Road Trip with the Enemy by Kelsie Stelting
I made two promises after my brother died: to run a charity marathon in his place and to avoid Jeremiah Dermot at all costs.
So when my car’s broken down on the side of the road while my parents are at a retreat to save their crumbling marriage, of course Jeremiah’s the one who pulls up and offers to give me a ride.
I don’t care how handsome he is when he looks at me with those adventure eyes or that any other girl would give everything to drive across the country with him. No, I’m thinking about my brother and the little boy in hospice he wanted to run this race for.
Now I have two choices: break a promise to my brother, or take a road trip with my enemy.
What was it all about
Road Trip with the Enemy by Kelsie Stelting was an emotional book, right through from beginning to the end.
I went into this story knowing there would be a protagonist dealing with the loss of her brother, but what I didn’t know was every relationship was soaked in grief.
Thankfully, the ending was a happy one, but kind of. There were tinges of grief surrounding a few characters.
On the title, it was book 10, never knew that while reading the book, as it worked as a standalone. No character from the other book made his or her way into this.
Sydney had lost her twin brother Greg to a road traffic accident in the beginning of the year when she was kissing her best friend, Jeremiah. That guilt destroyed the love that was beginning to blossom.
To fulfill her brother’s wishes she decided to run the marathon in New York, keeping this hidden from her parents. A road trip ensued with Jere once her car broke down.
After a few bubbles of sunshine and laughter and hints of forgiveness, life took another turn, then one more, and only a swift kick on the backside could make Sydney go on the right path of life.
Trigger Warnings: bucketloads of grief. I would assumed this book to have the pall of gloom surrounding it, barring for a few rays of sunshine peeking in some of the pages, where the protagonist decided to smile and live her life.
A couple of compelling facts that kept me hooked to this book was the writing. It was clearly evident the author knew how to write her emotions. Some of the lines in the book touched me deeply.
The book was barely 200 pages, so it could be finished in one sitting.
It fulfilled my expectations of a YA romance, but at the same it had the deeper nuances of pain.
I started out by caring for Sydney, as having lost two of my loved ones, I could feel her pain deep in my bones.
At one point…
I wanted to throttle Sydney – she kissed Jeremiah on New Year’s Day, and her brother died that night, so she blamed Jere for Greg’s death and Jere became her enemy in nearly the whole book. As if he had forced her brother to drink and drive.
Where was the logic in that? I knew grief had no rationale behind it.
Even after so many months and being with Jeremiah on this road trip, understanding things about herself, one call from her mother and she went back to calling Jeremiah her enemy.
I couldn’t continue caring for her anymore because she needed a kick on her butt, and I knew the book was formulaic enough for the author to deliver it to her in the last few chapters.
Jeremiah was a dreamboat in the entire book. He stood by her and lived only for her happiness even when he too had lost his best friend, Greg, and was dealing with that pain. But instead of supporting him, Sydney kept abusing him in nearly the entire book. he was the only character who shone in this for me.
There was an added character Liam who had terminal cancer and he died. See, what did I tell you?
Then the parents’ relationship broke and they walked away from each other. Why? I didn’t know the real reason. But I supposed it was because Greg died.
"Sometimes you just needed someone to help you remember who you are. When you're minutes from falling apart or so lost not even a map could help you find your way back to yourself "
Simple plotline. They loved before Greg’s death. She blamed him and walked away. They stopped speaking. She decided to run the marathon. A broken-down car and forced proximity. The two found each other. Then another twist and she called him her enemy and walked away. A stinger of a dialogue and she stood tall.
Happily ever after. However happy these two could be.
There was no character development. No reasoning for the breakdowns of relationships. In the beginning of the book, there was no explanation too. I didn’t understand who was who and what had happened other than the blurb. Left me with many unanswered questions. Who could blame me?
Death and dark clouds were the core themes of the story.
On the road trip, the places mentioned, especially the hometown of Jeremiah’s grandparents. They gave the right feel of small-town to the story and also made Jere’s love shine.
The original place of residence of the two main characters was not described well, nor was the marathon the two ran.
Fast-paced, short chapters, and repetitive thoughts made this a sprint of a read, rather than a marathon.
I longed for additional pages so that I understood the characters and their lives a bit more deeply. This felt to be a flash in the pan.
The style of writing - The Prose
I loved the author’s writing because she knew how to steep emotions into her words. The entire atmosphere revealed the pain the two of them were going through.
I found the lines compelling; some really made me feel the emotions in my soul.
How it made me feel
I liked the story and the emotions that the writing brought out.
Dear me, it had pages and pages and pages of grief, agony, deaths, survivor’s guilt, blame, becoming a martyr, broken relationships, hiding from life, darkness.
With so many things piled one on top of the other, the book never let up until the last chapter, where there was a glimmer of happiness.
I loved Jeremiah in the whole book. And I wanted to tell Sydney – It’s cool he is your enemy. Send him across to my reality. I want him.
Do I recommend this book?
Yes. I would. Just to feel how words laden with emotions felt like so close to your skin, so close that you felt them penetrating your being, one alphabet at a time.
Check out the other books available on Amazon.
I downloaded the digital version of the book from an online retail, and this is my journey down its pages, straight from the heart. STRICTLY HONEST and UNBIASED.
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