No Place Like Here

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

This was such a cute book! I rather enjoyed it. 

*thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me this free ebook in exchange for an honest review*
Was this review helpful?
I would like to preface this review by saying that I love that this is a pseudo Hansel and Gretel re-telling. That being said, let's dive right in. While this a modern twist on the story you may know, it transcends what you might expect. While I never really understood Hansel and Gretel's parents in the original, June brings new life to these figures - allowing us a fascinating look both at Ashlyn's mother and also the relationship with her father. There are times we stand by and say nothing, afraid of rocking the gentle balance we've come to know, and when expectations pile up. 

While Ashlyn's story in No Place Like Here is very much one of self-discovery, finding one's strengths, and becoming in touch with speaking our feelings, I couldn't help becoming charmed with June's exploration of family. Ashlyn's mother checks into a clinic for her depression, while her dad is also in jail for tax evasion and this distance forces Ashlyn to look at all the spaces in between them. The heaps of expectations, stunned silences, and ways in which the family danced around each other.
Was this review helpful?
This was an excellent read, worthy of attention. Entertaining and poignant, I couldn't put it down. I will be reccomending this book!
Was this review helpful?
I thought this would be more of a YA survival/Hansel Gretel retelling but it is more like coming of age. It was okay but wasn't too interesting for me
Was this review helpful?
Although this book was my introduction to Christina June, I recommend starting with her debut novel "It Started With Goodbye" since there are some reoccurring characters. I love a good summer camp story and this book was unique in that the camp where protagonist Ashlyn is employed a retreat center serving people of all ages. The novel was inspired by "Hansel and Gretel", but the fairytale aspects were so subtle I probably would have missed it if I hadn't known that this novel was a retelling. (Although there were quite a few references to gingerbread houses, considering the novel took place in the summer.) 

The end of the novel dragged for me. The lessons Ashlyn and her family learned could have been more subtle. I was surprised that so much closure was provided for the family dynamics plot while the camp manager plot never felt fully resolved. This novel was definitely geared for younger young adult readers. I also think I'm too old for that fluffy, hereto romance plot line common in some contemporary young adult novels. Overall, I am giving this book 2.5 stars.
Was this review helpful?
I was fortunate enough to receive this e-arc and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the story. Slow at first and I had a hard time getting into it, but it ended up being an enjoyable read.
Was this review helpful?
This was a great YA summer camp story from the perspective of a wealthy teenager forced to take a summer job at camp. Ashlyn is juggling a lot while going straight from boarding school to a summer job she didn't ask for. She struggles with speaking up to her parents about how she feels, coming to terms with her parents' own shortcomings and fighting off the boys at camp. 
This is a quick and fun camp story dealing with family issues such as depression and incarceration. 
Thank you to NetGalley and Blink for this ARC, my opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Another well-written YA novel by June.  One parent with depression and the other in prison provide the background to Ash's summer working at an adventure camp.  There's so much to like here:  a hint of romance waiting to be fulfilled, a broken family that chooses not to disintegrate but to do the hard work of recovery, and teen snarkiness without crudeness.  Occasionally didactic as characters deal with their issues, this is still a great summer beach read.  I do hope there's a sequel. I want more time with Ash and her friends and family.  Recommended for ages 12 up.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher of this book for the free copy.
This book was a sweet contemporary read.  It was clean and it had a good message.
Was this review helpful?
{Thank you to Blink and Netgalley for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.}

Ashlyn hasn’t always had a squeaky clean track record. The daughter of a wealthy businessman, she has a bit of the typical “rich girl rebel” streak happening. She landed herself in boarding school a year ago after an arrest and is currently on her way home for a grateful reunion with her best friend.

Her summer plans are hijacked, though, within minutes of walking through the door of her house. Her father is taking his own turn in lock up, his for some pretty serious white collar crime, and her mom is headed to rehab for “exhaustion” (which everyone knows is actually depression).

Well, not quite the perfect start Ashlyn was looking for, this summer but it all crumbles further when her parents inform her that she will be headed to work with her cousin at a wilderness retreat while they are off taking care of their adult lives. 

Ashlyn packs up, wading through the wreckage and misery of what her perfect summer plans have boiled down to.

