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The Land of 10,000 Madonnas

3.07  ·  Rating details ·  584 ratings  ·  120 reviews
Five teens backpack through Europe to fulfill the mysterious dying wish of their friend.

Jesse lives with his history professor dad in a house covered with postcards of images of the Madonna from all over the world. They’re gotten used to this life: two motherless dudes living among thousands of Madonnas. But Jesse has a heart condition that will ultimately cut his life tra
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published April 19th 2016 by Knopf
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Airelynn Trask There is a mere mention of a past relationship that comes up but romance is not one of the main topics.

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Average rating 3.07  · 
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 ·  584 ratings  ·  120 reviews

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Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
Feb 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: contemporary
1.5 maybe if I'm feeling generous
That was just wildly disappointing
Mar 24, 2016 marked it as did-not-finish
DNF 37%

This is such a big bummer because I was so excited for this book. The concept sounded amazing and I was more than ready for a proper summer read involving a fun Eurotrip. Sadly, the book didn't deliver on that notion. Additionally, it was also really confusing - changes in POV between a handful of characters without any warning, as well as changing from the present to flashbacks in the past. The characterisation was weird (Ben, who doesn't eat solid foods because he thinks he's allergic.
rachel ☾
Jan 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
This was one of my most highly anticipated releases of last year, and I am simply crushed to say that I did not enjoy it, not even in the slightest. The synopsis promises a road trip around Europe between the girlfriend, best friend and cousins of a boy who died of a heart condition, age eighteen. If you know me, you know that I love books which explore both grief and Europe, and big casts/multiple POVs are my jam. This book sounded like it had been written for me.

However, these characters were
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
I'm not angry enough to rage. I'm just disappointed at how - well - disappointing this is. Too many points of view to actually develop the characters, who never become properly shaded in. Too much bouncing from stereotype to stereotype. The plot is cookie-cutter; I've literally read this story before. And there's lots of faux-profundity reaching at meaning by hyping a death.

This is obviously supposed to be about the journey and not about the destination, but it doesn't make it there. Or anywhere
Luke Reynolds
I've been on a DNF roll this month. I know I should probably stick to reading books, but when something's not capturing my interest, angers me, or it feels weird, I think it's best to put that book down and find something else.

The Land of 10,000 Madonnas had an interesting premise (a road trip through Europe in order to fulfill a dead cousin's wishes sounds incredibly fun, scary, and exhilarating, if you ask me), but it was bogged down by overly-descriptive writing and a self-wallowing protagoni
Jan 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: rev-on-amazon
I went into this book thinking that it would be a light contemporary about a couple of kids who were going on a journey who were all connected to one guy named Jesse. Other than that, I knew nothing about the book. Sometimes going in blind is really fun! I started the book, and thought that it was okay, so I decided to give it a little longer to prove its’ worth. It ended up getting better within the next 20 pages or so. At that point I was far enough in the book that I decided officially not to ...more
Cold Brew Reads
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-contemporary
If you're looking for a light, summery roadtrip story through Europe, you'd better look elsewhere ("Love and Gelato," "Wanderlost," specifically). But don't — please, don't — let the oddity of this story distract from its skill and beauty. What the author has accomplished is giving us six fascinating, conflicted characters, each of whom experiences a personal development that ties into those of their counterparts, amid contemplation and conversation that's truly (if darkly) funny and richly phil ...more
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
This book has such a great premise, that unfortunately just didn't connect with me. I really wanted to like this book too.

Read my FULL REVIEW here
Shannon Alexander
I liked this story in the end, although it took me a long time to get into it. I'm interested in grief journeys and this one shared many. Sometimes the switching of POV pulled me out of the story though. And I'm not sure all the arcs were necessary. But overall, I liked it. ...more
Kelly Sierra
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc, 2016
I understand what this book was trying to do, but it didn't actually accomplish that. Instead you follow a group of bickering kids around Europe and frankly I wasn't really into it.

2 stars.
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-ya
I would have given this book a 3 overall, but I really enjoyed the ending so that bumped it up to a 4 in my books! A story about grief, friendship, family, travel and love!
Natalie Diller
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
I've wanted to read this book for a while. When I opened it, it was really good. The plot made sense, I was intrigued by the characters, I liked it. But I just wasn't in my right mind so maybe I'll try to read it again some other time. ...more
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
2.5 star read

Full review here:

I was really excited when I received this book to read because the premise sounded like a great read and the cover looked amazing. The cover and blurb makes the story seem like it will be similar to Morgan Matson’s Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour or Adi Alsaid’s Let’s Get Lost, but I am sorry to report that is not the case at all. I felt very let down by this story.

This is the story of Jesse, who has died at a young age of a heart
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Jesse Serrano is just an average boy who has a liking in playing the game "Would you rather." It's notice at a young age that Jesse has a hole in his heart and does not have that long to live. He's written this journal of his thoughts and feelings and gives it to his cousin Cal. Months have past a Jesse has sadly past away. During the summer, brother and sister, Trevor and Cal get an envelope in the mail with the address of where their cousin Jesse used to live. Inside are two plane tickets to E ...more
Mar 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Grief is a well-worn path in YA, and The Land of 10,000 Madonnas travels it ably. Jesse knew that the hole in his heart would cut his life short and in a final wish, he gives a group made up of his cousins, his best friend, and his girlfriend a quest that involves a trip to Europe and a seemingly impossible task. Although they don’t all know each other, or even like each other, they must find a way to travel to Europe to fulfill Jesse’s wish and to say one more goodbye, each in their own way. Mo ...more
Katrina Marie
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review was originally posted on Bookish Things & More Review
I loved Hattemer's writing. It is gorgeous.  Her words flow together, and you get wrapped up in them, and don't realize how much time has gone by.  The way she writes emotion is amazing.  You can feel the words as you read them.

I really enjoyed the trip aspect of this book.  Going on a quest to find someone. But maybe they can find each other by the end. They experience all these things that they would have loved to experience wit
Apr 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Books are a great resource to go places we are most likely not to go. They take us across the world on an adventure with the protagonist. I’m a sucker for travel books. The Land of 10,000 Madonnas is one of those books.

Jesse Serrano dies young from a heart condition and leaves expense paid trips through Europe for his friends. The mystery to why he did this is left in clues of Jesse’s handwritten journal for everyone anthey are to take this trip to figure out Jesse’s end goal. But also to help t
Dec 23, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Rounded down because the more I think about it, the less it deserves 4 stars.

I still don't know how I feel about this book. Which is making it rather difficult to write a review about this. So, once again, two brief lists:

- the settings. I love road trip books, and going through Europe instead of driving through America was a nice change.
- the characters. I'm not sure I actually liked the characters in and of themselves, but they were all so different.
- the quotes. I al
Jul 22, 2015 rated it liked it
I was drawn to The Land of 10,000 Madonnas by the cover and the European trip aspect, I wasn’t expecting such beautiful writing. Kate Hattemer certainly has a way with words.

The Land of 10,000 Madonnas is told from alternating points of view. All the characters were very unique. They all had their own set of problems to deal with. They were a tiny bit infuriating at times. I’m not usually a fan of alternating perspectives but it works in this book. I didn’t feel a ton of connection with the char
This book wasn't what I expected and that kind of disappointed me. I was really excited to have this really awesome road trip book that showed how all the character got to heal and get a sense of closure but that wasn't what I got.
The 5 main characters of this book were sent on this trip to find Jesse's mother. It was he dying wish. He gave them not much information and it was an impossible task and all of the characters were getting caught up in this hunt that nothing was really happening.
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen
I thought the premise of this had great potential to be a perfect summer read, but it didn't meet expectations. The multiple viewpoints and short, weird flashbacks just didn't work for me. The most interesting character to me was the one that was already dead - I wish we had heard more of his story. My favorite thing ever was a made-up website called "Plagueslist" - like Craigslist, but for people with unknown diseases. Clever and hilarious and I wish we had seen more ideas like this throughout ...more
Sep 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
DNF @ page 150

I was so excited for this book but it was so disappointing, I don't even know what to rate it. Essentially, jesse is sick and dies, but before that he buys his fairness tickets to Europe with a notebook. He's that character who's deep because no one else understands his struggle. His friends go to Europe, argue literally all the time! And whenever any interesting conversation comes up, IT TURNS INTO A FLASHBACK ARH! so yeah, not enjoying it, not going to finish it.
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars

Didn't have the emotional impact I was looking for from these characters. Didn't feel like they connected with each other to give me that friendship-bond. Their adventure through Europe was boring, and they kept getting into the same conversations and arguments that didn't move the plot forward. So much felt like filler.
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Meh. Cool premise -- the potential for great characters and a really moving story, but too little about anything coupled with too much going on = an absolutely unengaging read that kind of felt like a chore.
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
I had very high hopes for this book because it checked all my favorite boxes: travel, Europe, going on a sort of scavenger hunt...and it really felt disjointed, I didn't care for the characters, the jumping from perspectives didn't help it. 1.5 stars ...more
Kelly Proulx
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
I loved the premise of this book. So much! Unfortunately the multiple narrators and jumps in time made the narrative feel very disjointed and difficult to follow. I love a book with multiple POVs, but this one almost didn't need it. ...more
Allison B.
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: need-my-own
I really liked this book, for some reason. I think it was because I could relate to the characters really well. There were so many descriptions and so many different places that the friends went to. I would definitely recommend this book.
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rating is more like 3.5 stars. I wanted to love this book, but I feel disappointed instead.
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was an interesting premise. I expected more after reading her Vigilante Poets... but I'm giving it a 2.75 anyway. My problem with this book is three fold... keep in mind... this is a YA book
1. Way too many literary references that No One but a librarian will get... leaving the feeling like a dunce. 2. Way too many multi syllable words that No One will understand.
3.The search for the mother starts out for no reason and then goes no where.
4.the Europe trip is kinda of unbelie
Oct 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: road-trip-theme, ya
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  Here at Goodreads, we've noticed that a funny thing tends to happen when we start talking about audiobooks: The same few titles get...
52 likes · 13 comments
“The future was always before you. That was kind of the point of the future.” 2 likes
“I keep saying there's no Choice, and what I've meant is that you can't choose: you have no right or ability to select one of the two alternatives. But I didn't go far enough. There's no Choice because the Choice itself is wrong. It's a false dilemma. The alternatives are not alternatives at all. Long versus short, quiet versus heroic: they're the same. In the scope of infinity, in a universe with no edge, human history is a flare and human consciousness is a blink. All lives are short and all lives are quiet.
But all lives are glorious too, Cal. To live! To live like a human! You are ordinary and extraordinary all at once. You have a heart that contracts and relaxes and beats out your moments. You are alive and you know you are alive. Your too-short time is long enough.
Long, short, humdrum, heroic: toss those considerations aside. Nothing to choose there. But we do have a choice. We do. Is consciousness a tragedy or a miracle? Does nothing matter, or does everything matter? That's the choice. That's the real choice.
And I've chosen. My cousin, my match, listen to me and tell them all. