Step-siblings Flynn and Amos, as well as their little sister Poppy, learn of their parents’ impending divorce. Flynn and Amos used to be great friends, but a spark between them sent them flying across the country, too scared to acknowledge what was happening between them.
During their layover at LAX, Flynn, Amos, and Poppy all decide to ditch their family vacation and run away for a short while, landing them in all sorts of trouble that will change their lives forever.
I don’t really know what I was expecting when I read this book, but I thought it had a cool cover and an interesting premise, so I requested it. But it didn’t really float my boat.
It’s not that I have a problem with the stepsibling relationship–I personally wouldn’t partake in one because there are plenty of other fish in the sea, but I’m pretty apathetic to other people’s choices–but this wasn’t actually much of a stepsibling romance like the summary implies.
I was more looking for something along the lines of full-blown romance, but I didn’t really find that here. Nor did I find a profound novel on divorce, or sibling relationships, or anything.
I’m not really sure what this book was about?
It was exciting when looking back at some of the high points–traipsing around Disneyland and touring LA and bonding with siblings, but I felt like this entire story was very stagnant and not dynamic.
It’s good to note that the authors are screenwriters and this is their debut. I feel like it would have translated a lot better into a movie rather than a book–the characters didn’t express emotion very well and it all felt like a lot of running around, doing cool things.
The plot was interesting enough, but the characters felt really flat and cliché.
Flynn is your classic case of “not like the other girls” but she wants to be until she realizes that she doesn’t want to be. It felt very clichéd and was addressed in a manner I didn’t really condone because the was it was angled made it feel like the other girls weren’t as good as Flynn.
Like, Amos mentions how Flynn isn’t like those “dumb blondes with tight dresses” and instead wears her oversized sweater with holes in them, and I just didn’t get a good feeling from how he looked at other girls and how Flynn eventually ends up looking at other girls.
This point of view towards other women and girl on girl hate isn’t something that I enjoy reading about and it really took away from the romance for me.
Amos is also very stereotypical, having “daddy problems” and struggling with his father who he hasn’t talked to because he was a drunkard. He felt very two dimensional in this aspect and I wanted more unique thought.
Poppy, however, was an interesting character and I thought she had the most potential. She’s nine and she has OCD and anxiety and struggles with how other girls look at her. I honestly think she’d make a very awesome MG or children’s book MC. I can’t really comment on the OCD/mental health rep in this book, but I don’t think it was portrayed badly.
But her voice was what really got me.
This book is told in present tense first person alternating POV, but I didn’t notice at all and I think this was a huge upside that the tense was executed so well. Amos and Flynn’s voices were fine, although they did feel a little similar to me. But Poppy’s voice was kind of weird to me. She sounded too baby-ish at times and she had a lot more interior dialogue and less external dialogue. It was like she was this third POV to the story that was added in, but she never really narrated actual events, just internal thoughts mostly.
It made her sound excessively young. In MG novels, I don’t find a huge difference in voice between the narrators. Sure, their vocabulary is less wide and there are a few differences, but it’s not like the characters act really young, and I feel this wasn’t executed well in Poppy’s part because she felt too childish for a mature nine year old.
All of the characters just felt very static to me, and I could kind of see how the authors wanted to create “change” in their characters (Flynn going to “not like other girls” and Amos resolving his “daddy problems” and both figuring out their romance and Poppy being Poppy) but it didn’t feel profound or large enough to match everything that happened.
The plot was fine and entertaining, but a lot of it felt like fluffy filler about running through LA and didn’t really correspond to the character growth.
I wish there was more substance to this whole novel. It’s a quick, fast paced book, but nothing really happens in the grand scheme of things so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re looking for a very fluffy read about people doing touristy things.
Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for providing me with a digital review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
You can preorder Layover now or buy it in store at any major bookseller on February 6th!
Have you ever read any books about divorce? What did you think?