Lone Star by Paullina Simons, published 2015 by William Morrow.
Goodreads describes the book as "the unforgettable love story between a college-bound young woman and a traveling troubadour on his way to war—a moving, compelling novel of love lost and found set against the stunning backdrop of Eastern Europe."
My comments: A coming-of-age novel and a romance involving four high school graduates visiting cities in Latvia, Poland, and Italy.
Chloe and her boyfriend Mason and Hannah and her boyfriend Blake make plans to visit Barcelona, and are thrilled when Chloe's Eastern European grandmother Moody offers to pay for the trip, on one condition. They must visit Moody's and Chloe's relatives outside of Riga, Latvia, and travel to several former war sites in Poland, including Treblinka, before they head to Barcelona.
Plans change and the relationships between the four friends change when a traveling American Johnny join the group, offering to be their guide in Poland. Chloe and Johnny are attracted to each other, much to Blake's disgust. Blake's carefully laid out plans for the trip fall apart because of myriad train delays, incomplete traveling information, lack of proper transportation and communication, and more.
Meeting Johnny is life-changing for Chloe, as Johnny charms all of them except Blake while guiding them to the places Chloe's grandmother wanted her to visit. When plans go wrong on the trip back from Treblinka, the group later splits up.
Reeommendation: The story line is original and kept me guessing about the outcomes. The characters are convincing and realistic, though Chloe is a bit dense at times about her friends and their motivations.
The writing is engaging; each of the four teens tells a part of the story, how he/she reacts to the trip and the unexpected events that happen. There is poetry and philosophy in the writing and plot as well as pathos and teenage angst.
A five-star read with very convincing, believable, and heart-breaking characters.
This is my first book by the author and I hope to read others.
Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of this book.