"An evocative and compelling story of two sisters who would do anything for each other—perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Speak. Joy Preble's stirring new novel explores the lengths to which sisters go to protect each other, and the winding road that brings two strangers into each other's lives.
Sisters Leo and Paris Hollings have only ever had each other to rely on. They can't trust their mother, who hops from city to city and from guy to guy, or their gambler stepfather, who's moved them all to Las Vegas. It's just the two of them: Paris, who's always been the dreamer, and Leo, who has a real future in mind—going to Stanford, becoming a doctor, falling in love. But Leo isn't going anywhere right now, except driving around Vegas all night with her sister.
Until Paris ditches Leo at the Heartbreak Hotel Diner, where moments before they had been talking with physics student Max Sullivan. Outside, Leo finds a cryptic note from Paris—a clue. Is it some kind of game? Where is Paris, and why has she disappeared? When Leo reluctantly accepts Max's offer of help, the two find themselves following a string of clues through Vegas and beyond. But the search for the truth is not a straight line. And neither is the path to secrets Leo and Max hold inside."
YA Contemporary, Finding Paris seems to be like the typical road trip book. Awesome heroine? We have Leo. Attractive love interest? Yes, there is Max. Road trip? Yep, this one is to Los Angeles from Las Vegas. A romance? Definitely, and a delicious one actually. But this book is more like Paper Towns meets Amy and Roger's Epic Detour.
The only perspective in this book, Leo has some secrets to hide, a mask of courage to wear, and pain to forget and escape from. Trying to get far away from her home, she studies hard for the SAT to get a much better score. She gets a major detour when Paris, her beloved sister who Leo will always look after and watch, disappears and leaves behind a very cryptic clue. Max Sullivan and Leo join forces to search for Paris. On the journey, Leo rediscovers herself and questions everything she knows about Paris.
Max, who Leo just met at a diner, is the keeper of many secrets, including some involving Leo and her sister. Though he seems to be friendly and open, he has ulterior motives and much more layers. He is smart, but he is also weighed down by said secrets. He is passionate, and he is a full character. Max and Leo share great chemistry with each other.
The mystery of Paris is not without clues and a villain. The villain is a rather frightening character. He/she isn't straightforwardly evil (say Lord Voldemort) but much more complex and subtle. There are so many people out there in the world like him/her. The villain has an ignorant accomplice, who is represents sheer ignorance. It is a fascinating case, and Joy Preble is adept at creating a realistic and puzzling situation for the heroines and hero.
Some random thoughts: The plot is great, and it moves quickly without stalling or faltering. There is little time for readers to rest their eyes. The writing style makes readers enjoy the book more. Despite Leo knowing great amounts of SAT vocabulary words (as one would presume so, because she is retaking the SATs for a higher score to get into Stanford University), the descriptions are short and understandable.
In conclusion, Finding Paris is a story of two sisters who will do anything to protect each other. Spinning secrets, lies, truth, and deceit, Joy Preble creates a well-balanced and daring novel of good and evil.
Rating: Four out of Five