But of course, there is an unending soul-searching element to living in the woods among strangers for several months. And along the way, she finds not just a few new friends and adventures but herself as well. 

This story wraps teenage angst and adult chaos in the gentle fabric of heartbreak and new beginnings. It works through regret and forgiveness, taking the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions. The writing is clean and crisp, letting Ashlyn’s inner voice ring true, even when she is at her worst.
Was this review helpful?
When I started this story, I never expected it to move so quickly. Christina June has a way with words and Ashlyn's story flew by for me. Between the drama of her family and the staff at camp, I could see this novel play out in my mind like a movie. There were times my cheeks hurt from smiling, and others when my heart hurt from the tough situations which Ashlyn encountered. Overall, a great contemporary story which I would highly recommend
Was this review helpful?
I've always wondered how people can get so attached to a book. While I've had many moments of happiness with some titles, it wasn't until this book that I really felt the story touch my soul (it sounds like I'm exaggerating but legit I cried throughout this whole book, which I read in one sitting). This book is very tragic, hopeful, beautiful, and full of so much growth and love for all of our characters that it just inspires me. It's a very relatable story and definitely one I recommend for mental health awareness and as a story with tidbits of wisdom for anyone who feels lost or alone.
Was this review helpful?
Where was this book when my daughter was little? I would have gladly designed a garden like this for her! I was fortunate to have been brought up in a relatively rural area with all of nature in my backyard; woods, fields, ponds, streams... every child should be so lucky. For those who aren't, but have a yard, this book will help you create a wonderful outdoor play area for your child(ren)! Great idea for small or large yards. Would make a great gift for new parents!
Was this review helpful?
*3.5. This novel surprised me. I wasn’t expecting a lot of the elements in the book, and it shattered my expectations, to say the least.

We follow Ashlyn Zanotti, who has spent a year away at boarding school and just as she is about to return her father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother is checked into a facility for exhaustion, a.k.a depression. Her father sends her to work at a camp with a cousin she barely knows, and coupled with all the drama there her summer is about to get a lot more challenging. And Ashlyn must make a hard choice: keep quiet and follow her dad’s orders like she always has, or find the courage to stand up to him and find her way back home.

It’s hard to use normal adjectives to describe this book when I’ve never read anything like this. About halfway through the book I suspected there might be a love triangle, but at the end my suspicions were proven wrong and there was no romance at all, which was a little confusing but I really liked it.

This goes really well with my next point, which is that the book focused on platonic relationships. It focused a lot of familial relationships, but it was also about Ashlyn getting out of her comfort zone and doing things she hadn’t been allowed to before.

I also really liked the quotes aspect. Ashlyn really likes inspirational sayings, so they are sprinkled throughout the book and they each have uplifting messages that relate to the situation.

Overall, this was a cute and fun contemporary. I’ve been reading a lot of different contemporaries lately and this one is no different.
Was this review helpful?
This was my first book by Christina June and I loved it. The character development of Ashlyn was handled in an honest and relatable way. I loved reading her story and seeing her transform and grow before my eyes. Ash went from a meek girl to a brave young woman. Her journey also had some great secondary characters along the way, mostly Hannah (her cousin) and Baxter. They both lifted Ash up when she needed it and bolstered her confidence along the way. 

The way in which Christina handled the mental abuse from Ash's father was done in a respectful way. I like how it was weaved into the story and how both Ash and her mother learned the tools they needed to empower themselves.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley for access to an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

I love a fairytale retelling and No Place Like Here is a fantastic modern reimagining of Hansel and Gretel. The author, Christina June, does a wonderful job creating relatable characters with a strong story that draws the reader in. 

The main character, Ashlyn Zanotti, shows tremendous growth throughout the book, which was a real highlight for me. June is an extremely talented writer and I am excited to read more of her work!

Heads Up: The book does cover serious topics, such as mental health (depression) and a parent in prison.
Was this review helpful?
No Place Like Here is a quick read with a lot of heart.  Christina June does a beautiful job of drawing the reader into the story from the outset.  Ashlyn is introduced to the audience, but her life is almost immediately upended by her father’s mistakes and her mother’s illness. This sudden change creates a very fast emotional investment for the reader.

