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Places We've Never Been

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A sweet and swoony contemporary Young Adult novel about a cross-country family road trip that puts one girl and her childhood best friend on an unexpected road to romance! Norah hasn’t seen her childhood best friend, Skyler, in years. When he first moved away, they'd talk all the time, but lately their relationship has been reduced to liking each other’s Instagram posts. Th A sweet and swoony contemporary Young Adult novel about a cross-country family road trip that puts one girl and her childhood best friend on an unexpected road to romance! Norah hasn’t seen her childhood best friend, Skyler, in years. When he first moved away, they'd talk all the time, but lately their relationship has been reduced to liking each other’s Instagram posts. That’s why Norah can’t wait for the joint RV road trip their families have planned for the summer. But when Skyler finally arrives, he seems...like he’d rather be anywhere else. Hurt and confused, Norah reacts in kind. Suddenly, her oldest friendship is on the rocks. An unexpected summer spent driving across the country leads both Norah and Skyler down new roads and to new discoveries. Before long, they are, once again, seeing each other in a different light. Can their friendship-turned-rivalry turn into something more?


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A sweet and swoony contemporary Young Adult novel about a cross-country family road trip that puts one girl and her childhood best friend on an unexpected road to romance! Norah hasn’t seen her childhood best friend, Skyler, in years. When he first moved away, they'd talk all the time, but lately their relationship has been reduced to liking each other’s Instagram posts. Th A sweet and swoony contemporary Young Adult novel about a cross-country family road trip that puts one girl and her childhood best friend on an unexpected road to romance! Norah hasn’t seen her childhood best friend, Skyler, in years. When he first moved away, they'd talk all the time, but lately their relationship has been reduced to liking each other’s Instagram posts. That’s why Norah can’t wait for the joint RV road trip their families have planned for the summer. But when Skyler finally arrives, he seems...like he’d rather be anywhere else. Hurt and confused, Norah reacts in kind. Suddenly, her oldest friendship is on the rocks. An unexpected summer spent driving across the country leads both Norah and Skyler down new roads and to new discoveries. Before long, they are, once again, seeing each other in a different light. Can their friendship-turned-rivalry turn into something more?

30 review for Places We've Never Been

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Kasie West knows how to create sweetest stories of lovely characters! She’s feel good YA romance whisperer! Both Norah and Skyler are so much likable characters that you can easily get attached with. Even though Skyler acts like mean douchebag at the beginning of the book, you get to give him a chance: the boy has his own reasons. Norah is so excited to family RV trip ( only mothers and children included) because finally she’s going to reunite with her best friend Skyler she hasn’t seen since th Kasie West knows how to create sweetest stories of lovely characters! She’s feel good YA romance whisperer! Both Norah and Skyler are so much likable characters that you can easily get attached with. Even though Skyler acts like mean douchebag at the beginning of the book, you get to give him a chance: the boy has his own reasons. Norah is so excited to family RV trip ( only mothers and children included) because finally she’s going to reunite with her best friend Skyler she hasn’t seen since they were 13! Both mothers are happy. The siblings are excited but once upon a time: Norah’s close friends Skyler acts like he wants to be somewhere else! Yeap, the book starts with enemies to lovers trope! What happened to Norah’ s bestie! Why he acts like she has contagious disease, staying away from her, giving curt answers to each questions. It’s normal to be get estranged and turn into social media friends in four years but Skyler might keep himself more than she expected! I’m not gonna give much away! There are reasonable explanation, family drama, secrets to come out! It was easy to read, sweet, soft, a little sad story! I wish it would end a little differently but I still enjoyed it as like the other books the author has written. I’m rounding up 3.5 stars to 4 enemies to lovers, friends to lovers are best tropes I enjoyed to read stars! Special thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children’s / Delacorte Press for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  2. 4 out of 5

    ✧ Emily ✧

    GUYS WE HAVE A COVER, A TITLE, AND A PREMISE!! I DON'T THINK I'VE EVER BEEN MORE EXCITED FOR SOMETHING!! Update 6/2/22: Well that was pure enjoyment :D Rtc! GUYS WE HAVE A COVER, A TITLE, AND A PREMISE!! I DON'T THINK I'VE EVER BEEN MORE EXCITED FOR SOMETHING!! Update 6/2/22: Well that was pure enjoyment :D Rtc!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy. Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    ☀︎El In Oz☀︎

    No one does YA contemporaries like Kasie West!

