Book Review: Road to Paradise by Paulina Simons

Title:  Road to Paradise
Author: Paulina Simons
Publisher: William Morrow, Imprint of HarperCollinsPublisher
Release Date:  November 29, 2016 (Paperback Edition)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Love, passion, and friendship collide on the road trip of a lifetime in this breathtaking novel from Paullina Simons, internationally bestselling author of The Bronze Horseman and Tully.

There’s no telling where a journey will lead you…

Shelby Sloane has big plans for the summer of 1981. She’ll drive cross country in her graduation present—a classic yellow Mustang. In California, she hopes to find the mother who left her behind long ago, and then return East in time to start college. Her childhood friend Gina is desperate to reunite with her boyfriend in Bakersfield and has convinced Shelby to bring her along.

With Gina on board, Shelby’s carefully mapped-out itinerary is quickly abandoned. Soon, so is their “no hitchhikers” rule when Shelby picks up a mysterious girl named Candy Cane, who sets them all on a new and dangerous course. Streetwise beyond her years and decked out with tattoos, piercings, and spiky hair, Candy is on the run from a past darker than anything the two suburban girls have ever known. Candy draws Shelby and Gina into her terrifying world, where life as they know it is turned upside down and there is no place left to hide.

Does that cover illicit some Thelma & Louise vibe? Well, it sure does to me, and I LOVE road trips when I was younger. Guess now too, but life does take over.  Back to the book. Road to Paradise by Paulina Simons has a great cover along with a lovely title that just makes you want to jump into the book and experience all the adventures that seems to radiate from the cover and title alone. Unfortunately, it  ends there. It had a promising start, until it didn't. The dialogue was rather one dimensional and dry. Sarcasm fills the air and the overabundance of insensitivity, as well as being overtly opinionated for a book that is possibly 300 pages too long. It dragged, a little too much when no major action or revelation or redemption happens. By the last page, you wonder what just happened in the 544 pages that you skimmed through, because after page 100 and so, you had to.

I apologize if this seems harsh, but I can't seem to let go the fact that this was a big let down, possibly because I had high hopes from the cover and title. "Don't judge a book by its cover," you say. Well, that's me. I do judge whether or not I read a book by its cover. That's my number 1 criteria in choosing books to read. And not very often, does it fail me. Sadly, Road to Paradise did.

For my clean readers, this book have some choice language.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.



Paullina Simons is an internationally bestselling author whose novels include Bellagrand and The Bronze Horseman was born in Leningrad in 1963. As a child she immigrated to Queens, New York, and attended colleges in Long Island. Then she moved to England and attended Essex University, before returning to America. She lives in New York with her husband and children.

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