Stevie Rosenstein has never made a true friend. Never fallen in love. Moved from city to city by her father’s unrelenting job, it’s too hard to care for someone. Trust in anything. The pain of leaving always hurts too much. But she’ll soon learn to trust, to love.
Drew and Shane have been best friends through everything. The painful death of Shane’s dad. The bitter separation of Drew’s parents. Through sleepaway camps and family heartache, basketball games and immeasurable loss, they’ve always been there for each other.
When Stevie meets Drew and Shane, life should go on as normal.
But a simple coin toss alters the course of their year in profound and unexpected ways.
Told in dual timelines, debut author Jennie Wexler delivers a heartbreaking and hopeful novel about missed opportunities, second chances, and all the paths that lead us to where we are.
The story, told in dual timelines, follows two best friends and musicians, Drew and Shane, who make all their decisions by flipping a coin. When a new girl named Stevie shows up at school (also a musical prodigy), they both want to ask her out. So they decide who will pursue Stevie romantically and who will step aside by doing what they always do to make a decision: tossing a coin. What’s interesting about this story, however, is that the first part of the book shows us the result if Drew wins, and the second part portrays the result if Shane wins the toss and how differently the events play out in each situation. The first and second halves are not at all repetitive as the events in the timeline don’t occur the same way the second time around.
The story illustrated how one small decision can change the trajectory of our entire lives and how such a decision branches off into many other ones, thus altering our life in unforeseeable ways. In this way, I found the story to be exceptionally thought-provoking. It causes us to wonder how much of what happens to us is really left to chance and how much is the result of a past decision. I thought it also illustrated how we often can’t really predict or even control the incidents in our lives.
What this really brought home for me is the importance of the choices that we make — and well as those we don’t make — and how those choices affect others in our life. It’s the kind of story that leaves the reader questioning at the end (but in a good way).
Where It All Lands is an exceptionally compelling read that’s not only gripping but kind of heartbreaking in places (the story opens during a scene of a funeral — and we don’t find out whose funeral it is until much later in the book). Readers who go into this expecting a fluffy YA romance may be disappointed as it’s more of a sci-fi speculative story with a romantic undercurrent.
Additionally, there are many hard-hitting themes in the book, such as bullying, challenging family dynamics, parental abandonment, divorce, death, and grief. Hence, parts of the story were pretty heart-wrenching. And though there is undoubtedly a romance aspect to the story, I feel that at its core, the theme of friendship is at the forefront of the narrative.
All in all, I found Where It All Lands to be a riveting coming-of-age journey about the “what-ifs” in our life and feel that it’s well worth the read.
A huge thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy of this book.