  5. 5 out of 5

    booksandzoe

    that was so cute god bles. 4.5ish

  6. 5 out of 5

    cor.reads ✿

    that was short and cute

  7. 4 out of 5

    Diya

    2.75 stars i might have grown out of the kasie west phase

  8. 4 out of 5

    I'm All Booked Up YA

    Norah Simons and Skyler Hutton were best friends. But when Skyler and his family moved from California to Ohio, Noah and Skyler lost touch. Four years later, their moms sprung a road trip on them. The Simons and Huttons are spending a few weeks in two RVs going around the western United States. Norah couldn’t be happier to reconnect with her former bestie! She has images of playing video games and goofing around together. But when she sees Skyler in her front yard, he makes it clear he’d rather b Norah Simons and Skyler Hutton were best friends. But when Skyler and his family moved from California to Ohio, Noah and Skyler lost touch. Four years later, their moms sprung a road trip on them. The Simons and Huttons are spending a few weeks in two RVs going around the western United States. Norah couldn’t be happier to reconnect with her former bestie! She has images of playing video games and goofing around together. But when she sees Skyler in her front yard, he makes it clear he’d rather be anywhere else. What makes it even worse: their older brothers Ezra and Austin act like no time has passed. At least Skyler’s younger sister Paisley wants to hangout with Norah. It makes the long trip slightly more bearable. But with weeks spent on the road, Skyler acting like an asshole, her mother hiding something and the extreme anxiety over her college interview in Seattle, Norah is bound to have an unexpected summer. Get ready for unforgettable summer road trip! If you’re familiar with our blog, you know we read all of Kasie West’s books. Places We’ve Never Been did not disappoint. We expected a sweet slowburn romance between former friends and that’s exactly what we got. While we’re not into video games, we appreciate a female MC with career aspirations in a male dominated field. Norah loves game design, which is reflected in her art. We almost wish the drawings she did on the trip we’re included in the book. Skyler was harder to connect with at first because he seemed aloof. But as the story goes on, West does a good job of giving us more information about mystery boy and what caused him to avoid his former best friend. The misunderstanding totally made sense, so we forgave his former bad behavior. We also liked learning more about his interests and how he’s grown as a person in the past four years. Paisley was the star of the supporting characters. While there wasn’t much wrong with the brothers and the moms, they weren’t super exciting. Paisley was hilarious and a main reason Skyler and Norah started being friends again. She cut the tension with little effort and has no problem speaking her mind. The book being set during he span of the road trip had us ready for a big summer adventure. While we’re not RV people, we really love seeing the different places the characters visited, including Yosemite National Park and Seattle. We’re always up for YA books with travel as a key plot point. The trip also became the perfect way for Norah and Skyler to reconnect through different adventures, such as rafting. Even when the two were fighting, we could tell they had a spark. They’re connection only became more apparent. Skyler wasn’t our favorite Kasie West love interest, that’s Hayden Reynold, but we did find him funny and adorable. The one aspect of this book that completely surprised us was that it dealt with a more serious topic at the end. Without spoiling anything, the moms had a reason to plan a last-minute road trip. Since West’s book are usually light, we didn’t expect the problems at the end. However, it became another way for Norah and Skyler to support each other and an opportunity for all the characters come together. Ready for a cute and fun summer adventure? Pick up Places We’ve Never Been now and start planning you perfect summer getaway. Blog | Twitter | Instagram

  9. 4 out of 5

    elhyza

    Thank you to Delacorte Press for an e-arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. it's been quite a while since i've read a kasie west work, so evidently i was intrigued to see how her new one would go and if things had changed from her stories my younger self consumed. flew through this story within give or take two hours and i can say i was left wishing there was more written to the simons and hutton families' story. norah and skyler were the perfect set up to the childhood friends to l Thank you to Delacorte Press for an e-arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. it's been quite a while since i've read a kasie west work, so evidently i was intrigued to see how her new one would go and if things had changed from her stories my younger self consumed. flew through this story within give or take two hours and i can say i was left wishing there was more written to the simons and hutton families' story. norah and skyler were the perfect set up to the childhood friends to lovers along with the plus of their families being close with their mother being best friends since college yet didn't get to live up to their potential. it's definitely a personal preference but i would have preferred things to be more drawn out between those two estranged best friends with a bit more angst, but how things were resolved between them made sense on skyler's side. i do wish the characters weren't so two-dimensional, skyler was the only one not really lacking for me and even so, we didn't really get more information on how he worked past his issues on his dad. the side plot of norah being nosy into what the moms were hiding i feel like was just there to add some intrigue, and again even when that was revealed not more of the story came together with it. that being said i was honestly let down by the ending, just felt not just abrupt but lacking on that depth was needed with the bonds between the families and seeing how norah and skyler worked through things after that last chapter. like west tried tying it all together too fast for my liking. apart from all this, some aspects i did enjoy was seeing both kids of the families bond, norah and skyler's love for art, and particularly a trope between two side characters that i suspected in the beginning and was pleased to see that my suspicions were correct. so sadly this was not my favorite kasie west, disappointing since i remember enjoying some of her other works just a few years back.

  10. 4 out of 5

    The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)

