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The Possibility of Somewhere by Julia Day

The Possibility of Somewhere by Julia Day
Pub. Date: September 6, 2016
Source: e-ARC via publisher (Thank you, St. Martin’s Griffin!)
Summary: Ash Gupta has a life full of possibility. His senior year is going exactly as he’s always wanted– he’s admired by his peers, enjoying his classes and getting the kind of grades that his wealthy, immigrant parents expect. There’s only one obstacle in Ash’s path: Eden Moore—the senior most likely to become class valedictorian. How could this unpopular, sharp-tongued girl from the wrong side of the tracks stand in his way?

All Eden’s ever wanted was a way out. Her perfect GPA should be enough to guarantee her a free ride to college — and an exit from her trailer-park existence for good. The last thing she needs is a bitter rivalry with Ash, who wants a prized scholarship for his own selfish reasons. Or so she thinks. . . When Eden ends up working with Ash on a class project, she discovers that the two have more in common than either of them could have imagined. They’re both in pursuit of a dream — one that feels within reach thanks to their new connection. But what does the future hold for two passionate souls from totally different worlds?
Genre: Contemporary, YA, Romance

The moment I heard about this book I knew I wanted to read it. Two rival students who have been at war with one another for the past four years, each vying for the top spot in class…only to end up falling in love. It reminded me of Lily Anderson’s The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You, one of my favorite books of the year! It also didn’t hurt that both books are published by St. Martin’s Griffin. Unfortunately, a same publishing company and similar plots just weren’t enough and The Possibility of Somewhere missed its mark.

Throughout their high school career, Ash Gupta and Eden Moore have been at war, each one bound and determined to have the number one rank. While their GPAs might be the same, their personal lives couldn’t be more different: Ash is wealthy with parents who are both doctors, while Eden sits alone at lunch and lives in a trailer park with her slacker dad and stepmom. With a full ride scholarship on the line, Eden knows she needs to win, that it’s the only chance she has at getting out of their town and getting a college degree. With Ash’s sights also set on the scholarship – along with a few other students – Eden’s going to have to fight for it and when she finds herself falling in love with Ash, would she let her new feelings get in the way of her future?

This book had so much potential and I hate to say it was a struggle to finish (especially since I pestered and badgered the poor publicist until I managed to score a copy)! I just didn’t care about these characters and that lack of emotional investment made it difficult to keep reading. When I wasn’t rolling my eyes I was seething with rage: a new girl shows up and basically forces her way into Eden’s life, determined to be besties. Fine, great. But when she tells Eden why she wanted to get the know her… It turns out Mundy’s previously sheltered homeschool experience had a severe lack of poor kids. When she finds out Eden lives in a trailer park, well, let’s just say Mundy didn’t score any points with me after that. She essentially became friends with Eden because she was the token poor girl and Mundy wanted to ‘experience’ that.

When I wasn’t raging at Mundy, I was rolling my eyes over the romance. It could have been great – Ash’s strict Indian parents expect him to marry a nice Indian girl – but that fell flat as well. The obstacles standing in their way never felt genuine. Instead, they came across as pure dramatics, plot points to hinder make-out scenes. Even Eden’s uber racist dad felt false. He only existed to show the struggles Eden goes through to win love and his outrage over Eden wanting a college education was downright confusing.

The confusion didn’t stop with Eden’s dad. Toward the end of the novel Day through in time skips without any indication and the result was jarring. One minute Eden is at her scholarship interview in the school auditorium, the next she’s on campus ground with Ash discussing upcoming semesters. There was a random roadtrip with Mundy thrown in and its eight days boiled down to a page or so before skipping ahead. Had I been more connected to the story I probably would have gone back to reread pages, but by this point in the story I just wanted it to be over.

I’m so disappointed to say The Possibility of Somewhere didn’t live up to my expectations. From bizarre racist outbursts to baffling time skips to a lackluster romance, I had a hard time finishing this one. Its saving grace came in the form of an autistic boy Eden babysat, but even then, his scenes were few and far between. This book is Julia Day’s first contemporary romance and it certainly feels like it. The story reads like a checklist of tropes Day wanted to add: rivalry-turned-romance, parents in the way, backstabbing, family drama, roadtrip, new student, etc etc and, sadly, this just didn’t work.

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