, and in to a city where she won't stand out for being Mexican.
One thing the polar-opposite best friends do agree on is that wherever they go, they’re staying together. But when they set off on a series of college visits at the start of their senior year, they quickly see that the future doesn’t look quite like they expected. After two years of near-solitude following the betrayal of the ex-boyfriend who broke her heart, Reagan falls hard and fast for a Battlestar Galactica-loving, brilliant smile-sporting pre-med prospective... only to learn she's set herself up for heartbreak all over again. Meanwhile, Victoria runs full-speed toward all the things she thinks she wants… only to realize everything she’s looking for might be in the very place they've sworn to leave.
As both Reagan and Victoria struggle to learn who they are and what they want in the present, they discover just how much they don't know about each other's pasts. And when each learns what the other’s been hiding, they'll have to decide whether their friendship has a future.
I want more books like this in YA. I want more books with a focus on friendship than the romance. I want more books with sex-positive talk. I want more friends who actually TALK through everything and who stick by each other’s sides even when angry. I want more healthy, supportive friendships, and more healthy, supportive romances. Basically I want more books like Just Visiting.
Ah, people are going to give Reagan shit though. I can already see it. This beautiful, sad girl just couldn’t let herself be happy. She didn’t think she deserved it. Even when she was so ready to get out of Charytan, her past was still holding her back. A past that took away her innocence that the world and the people in it are good. A past that leaves her so untrusting and unsure of anything about herself. It’s hard for her to open up and let people in, even her best friend. But I don’t blame her. I know she had a lot to work through, and it was hard for her to be positive and to enjoy life. She was a tough cookie, and one that could be pretty unlikable at times. But she was still a teenager; she was still learning. She had to make mistakes and be pushed out of her comfort zone so she could see what she truly deserved and what her life could be like if she so chose it. Reagan’s development was so wonderful but hard, and I rooted for her so much.
And I LOVED that she had Victoria through it all. Vic was the best friend everyone should have. She was supportive, nonjudgmental, and knew when she was pushing too far. But she was a developed character alongside Reagan, and not just a sidekick. I loved her personality, and her positivity. She struggled with her identity and what she really wanted out of life and college, and I could relate well to that. Throughout the book, she was learning a lot about herself, and I find that such an important aspect of anyone’s experiences, let alone a teenager visiting colleges with her best friend. And even though she didn’t quite figure it all out, she stayed positive and true to herself in the end. Victoria was such a fabulous character, and I’m super glad this was told in dual POV because I adored her voice. I especially loved how outgoing and enthusiastic she was, and how she didn’t let anyone else’s opinions define her or what she did.
There was a small, but well-written, romance aspect in this as well. But it was geared more toward Reagan for SPOILERY REASONS. I loved how it didn’t take over everything, for either of the girls. It was still an important part of their development and life, but it felt real and genuine instead of just being there for filler reasons. I really loved that the romance and sex was such a positive aspect. I especially adored Dev and his nerdiness, and how wonderful he was to Reagan. It made me happy to see Reagan let herself be happy. And I also loved how Victoria’s own romantic sideline was an important part but not one that HAD to be perfect by the end. I just really liked the way it all went and how it was dealt with, especially the sex positivity. I also really loved the relationship that Vic had with her family. They were all so close, and I could feel her loneliness and wanderlust when she talked to her brother as he was traveling. Reagan’s family was awful, and I’m glad she had the Reyes’ because they were there for her, they were what she needed her parents to be.
This plot very much centered around the two girls and their friendship. Their banter was A+ and I was so very happy to see such a healthy, wonderful friendship in YA. But they had to learn that sometimes what’s best for you isn’t the best for someone else. Through their trials and errors in this book, the two of them realize that their dreams may be different, but that it was totally okay for them to follow their own hearts. It was never going to end their friendship; I don’t think anything could, they are so close and just always there for one another. But it was okay for them to take their own path, and I think that’s such an important, realistic thing you learn as you go to college and move away from your childhood friends.