    Full Review on The Candid Cover Places We’ve Never Been by Kasie West is a sweet story revolving around a summer RV trip between two families. Featuring childhood best friends who reconnect, a relatable main character, and family secrets, this book is a recipe for a heartwarming read. Fans of Kasie West will not be disappointed in her latest novel, and for the uninitiated, this is the perfect road trip book for those looking for a cute summer contemporary. After Norah’s childhood best friend move Full Review on The Candid Cover Places We’ve Never Been by Kasie West is a sweet story revolving around a summer RV trip between two families. Featuring childhood best friends who reconnect, a relatable main character, and family secrets, this book is a recipe for a heartwarming read. Fans of Kasie West will not be disappointed in her latest novel, and for the uninitiated, this is the perfect road trip book for those looking for a cute summer contemporary. After Norah’s childhood best friend moved away, the connection between the two weakened, so when their moms plan a summer RV trip between both families, she is excited to reunite with him. However, when Skyler finally arrives, Norah is shocked to learn that he is nothing like his old self and goes out of his way to ignore her. Their relationship may be rocky, but as Skyler and Norah are forced to spend time together in an RV, they become more comfortable with each other and realize that there is potential for them to be friends again, and even something more. ❀ LIKEABLE MAIN CHARACTER Norah is a likeable main character, and I enjoyed accompanying her on this road trip. I really felt for her as she feels the need to be the filtered version of herself around the one person she used to be so open with, and I was glad to see her slowly start to rekindle that friendship. What I especially enjoy about Norah–and all of Kasie West’s characters–is how realistic she is. She’s an artist and a gamer preparing for a university interview, and she has the perfect amount of awkwardness. I always appreciate when YA characters actually act their age and make mistakes, so I was happy to see Norah still learning so much about herself. ❀ FOCUS ON FAMILY AND FRIENDSHIP One of my favourite aspects of this book is the focus on family and friendship. Beyond Norah rebuilding her relationship with Skyler, the story also emphasizes the friendship between their moms and the closeness between both families. Kasie West has done an excellent job capturing the fun and the teasing energy within this group, especially between siblings. While the family secrets and the real reason behind the trip were a little predictable for me, I also enjoyed this bit of intrigue. ❀ A SWEET CONTEMPORARY Places We’ve Never Been by Kasie West is a sweet contemporary about a cross-country road trip. I loved the concept of an RV trip between two families, and the main character is realistic. The story’s emphasis on family and friendship is especially touching, making this a great read for those looking for an uplifting summer read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    I have been struggling with YA books as of late, but this book was like sunshine peeking through the storm clouds. I am a longtime fan of Kasie West’s books, and as expected, I adored this Places We’ve Never Been. It’s a road trip book! There is nothing I like more than taking a trip while I read, and I like it even more, if I have actually visited a few of the places. Though most of the destinations were new to me, I delighted in revisiting Utah. West did a great job showing me the locations, too I have been struggling with YA books as of late, but this book was like sunshine peeking through the storm clouds. I am a longtime fan of Kasie West’s books, and as expected, I adored this Places We’ve Never Been. It’s a road trip book! There is nothing I like more than taking a trip while I read, and I like it even more, if I have actually visited a few of the places. Though most of the destinations were new to me, I delighted in revisiting Utah. West did a great job showing me the locations, too. From Wyoming to Seattle, I had a most enjoyable time visiting all these places. It’s about friendship Norah and Skyler shared so many important years together. Unfortunately, time, distance, and some unsaid things, caused their friendship to fade. This was their chance to rebuild something beautiful. It was wonderful to see them mend those broken bridges and watch what was they shared grow into something new. I also loved the glimpses from their past. These two were adorable, and I could only wish to ever have a friendship such as theirs. It’s about family The motivation for this road trip was a bit sad, but I was a fan of all the family time shared. There were some really beautiful moments, as well as some rather realistic moments, and I enjoyed them all. I think the whole family grew a bit during this trip, and some important decisions were made, as well. Overall, this book delivered what I have grown to expect from West. It was the perfect combination of drama, humor, shenanigans, and romance. I loved the characters, as well as the group dynamic, and I found myself grateful for the jump-ahead epilogue (which was very necessary in my opinion). Once again, I am left with a full, warm heart and a smile on my face. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  12. 4 out of 5

    BookNightOwl

    Kasie West never seems to disappoint. If I am ever in a reading slump leave it to kasie west to get me out of it. This book is about a road trip with another family. It’s about somebody you used to know who is now a stranger. It’s sort of enemy to lovers but secrets Hidden within. I love the aspects of traveling. I enjoyed the characters. I just wanted more from the book. The ending seemed to rushed. I felt like why did we even need a secret. I think the characters could of known ahead of time a Kasie West never seems to disappoint. If I am ever in a reading slump leave it to kasie west to get me out of it. This book is about a road trip with another family. It’s about somebody you used to know who is now a stranger. It’s sort of enemy to lovers but secrets Hidden within. I love the aspects of traveling. I enjoyed the characters. I just wanted more from the book. The ending seemed to rushed. I felt like why did we even need a secret. I think the characters could of known ahead of time and talked about how to deal with it. I just want to thank Netgalley and Random house for a copy of this book for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Places We've Never Been was such a cute book to jump into. Especially after meeting Norah and Skyler. They used to be the best of friends until Skyler's family moved away. Eventually they started to talk less and less. So, it was definitely interesting to see how they would react towards one another during this vacation they were about to embark on. Long story short, feeling definitely came into play and it made my heart al I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Places We've Never Been was such a cute book to jump into. Especially after meeting Norah and Skyler. They used to be the best of friends until Skyler's family moved away. Eventually they started to talk less and less. So, it was definitely interesting to see how they would react towards one another during this vacation they were about to embark on. Long story short, feeling definitely came into play and it made my heart all warm and happy. Of course, it took a while for them to actually talk about why they drifted apart. Lots of other secrets came out to play as well. At first, I kept thinking something bad was going to happen. Which, yes, I was correct about something being wrong with a certain character. Definitely didn't a little dance for catching on but then it made me sad because I didn't like that it was actually happening. It was a bittersweet feeling and I can only hope and wish that things are going better. In the end, this was really cute and I'm glad that Norah and Skyler got a second chance with one another. I'm excited for their next journey in life: college. Definitely happy that I got my first ever Kasie West ARC and I can't wait for the next one to magically come my way.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    5 Stars ⭐️ I’m convinced Kasie West writes the cutest, most wholesome romances I’ve ever read! I’ve been reading her books for years now, and they’re all so good. I loved this one especially because of the road trip element! It was just so fun to read about all the different activities/ places Norah and Skyler went to together. I also loved the friends to enemies to lovers trope. I think it really worked for the plot of the book. All in all, I definitely recommend this one if you’re looking for a 5 Stars ⭐️ I’m convinced Kasie West writes the cutest, most wholesome romances I’ve ever read! I’ve been reading her books for years now, and they’re all so good. I loved this one especially because of the road trip element! It was just so fun to read about all the different activities/ places Norah and Skyler went to together. I also loved the friends to enemies to lovers trope. I think it really worked for the plot of the book. All in all, I definitely recommend this one if you’re looking for a sweet YA romance🥰. Read if you like: Friends to enemies to lovers Childhood best friends Road trips Friends to lovers Cute YA romances Thank you Random House Children’s / Delacorte Press, Netgally, and Kasie West for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Renae

