DISCLAIMER: THE WRITE READS AND aria fiction PROVIDED ME AN E-ARC OF THE NOVEL THE meeting point BY olivia lara IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.
Summary I got from Goodreads:
What if the Lift driver who finds your cheating boyfriend’s phone holds the directions to true love?
‘Who are you and why do you have my boyfriend’s phone?’
‘He left it in my car. You must be the blonde in the red dress? I’m the Lift driver who dropped you two off earlier.’
And with these words, the life of the brunette and t-shirt wearing Maya Maas is turned upside down. Having planned to surprise her boyfriend, she finds herself single and stranded in an unknown city on her birthday.
So when the mystery driver rescues Maya with the suggestion that she cheers herself up at a nearby beach town, she jumps at the chance to get things back on track. She wasn’t expecting a personalised itinerary or the easy companionship that comes from opening up to a stranger via text, let alone the possibility it might grow into something more…
Come on this 5* journey to love, laughter and back again, perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Josie Silver and Sally Thorne.
Author’s Bio from her website:
As a child, Olivia not-so-quietly ‘observed’ (AKA bothered with countless questions) her grandfather — who worked for the biggest publishing house in Romania — edit hundreds of books. And when he wasn’t editing, he read. Everything, all the time. Just like her father, who wrote short sci-fi stories, and was set on building the largest library she’d ever seen and her mother who’s never found without a book…wherever she goes. Her love for words came naturally, and after studying marketing, communications & photography, Olivia worked as a journalist for a newspaper and news television network in Romania.
An unapologetic citizen of the world, she spent a few years in Greece, Sweden, France, before settling in sunny California with her photographer husband and young daughter, where she works in marketing and writes. Oh, and let’s not forget the ever-growing menagerie that completes the family: Pumpkin, the Maine Coon mix, three black cats and a siamese kitten.
When she’s not writing or thinking about writing, she reads (across genres), watches old movies and collects vintage books, vinyl records, and eerie paintings. She loves traveling (and can’t wait until she can do it again, safely), swimming, biking, hiking and of course, photography.
SOMEDAY IN PARIS, her debut, published by Aria Fiction/Head of Zeus in May 2020 became a B&N, Apple, Kobo and Amazon Top 100 Bestseller and was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel Awards 2021. Her second novel, THE MEETING POINT, a contemporary romcom set in Northern California, is set to be published as an e-book on September 2, 2021 and in paperback in December 2021 in the UK and March, 2022 in the US.
My Thoughts on The Meeting Point:
- It’s the kind of novel where the side-characters and the setting are more striking than the actual protagonists. I fell in love with Carmel. It sounds like a dream vacation. Cafe Azure looks like a place I can frequently visit where I can just sip good coffee and write.
- The inconsistency in Maya’s characterization puts me off. She is a wannabe-writer excited to get her big break but has never been given a chance. Spending her time observing people, writing about them, and giving them the happy ever that they may or may not deserve make her so relatable. Her martyrdom in her last relationship has made her pityful but the idea that she follows her impulse to change makes any reader root for her. However, reading the first person narration sets a very high standard particularly when the narrator-protagonist appears to be a writer. Perhaps, Maya is the kind of person who can organize her thoughts on paper but find it difficult to do so in her head.
- A conversation between Alisa and Maya makes it appear that she is a “organized” planner and she finds it difficult to suddenly change plans particularly with the Lift-Driver-Ethan Department. Staying in an abusive relationship and a dead-end job, taking a flight to Carmel in a snap of a finger to look for a total stranger and getting a job because fortunately a cafe needs one fail to sell the idea. The conflict looks forced. I must have lost a puzzle piece because these don’t fit together.
- The voices of the protagonists, who happen to be writers, sound the same. This is evident when Maya starts reading Ethan’s work. I might be nitpicking on this but Maya saying Ethan “stole her story” only for Ethan to say it in the latter chapters is tiring. Having distinct character voices would have helped make the novel better.
- It is a brilliant idea that
was poorly executedthe execution could have been better.