Where It All Lands

St. Martin’s/Wednesday. Jul. 2021. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250750044.
Gr 7 Up–When sophomore Stevie Rosenstein moves to yet another new town for her father’s job as an NFL coach, she is over having no control over her destiny. She only wants to focus on acing a band competition that may help her get into college. But when best friends Drew Mason and Shane Murphy both think they have fallen in love with her at first sight, they choose to resolve this love triangle with a twist. They flip a coin to decide who gets to ask Stevie out. This is a contemporary romance novel told through Stevie, Shane, and Drew’s perspectives, which explore what could have happened if the coin landed on heads or tails. The wealthy white high schoolers in the fictional suburban town of Millbrook, NJ find themselves drawn to music and each other through solid friendships and growing romantic feelings. Short chapters keep the pace quick, even when some events are repeated from a different perspective. The story also includes a bit of mystery, with the first chapter beginning at a funeral and foreshadowing tragic events to come. Overall, readers will enjoy the depth of the characters and their relationships. Wexler also explores how there is more to relationships than instant attraction, or as noted in the book, it’s about landing in love, not falling. Wexler also delves into absent parents, changing friendships, bullying, and self-discovery. Music references are dotted throughout the book, though these may feel dated for current readers.
VERDICT An enjoyable read, especially for fans of Nicola Yoon or romance in general. A recommended purchase for libraries.

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