    MUSINGS ON EMOTIONAL NEGLECT, MISOGYNY, & BAD PARENTING Once again, I find myself writing a review of a perfectly good young adult novel which has been unfortunately tainted by the utter failure of every single adult character to act like a fucking adult. No parent is perfect, nor are they expected to be so in fiction. But when a protagonist’s character arc is resonating with me very specifically due to her unaddressed emotional neglect and the rug-sweeping being committed by her parents/the aut MUSINGS ON EMOTIONAL NEGLECT, MISOGYNY, & BAD PARENTING Once again, I find myself writing a review of a perfectly good young adult novel which has been unfortunately tainted by the utter failure of every single adult character to act like a fucking adult. No parent is perfect, nor are they expected to be so in fiction. But when a protagonist’s character arc is resonating with me very specifically due to her unaddressed emotional neglect and the rug-sweeping being committed by her parents/the author…it’s probably a bad sign? I dunno. Just a thought. As always, I feel the need to disclaim that this is not a “review” of Places We’ve Never Been in its entirety, nor a full encapsulation of my thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc. of the text. (I liked this story.) Rather, the following is a commentary on very specific authorial choices made by Kasie West that I believe have unintended implications. To provide context: protagonist Norah is gong on an RV trip with her mother, her older brother, and her mother’s best friend + her three kids, one of whom is Skyler, Norah’s former best friend who she’s fallen out of touch with since he moved out of state. (No dads are invited on this vacation). The roadtrip appears to be a long-planned event to bring the two families together at last. However, it’s clear from very early on that there are Other Reasons for the trip, and that it’s actually far more of a last-minute decision than the two moms are willing to say. Additionally, a highlight of this roadtrip is Norah’s interview with the dean of admissions at her first-choice college, a small yet prestigious video game design program. More on that later. A SELF-EFFACING MAIN CHARACTER Norah is a character who many readers will identify with. Ever since she started high school, she has been made to feel that she is “too much”—too weird, too loud, too creative. So in order to maintain social relationships, to fit in, she has made herself small. She presents to the world an acceptable version of Norah and suppresses the bits of herself that trigger feelings of shame and rejection. Norah is a people pleaser, desperate to be accepted but certain that true acceptance is impossible. I want to be clear that at no point am I criticizing Norah, nor the way Kasie West handles her character. People-pleasing behavior is not a flaw, but rather a survival mechanism that many with neglectful upbringings learn in order to get their basic needs met. Simultaneously, it’s a mindset that many children who identify as (or appear to be) female are taught from a very, very young age. One of the core themes in Places We’ve Never Been is supposed to be Norah’s journey towards valuing her own uniqueness and asserting herself without fear. On a superficial level, it may appear that this narrative arc is fully developed and realized. However, I suggest that it is not. LESSONS ON EMOTIONAL NEGLECT As stated above, there is a Big Secret that is the impetus for the entire RV-roadtrip-with-former-friends. Norah accidentally learns this secret when she overhears her mom and Skyler’s mom talking. The Big Secret is something that does not concern Norah or her family, but which will directly impact Skyler and his future. The moms command Norah to not tell Skyler (her newly reconciled best friend) so that his mom can reveal the Big Secret when she feels the time is right. First of all, it is entirely inappropriate to make children your secretkeepers, particularly when it jeopardizes their relationship with their own support system. Norah’s mom and Skyler’s mom emotionally manipulate Norah into keeping life-altering information from her best friend, rather than deal with the emotional discomfort of revealing the secret “too soon.” They readily acknowledge that Skyler will be devastated when he learns Norah knew and didn’t tell him…but they don’t seem to find this to be concerning. This is bullshit. Both of these women are more concerned with their own emotional comfort than the fact that they are forcing actual children into a situation that will almost certainly rupture their newly healed friendship. Selfish, neglectful parenting. But it gets worse. This is a Kasie West novel, so of course Norah and Skyler do more than reforge their middle school friendship; they initiate a romantic relationship. It’s very cute and sweet and tender. Not knowing this is happening, Norah’s mom corners her and says “hey, I think Skyler has a crush on you, so you need to do the right thing and make sure he isn’t emotionally devasted both by the Big Secret and his confused feelings for you.” Norah subsequently spirals into thinking she’s a “bad person” for having romantic feelings