Published by Artifice Press on July 30th 2013
Eighteen-year-old Angeli doesn’t "fit in." She’s never been on a single date, and she lives vicariously through an online world of storytelling. With the pressures of choosing a practical future path bearing down, she needs a drastic change. Too old to run away from home, she opts instead to embark on a solo 2-month road trip. But her freedom is tempered by loneliness — and anxiety tests her resolve as she comes face-to-face with her quirky internet friends.
Aside from contracting mono and repeatedly getting herself lost, Angeli's adventure is mired by more unforeseen glitches — like being detained by Canadian authorities, and a near-death experience at the hands of an overzealous amateur wrestler. Her odyssey is complicated further when she unwittingly earns the affections of two young men. One a privileged martial artist; the other a talented techie with a colorful past.
Bewildered by the emotions they stir, Angeli spurns the idea of a doomed long-distance relationship. But she is unprepared for the determination of her hopeful suitors. In the wake of her refusal, one man will betray her, and the other will prove himself worthy of a place in her future.
Angeli sets off in search of a better understanding of herself, the world, and her place in it. What she finds is an impractical love, with the potential to restore her faith in happy endings.
A true story with an unapologetically honest outlook on life, love, faith, and adventure -- Once Upon A Road Trip is a coming-of-age memoir.
ONCE UPON A ROAD TRIP was an interesting take on memoir as the author wrote about her road trip during the summer after high school as a coming of age fictionalised account using her real life events as the plot. It made the reading experience all the more captivating as you knew it was based in fact and these characters were real.
Angeli has always felt like an outsider and like many teens has taken to the online community to connect with others like her. Cultivating those friendships she plans a road trip through America and Canada as she tries to figure out her next move, planning on staying with her online friends in the towns on her route. It was fascinating to see how that aspect of the plan played out and how deep or shallow those friendships turned out to be in person. It took me a while to settle in whilst reading this book. The writing style was interesting, there was almost a detachment to it at first and it felt a bit clinical but as I got to know the characters a bit better it considerably warmed which added to the realism of the book as it reminded me of meeting people in real life and the awkwardness as you stumble around trying to make a connection as differing personalities bond and clash.
Angeli was an interesting character, I found her to be kind but oddly abrasive at times especially in her judgements about other people. Her saving grace however was the fact that she caught herself when making those judgements and accepting her opinions weren’t always meant to be shared. Intelligent with a strong sense of faith I did connect with her by the end of the book and really felt I had a sense of who she was and why she made the choices she did.
It was interesting that most of the people she stayed with on her road trip stops were boys and their families and the interactions between her and her hosts were definitely some of my favourite parts of the story. Particularly the character of Alec whom I really felt for as he seemed typical of the people we read about in articles about online communities who seek solace with people they don’t have to interact with face to face. Having to confront his quirks and flaws in person with Angeli rather than simply logging off was fascinating to read.
There’s a strong theme of self-discovery and sticking to your principles throughout this book which I really enjoyed and I liked that Angeli didn’t compromise herself no matter how tempting the situations that arose on her travels could be. A large part of the book is taken up by stirrings of potential romance that as a reader you know will eventually evolve into marriage for the author so it was captivating to watch Angeli stumble and fall into lust and love and make the choices that would shape her future happiness. Like reading a journal from times past this book brings you back to those times of uncertainty in life and love at any age.
Uplifting and entertaining ONCE UPON A ROAD TRIP was a special insight into just how wonderful and unique life can be even when it seems like it’s just your everyday.