Places We’ve Never Been by Kasie West
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing Date: May 31, 2022
A sweet and swoony contemporary Young Adult novel about a cross-country family road trip that puts one girl and her childhood bestfriend on an unexpected road to romance! Norah hasn’t seen her childhood best friend, Skyler, in years. When he first moved away, they’d talk all the time, but lately their relationship has been reduced to liking each other’s Instagram posts. That’s why Norah can’t wait for the joint RV road trip their families have planned for the summer. But when Skyler finally arrives, he seems…like he’d rather be anywhere else. Hurt and confused, Norah reacts in kind. Suddenly, her oldest friendship is on the rocks. An unexpected summer spent driving across the country leads both Norah and Skyler down new roads and to new discoveries. Before long, they are, once again, seeing each other in a different light. Can their friendship-turned-rivalry turn into something more?
Norah Simons and Skyler Hutton were best friends. But when Skyler and his family moved from California to Ohio, Noah and Skyler lost touch. Four years later, their moms sprung a road trip on them. The Simons and Huttons are spending a few weeks in two RVs going around the western United States.
Norah couldn’t be happier to reconnect with her former bestie! She has images of playing video games and goofing around together. But when she sees Skyler in her front yard, he makes it clear he’d rather be anywhere else. What makes it even worse: their older brothers Ezra and Austin act like no time has passed.
At least Skyler’s younger sister Paisley wants to hangout with Norah. It makes the long trip slightly more bearable. But with weeks spent on the road, Skyler acting like an asshole, her mother hiding something and the extreme anxiety over her college interview in Seattle, Norah is bound to have an unexpected summer. Get ready for unforgettable summer road trip!
If you’re familiar with our blog, you know we read all of Kasie West’s books. Places We’ve Never Been did not disappoint. We expected a sweet slowburn romance between former friends and that’s exactly what we got.
While we’re not into video games, we appreciate a female MC with career aspirations in a male dominated field. Norah loves game design, which is reflected in her art. We almost wish the drawings she did on the trip we’re included in the book.
Skyler was harder to connect with at first because he seemed aloof. But as the story goes on, West does a good job of giving us more information about mystery boy and what caused him to avoid his former best friend. The misunderstanding totally made sense, so we forgave his former bad behavior. We also liked learning more about his interests and how he’s grown as a person in the past four years.
Paisley was the star of the supporting characters. While there wasn’t much wrong with the brothers and the moms, they weren’t super exciting. Paisley was hilarious and a main reason Skyler and Norah started being friends again. She cut the tension with little effort and has no problem speaking her mind.
The book being set during he span of the road trip had us ready for a big summer adventure. While we’re not RV people, we really love seeing the different places the characters visited, including Yosemite National Park and Seattle. We’re always up for YA books with travel as a key plot point.
The trip also became the perfect way for Norah and Skyler to reconnect through different adventures, such as rafting. Even when the two were fighting, we could tell they had a spark. They’re connection only became more apparent. Skyler wasn’t our favorite Kasie West love interest, that’s Hayden Reynold, but we did find him funny and adorable.
The one aspect of this book that completely surprised us was that it dealt with a more serious topic at the end. Without spoiling anything, the moms had a reason to plan a last-minute road trip. Since West’s book are usually light, we didn’t expect the problems at the end. However, it became another way for Norah and Skyler to support each other and an opportunity for all the characters come together.
Ready for a cute and fun summer adventure? Pick up Places We’ve Never Been now and start planning you perfect summer getaway.
About the Author
Kasie West is the author of many YA novels, including The Fill-in Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You, Lucky in Love, and Listen to Your Heart. Her books have been named ALA-YALSA Quick Picks, JLG selections, and ALA-YALSA Best Books for Young Adults. When she’s not writing, she’s binge-watching television, devouring books, or burying her toes in the sand of the Central Coast. Kasie lives in Fresno, California, with her family.