for Skyler and participating in a reciprocal romantic relationship with him. The entire framing of the situation by Norah’s mom is so damaging. You are not responsible for others’ emotions. It is not Norah’s job to minimize Skyler’s crush so it doesn’t cause him pain. Skyler’s feelings are his own, and he is in charge of them. Teaching your teenage daughter to manage others’ emotions for them is just another way to teach her that she must make herself small for the comfort of other people, that she should feel shame for being her authentic self. Worse still, Norah’s mom doubles down on this horrible advice after she finds out that Norah and Skyler are in a relationship: she tells Norah that she’s disappointed in her choices and that being with Skyler under the circumstances is a “mistake.” And there’s more. Norah has her interview at her dream school. During the meeting, she’s so busy trying to project what she believes is the dean of admissions’ ideal candidate that their interactions are inauthentic and disastrous. Norah is very reasonably upset afterwards, and she has the right to expect comfort and reassurance from her mother. Instead, her mom dismisses Norah’s distress with toxic positivity and insinuates that Norah shouldn’t “sulk” about her own issues given the Big Secret looming over Skyler’s family. Yes, indeed. A mother looked at her distraught child and told her to suck it up because other people have it worse. That is emotional neglect. And all it does is push Norah back into the tiny box which delineates appropriate ways to exist in the world. Be smaller, Norah; make other people comfortable, Norah; don’t be selfish and prioritize your own feelings, Norah. Look, I’m not trying to project all of my own shit onto this book, but…this is really bad. And it is not dealt with by the text at all. Actually, West very carefully manipulates the narrative so that Norah’s mom and her bullshit don’t need to be addressed, and she does so in way that makes the character arc feel ungenuine. One character tells Norah that her mom “worries too much” and they both accept that’s just who the mother is as a person. “Worrying too much” is not synonymous with “negating your child’s right to take up space,” but okay. Sure. Then Skyler tells Norah that he knows their moms forced her to keep a Big Secret and that he understands, and he’ll be counting on her to emotionally support him whenever his mom actually reveals all. The End. Nope, not kidding! Places We’ve Never Been conveniently cuts off right when Norah should be arriving at the culmination of her inner journey. The reader never gets to see her fully comprehend that she shouldn’t have to edit herself to be worthy of love, that she deserves to feel her feelings as deeply as she wishes, and that she is not responsible for “fixing” other poeples’ pain. It’s implied in the one-year-later epilogue that she has done these things, but in no way is it actually demonstrated on the page. “FEMINISM” MEANS MORE THAN JUST INCREASED REPRESENTATION A consistent undercurrent in this book is the issue of women in the gaming industry. This is made clear both in Norah’s internal narrative, as well as the actions of other characters, including a potential love interest and the dean of admissions at her dream school. One of the more emotionally satisfying scenes comes when Norah loses her temper over the fact that the female dean of admissions is holding female applicants to a higher standard than male applicants, and she rightfully calls out the dean for that. It was a satisfying, rah-rah, girl power moment. At the same time, I believe that the brand of feminism espoused by West in Places We’ve Never Been is not particularly nuanced, nor is it capable of identifying misogyny in anything but the most extreme and obvious of cases. Norah’s mom advises her to cut off any potential romantic relationship with Skyler because it might cause damage to him. The underlying message is that his emotional needs are more important than her daughter’s. This installs a 17-year-old girl as Skyler’s emotional caretaker and indicates it is good and correct that Norah suppress all of her own desires, wants, and dreams for the hypothetical benefit of this male character. Teaching girls to emotionally neglect themselves in service of boys is misogyny. I find the conclusion to this novel troubling in several respects. The very surface level “girls can play video games and shouldn’t be held to impossible standards compared to men” message screams #GirlBoss white feminism, but the actual narrative demonstrates that simply hiring more female video game designers means nothing if they spend all their time filtering their personalities to be palatable to others. And I think that if West had be willing to confront head-on the way that Norah’s mom was contributing to the problem, rather than avoiding it, Places We’ve Never Been would be a much more satisfying story in every respect. But seriously: how dare you tell your child she’s not allowed to be disappointed over her college interview because other people have real problems? How dare you. 📌 . Blog | Review Database | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

  16. 4 out of 5

    Aly

    4.5 stars Yep, West is definitely one of my favorite contemporary authors. This was such a cute book, featuring a summer road trip, best friends reunited, and a secret that I was dying to learn about. The pacing is even and the story is easy to binge in one sitting. This was a great read going into summer! Norah and her childhood best friend Skyler haven't spoken for a couple years and she is beyond excited to reunite with him for a three week RV trip. Unfortunately, Skyler is distant and not the 4.5 stars Yep, West is definitely one of my favorite contemporary authors. This was such a cute book, featuring a summer road trip, best friends reunited, and a secret that I was dying to learn about. The pacing is even and the story is easy to binge in one sitting. This was a great read going into summer! Norah and her childhood best friend Skyler haven't spoken for a couple years and she is beyond excited to reunite with him for a three week RV trip. Unfortunately, Skyler is distant and not the kid she remembers. As the trip goes on, they begin to open up to each other and realize that they may be able to rekindle their friendship after all. I love a best friends to lovers storyline and this was well written. It happened slowly but not too much and the little moments Norah and Skyler shared were so sweet. I also liked the families interacting, especially Norah and Paisley. I was happy that Norah treated her like a friend and not an annoying little sister. A couple moments of drama felt too easily resolved and the ending came a bit too soon for me. I would have like this to be fifty pages longer so the ending wasn't as rushed. I did enjoy this though and it's another hit for me! I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All opinions are my own. Thank you to Delcorte Press and NetGalley for the copy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anniek

    This was a fun, cute summer road trip story. Overall, I had a good time with this and enjoyed myself. It just wasn't entirely for me though, mainly because while it tried to be inclusive, I feel like it missed the mark in some ways, and because the main character felt like she came straight out of a 2012 YA, which is not my favourite type of character. I also, mainly, was just wishing the setting had been fleshed out more. It's hard to dislike a road trip book and the atmosphere was fun, but I ju This was a fun, cute summer road trip story. Overall, I had a good time with this and enjoyed myself. It just wasn't entirely for me though, mainly because while it tried to be inclusive, I feel like it missed the mark in some ways, and because the main character felt like she came straight out of a 2012 YA, which is not my favourite type of character. I also, mainly, was just wishing the setting had been fleshed out more. It's hard to dislike a road trip book and the atmosphere was fun, but I just think this could have been a stronger aspect of the story. The book is largely dialogue-driven, and because of that the setting is not always as clear.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nidhi Dhaneesh

    “You could ask for anything in the world and you only asked for a million dollars?” Paisley said. “That’s why you don’t have a girlfriend.” Paisley was the absolute best in this book. “People think I’m weird. I know they do. But I’ve decided that creative people have to be. Otherwise how are they going to think about the same things differently than everyone else. Or create things that the rest of the world hasn’t already created?” So true.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chloe F

    To start off, I want to say thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book early! Okay, so randomly last night they were giving away ARCS and I saw this was on Netgalley and I had read one of Kasie West’s books before and was like let me try it out. And I’m just going to start with that this wasn’t the best but it also wasn’t the worst. I don’t know how to explain it. I think the climax was sort of anticlimactic and the ending was kind of dry. The story itself I think was don To start off, I want to say thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book early! Okay, so randomly last night they were giving away ARCS and I saw this was on Netgalley and I had read one of Kasie West’s books before and was like let me try it out. And I’m just going to start with that this wasn’t the best but it also wasn’t the worst. I don’t know how to explain it. I think the climax was sort of anticlimactic and the ending was kind of dry. The story itself I think was done okay. The best part of this was the romance. Other than that I didn’t really like much of it. The characters weren’t really memorable and I don’t think I would read this again. I really wish I liked it because I love YA romances but I just didn’t. 2/5 stars

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah {The Clever Reader}

    I loved this book so much. Growing up in UT and getting to visit places like Zions (which is my favorite and is literally in my dad's backyard these days) and Park City was a lot of fun. Yellowstone is on my bucket list and I'll hopefully get the little one's there someday. I loved the road trip setting and now all I want to do is buy or rent an RV and start drivin! Not only did I get to experience my home state but the characters were so fun. I loved the banter between them all and the stories I loved this book so much. Growing up in UT and getting to visit places like Zions (which is my favorite and is literally in my dad's backyard these days) and Park City was a lot of fun. Yellowstone is on my bucket list and I'll hopefully get the little one's there someday. I loved the road trip setting and now all I want to do is buy or rent an RV and start drivin! Not only did I get to experience my home state but the characters were so fun. I loved the banter between them all and the stories of how they were growing up. Although time had passed it felt as if they'd always been together and nothing had changed. I really enjoyed this one from start to finish and definitely recommend it!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Booksneverdie

    The queen of YA romance has done it again 😭🤌🏻 I’m normally not a fan of friends to lovers but this book was so freaking good and adorable. The whole frenemies aspect was well written and their chemistry was explicable 💓 also “I want to belong, feel like I fit somewhere. Doesn’t everyone?” hit me right in the feels 🥺🥺🥺 Full review coming soon!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sheena

    My first Kasie West can you believe? I would’ve liked this more when I was younger and I think I’ve outgrown this genre. I wanted to give it a go because of the road trip traveling aspect but it wasn’t enough to keep me engaged. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this but I couldn’t get into it. Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kiret

