Published by Penguin on May 2nd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Family, Girls & Women, Parents, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
Seventeen-year-old Nora Holmes is an artist, a painter from the moment she could hold a brush. She inherited the skill from her grandfather, Robert, who's always nurtured Nora's talent and encouraged her to follow her passion. Still, Nora is shocked and elated when Robert offers her a gift: an all-expenses-paid summer trip to Europe to immerse herself in the craft and to study history's most famous artists. The only catch? Nora has to create an original piece of artwork at every stop and send it back to her grandfather. It's a no-brainer: Nora is in!
Unfortunately, Nora's mother, Alice, is less than thrilled about the trip. She worries about what the future holds for her young, idealistic daughter and her opinions haven't gone unnoticed. Nora couldn't feel more unsupported by her mother, and in the weeks leading up to the trip, the women are as disconnected as they've ever been. But seconds after saying goodbye to Alice at the airport terminal, Nora hears a voice call out: "Wait! Stop! I'm coming with you!"
I read this summary and I was so excited to read this book! I even found myself laughing a bit in the first chapter, but I honestly don’t know where the story lost me exactly. I obviously have mixed feelings about this read. While I didn’t love it… I certainly didn’t dislike it.
Nora lives and breathes art… it doesn’t help that she has a grandfather who has famous paintings and helps nurture her talent. Her mother on the other hand is less than supportive. When Nora gets accepted into a prestigious art seminar over the summer … in Ireland… her grandfather encourages her to go and he offers her an incentive. He’ll pay for several extra weeks to see other European sites the only catch is that she has to create something from a prompt he provides at each location he suggests.
I think where I struggled a bit was in my feelings for Nora. I think I had expected more growth from her as a character. I felt at times that, yes, she wasn’t happy with her mother tagging along with her on this trip that was supposed to be hers, and I get that, but she let that dictate her attitude and demeanor and let it pretty much ruin a whole trip. She kept saying how this was her trip to be an adult and be independent, yet she just acted so immature. I just thought it was kind of irritating.
I really struggled with the relationship between Nora and Alice, her mother. I hated that her mom was so negative about the things that Nora loved and wanted to do. I thought it was really inconsiderate how her mom hijacked her trip too, and then tried to dictate what they would do.
Of course there are some boys… one who is in the past and still impacting her life, and Callum the boy she meets when she arrives in Ireland. I guess I didn’t have any strong feelings for either the past or the present if that tells you anything at all. I kind of wish I had connected a bit more to the relationship that was building between Callum and Nora, but I just didn’t.
This was a pretty quick read, though I think that’s in part to the way the story is told… I feel like I would have liked to see a bit more depth to the characters and the story itself to have me a bit more invested in what I was reading… and I would have loved to see more of this dedication to art that Nora was supposed to have, I felt like that took a backseat to the boy drama.