I could 100% see myself as a teenager loving and immediately identifying with Ashlyn.  Christina June odes a wonderful job of creating not only believable teenage voices, which can sometimes come off as corny or clichéd; but, also, giving those characters accessible feelings.

The description was a little misleading for me, because I didn’t get much of a Hansel and Gretel retelling vibe.  There is no mythical or magical element to this story.  This is a true to life, coming of age story about a teenage girl finding friendship while finding herself.  There is no witch.  There is no oven.  There is no brother.  You have to really look for the similarities to the classic tale, so don’t go in expecting Wicked.

While this book is part of a series, I didn’t read the first two.  I don’t really think it’s necessary, as they appear to be standalone books with a common theme.  After reading No Place Like Here, I will definitely be checking 1 & 2 out ASAP.

What’s Missing...
This is a new feature for me that I am trying out., so let me know what you think.  Essentially, if a book doesn’t reach 5 stars, I like to give a little explanation as to why.  In this book, I felt like there needed to be more.  It was almost as if there was some depth missing from the story that prevented it from vaulting into the amazing 5 Eiffel Tower (or stars to all other people) territory. 

No Place Like Here could honestly have been a longer book.  I felt like the climax happened too quickly (stop giggling), and the problems developed and were dealt with without much fuss.  I just wanted more.

* Special thanks to Christina June, Blink Publishing, and TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of No Place Like Here in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book after reading on a different review that there's not a big focus on romance. The author dealt so well with the themes and I was captivated as I read about Ashlyn's journey that was at times difficult, uncomfortable, healing, and empowering. I appreciated being able to see the family dynamics that brought Ashlyn to the point she is at mentally at the beginning of the book, flaws and all. Family secrets are revealed and she is instantly and unwillingly thrust onto a path of discovery- more about her parents, extended family,  and also about herself. The cast of characters that support her and those that she interacts with in a more negative way were brought to life and rounded out the story well. I especially liked seeing her relationship develop with her cousin and the quiet zipline instructor who makes a wonderful friend. A lovely story of becoming self-aware and choosing to be strong in the circumstances we are given.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions expressed in this review are my own)
Was this review helpful?
I received this as an ARC from NetGalley. Even with the serious topics of one parent in prison and another at a mental health facility No
Place Like Here is a solid feel good YA book. The main character is facing some fish-out-of-water problems as she works at outdoorsy camp. She has the typical teen new job struggles with a co-worker/cousin who is dubious of her, an incompetent boss and finding/navigating love interest(s).  The reader follows Ashlyn as she moves through the summer trying to deal with her concerns about her parents and her future and questioning if it’s time to break free of her father’s control in his absence. 
For me, the struggles that Ashlyn faced might have been a little too low-stakes and easily solved. I prefer a little more tension and grittiness in my reads and this came across a little too sweet for me. But someone that needs a break between heavier subject matter may enjoy the setting of a summer camp and Ashlyn’s straight-forward problems.
Was this review helpful?
Coming home after being exiled to boarding school, Ashlyn is again abandoned. Her father is going to prison for tax evasion while her mother checks herself in to rehab for exhaustion. Recent events send Ashlyn to take a summer job at a team-building retreat in the middle of nowhere with her estranged cousin. 

No Place Like Here offers a story filled with themes surrounding friendship, putting yourself first, and the importance of mental health treatment.

While the plot fell a little flat with the mystery of Deb not being completely unfolded, I thought No Place Like Here had interesting characters and carried beautifully relatable messages.

I really enjoyed this book, and the occasional breadcrumbs leading to the story of Hansel and Gretel. What I thoroughly appreciated was that June diminished the stigma surrounding mental illness with one fell swoop. 

"I didn't think there was any way to get through the summer without telling someone, anyone, the truth. And it might as well be the one person I was related to. 'My mom is in rehab. My dad's word was exhaustion...'

'Which is really just the old person's code word for depression.'


'I hate that. Let's not cover up mental health issues, you know? Your mom is a star for getting help. She shouldn't be made to feel like she's hiding something. If anything, she's strong. A fighter.'"

Even with all of my questions not being answered by the novel's end, the way June tackles mental health issues makes No Place Like Here a read worth investing yourself in. It was a perfect read to wrap up Mental Health Awareness Month!
Was this review helpful?