    Not my fav Kasie West book tbh

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brinley

    This one was so cute! The road trip setting was adorable, and it really added a ton to the experience. As someone who's been to both Zion and Seattle, I loved being able to recognize some of the iconic landmarks. As for the romance, it was even cuter. Marking this as enemies-to-lovers is misleading, and the enemies phase was teeny, but other than that, I loved it. This was a super fun read, and one I'd definitely recommend! Thanks to Netgalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest r This one was so cute! The road trip setting was adorable, and it really added a ton to the experience. As someone who's been to both Zion and Seattle, I loved being able to recognize some of the iconic landmarks. As for the romance, it was even cuter. Marking this as enemies-to-lovers is misleading, and the enemies phase was teeny, but other than that, I loved it. This was a super fun read, and one I'd definitely recommend! Thanks to Netgalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    4.5 Stars! It’s been quite some time since I’ve picked up a Kasie West novel and I’m happy to report that she didn’t disappoint. Places We’ve Never Been is a captivating Young Adult romance that is sure to steal readers’ hearts no matter their age. When we first meet up with Norah, she’s excited to embark on a road trip adventure of a lifetime. Not only will she be reunited with her best friend, but she’ll also be interviewing with her dream college. However, her excitement is dimmed when she disc 4.5 Stars! It’s been quite some time since I’ve picked up a Kasie West novel and I’m happy to report that she didn’t disappoint. Places We’ve Never Been is a captivating Young Adult romance that is sure to steal readers’ hearts no matter their age. When we first meet up with Norah, she’s excited to embark on a road trip adventure of a lifetime. Not only will she be reunited with her best friend, but she’ll also be interviewing with her dream college. However, her excitement is dimmed when she discovers that her bestie, Skyler, has changed into someone she doesn’t recognize. As their summer trip moves along will these former besties be able to mend fences and possibly see one another in a different light? There’s only one way to find out…. Places We’ve Never Been is exactly what I’ve been searching for when it comes to Young Adult reads. This story is well-written and entertaining. It deals with real-world issues and how time changes everyone and everything. I really dug the enemies to lovers vibe between Skyler and Norah. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to these two and if they’d ever find their way back to one another. If I had to make one complaint about this story is that I thought the conflicts were resolved a little too easily. I still had some things that I wanted to see play out, but sadly didn’t get to see. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely happy with how this story ends, I guess I was just left more when it came to the whole picture. Overall, Places We’ve Never Been is a wonderful and entertaining story of young love, friendships, and family. This book was filled with all of the sweet and swoon-worthy moments that I’ve come to love and enjoy from this author. And in the end, this book reminded me of just how special Young Adult books can be. *I was provided an ARC copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review*

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Kasie West always finds a way to charm me. From family bonds to friendship to road trip adventures! She brings it all to the page with huge heart. I like being in her words and worlds. Once upon a time, Norah Simons and Skyler Hutton were best friends. They shared the same hobbies and humor and well...simply put, they got each other. But at age 13, Skyler moved away and the two friends slowly fell out of contact. Their moms are forever best friends though and plan a Simons/Hutton summer getaway. Kasie West always finds a way to charm me. From family bonds to friendship to road trip adventures! She brings it all to the page with huge heart. I like being in her words and worlds. Once upon a time, Norah Simons and Skyler Hutton were best friends. They shared the same hobbies and humor and well...simply put, they got each other. But at age 13, Skyler moved away and the two friends slowly fell out of contact. Their moms are forever best friends though and plan a Simons/Hutton summer getaway. Road trip! Even though they haven’t spoken in years, Norah can’t wait to see Skyler again. Sadly, their big reunion does not go as planned. Skyler acts like spending time with Norah is the last place he wants to be. Can Norah and Skyler move past the tension and awkwardness and patch up their friendship? Or maybe they find something more on the road. I LOVE road trip tales. They feel like freedom to me. Like anything can happen! The scenery is full of new places with new sights and sounds. It’s constantly changing. Which provides endless possibilities for fun, romance, trouble, and beauty! “The journey was scenic as we were carried through canyons and by trees that seemed like they wanted to be in the river, too, with the way their roots crawled down the banks, dipping their branchy toes into the water.” This three-week camping extravaganza includes two RVs, two moms, and five teenagers with stops in Death Valley, Yellowstone, Seattle, and more. Flashbacks of Norah and Skyler’s friendship as kids are seamlessly woven into present-day activities. Driving, drawing, hiking, heat, close quarters, and fellow traveling tourists all come into play. But my favorite parts were the little moments that brought back memories, smiles, and sparks between Norah and Skyler. An old notebook from the past helps them remember their art, embarrassing moments, ticklish spots, and secrets. So many secrets! There’s plenty of ‘em floating around the RVs. A few assumptions and eavesdropping galore lead to even more secrets, snooping, and questions. Like is there a hidden reason behind the trip? Or why did the dads stay home? And why is Skyler so angry with Norah? A couple of the secrets were pretty obvious to me, but I didn’t mind in the least. I still enjoyed the ride! Some plot pieces felt unnecessary, forced, or unfinished though. Twice I was like...that’s it? That’s where we’re leaving that after all the build up? I’m trying hard not to spoil. There are plenty of lessons to be learned here, but the big emotional finish just wasn’t there on certain points. My biggest niggle though was Norah’s pouty and immature energy. She was mad at someone or something the whole vacation. Did she have any fun? Ezra, Norah’s older brother, was a hoot though! The family laughs, light teasing, and banter really balanced everything out and added the fun. I definitely felt the love and connected-ness of these two families. I liked being on vacation with this lot. The teen bus was the place to be! Ms. West has a way of infusing her stories with warmth and love and this one was no exception. Places We’ve Never Been is a quick, easy read that will bring out the smiles and wanderlust in readers of all ages. It’s sweet to see these two friends and families reconnect. I was rooting for all of them. Recommended read. **Quote taken from ARC**

