One choice. One coin toss. Two outcomes.
In Jennie Wexler’s Where It All Lands, Stevie is once again the new girl, and she’s not happy about it. When she meets best friends Shane and Drew, she feels a tiny bit less like an outcast. But Shane and Drew both want to ask Stevie out. As best friends, they hate fighting. Their go to solution for solving disputes? Flip a coin. This coin flip carries more weight than any other, and Shane isn’t comfortable with it. But Drew flips the coin anyway.
This novel looks at how one moment in time can lead to various outcomes. The first two parts of the novel are divided into heads and tails, telling what happens with each potential outcome. The last third of the book is told in alternating timelines, with potentially heartbreaking outcomes.
This book pulled me in right away. It’s the kind of book you don’t want to put down, the kind that transports you to the character’s world the moment you reopen the cover. The characters are all well developed, flawed yet relatable. Each chapter is told in one of their voices; the voices are so well established if you miss a chapter heading, you still know who is speaking. They each have their own internal struggles to process while the outward battle rages, giving the reader plenty to think about.
Music is a character unto itself, with all three main characters not only being musically inclined but processing the world through music. Though I only have a very basic and rudimentary grasp on the music world, it’s explained in such a relatable way that I innately understood the importance of it to the characters and how they used it to understand their own lives.
This is an iceberg book; one where the plot seems simple: two boys like a girl, conflict ensues. But there’s much more below the surface, that you only see by diving in. Grief, loss, friendship, parental strife, bullies, parental disappointment- these are all issues that arise in their lives while they’re also dealing with social contention and navigating school and life. These characters have to learn to see the world in a non-ego-centric way, to recognize things are rarely one sided.
One coin flip. Two outcomes. Where will it all lead?
Jennie Wexler’s Where It All Lands will be available from St. Martin’s Press July 6, 2021.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advanced copy of this novel such that I could write this review. All views are my own.
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