  27. 4 out of 5

    Katie Prouty

    "Love is a pretty powerful thing." "It doesn't take away all of life's disappointments, but it can provide a nice place to fall." GAH!!! This was totally CUTIE!! Sweet and swoony! Readers are going to want to go on a summer long RV trip. Norah & Skyler. Fluttering in your stomach and the racing of your heart. He washes her feet!! I LOVE THEM! Skyler and Paisley's sibling dynamic is totally endearing. The conflict was PERFECT! You *think* you know what's going to happen but you don't and Norah and "Love is a pretty powerful thing." "It doesn't take away all of life's disappointments, but it can provide a nice place to fall." GAH!!! This was totally CUTIE!! Sweet and swoony! Readers are going to want to go on a summer long RV trip. Norah & Skyler. Fluttering in your stomach and the racing of your heart. He washes her feet!! I LOVE THEM! Skyler and Paisley's sibling dynamic is totally endearing. The conflict was PERFECT! You *think* you know what's going to happen but you don't and Norah and Skyler handled it SO well! Places We've Never Been is the perfect summer book! Get it on your sunny season TBR. ✨ THINGS and STUFF ✨ -childhood best friends -enemies to lovers -second chance -family dynamics -road trip -girls in gaming (Mario Kart) -sarcastic remarks -"Bighorns" -flashback memories -his thing is HUGS 🥺 -friendship bracelets -Coke freeze -#IsThisAKissingBook: young adult, 16+. "He kissed me. I kissed him back, pulling on the front of his shirt to bring him closer." Thank you Delacorte Press for an advanced copy! 🎶 Song: Canyon Moon by Harry Styles 🎶

  28. 5 out of 5

    loryn (taylor's version)

    Places We've Never Been is a summer-y, light-hearted contemporary romance about old-childhood friends, road trips, family, and love! 5 stars!! Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review This book was absolutely adorable and perfect in every way. I'm such a sucker for the "childhood friends to strangers to lovers" trope and this book did it really well! Norah and Skyler were so freaking cute, I could not stop smiling at their every interaction Places We've Never Been is a summer-y, light-hearted contemporary romance about old-childhood friends, road trips, family, and love! 5 stars!! Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review This book was absolutely adorable and perfect in every way. I'm such a sucker for the "childhood friends to strangers to lovers" trope and this book did it really well! Norah and Skyler were so freaking cute, I could not stop smiling at their every interaction and they're an amazing couple. The roadtrip environment makes me want summer to be here SO BAD, it made me feel very nostalgic of old family camping trips. I also thought this book perfectly showed sibling relationships, I was laughing so many times at how relatable it was (coming from a girl with three siblings). I really enjoyed how this book touched the topic of the underrepresentation of women in the gaming industry, specifically in video game design, as that is what the main character is going to college for! Anyways, Kasie West is one of my all-time favorite romance authors and I'm so glad I got a chance to read an early copy of this book! She did NOT disappoint with this one.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Deidra

    Kasie West is my favorite YA contemporary author. I’m alway so excited for another book! Apparently I’m into friends to lovers tropes lately because it’s been pretty common in what I read lately. Between that and the road trip with old family friends, I was so into the story very quickly. I only rated it 4 stars because I felt parts were very predictable. Sometimes that’s what we want though. Sometimes we need some light and fluffy. This is that but with some definite substance in there too. I t Kasie West is my favorite YA contemporary author. I’m alway so excited for another book! Apparently I’m into friends to lovers tropes lately because it’s been pretty common in what I read lately. Between that and the road trip with old family friends, I was so into the story very quickly. I only rated it 4 stars because I felt parts were very predictable. Sometimes that’s what we want though. Sometimes we need some light and fluffy. This is that but with some definite substance in there too. I think it hits some topics that are definitely worth talking about. If you really love a road trip story and cute YA love stories, what are you waiting for?

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Monzon

    4.5 stars Kasie West books are always so sweet and adorable with just the right amount of real-life problems mixed in to not be a downer but make the story well-rounded. Places We’ve Never Been is no different. I love that the author just jumps right into the story…no huge set up before “the good stuff,” and her way with words sucks me in every time. I now want to rent an RV and going road-tripping to a list of National Parks. The romance in this one is lighter than in some of her previous books, 4.5 stars Kasie West books are always so sweet and adorable with just the right amount of real-life problems mixed in to not be a downer but make the story well-rounded. Places We’ve Never Been is no different. I love that the author just jumps right into the story…no huge set up before “the good stuff,” and her way with words sucks me in every time. I now want to rent an RV and going road-tripping to a list of National Parks. The romance in this one is lighter than in some of her previous books, but it also works here. An enjoyable and easy read.

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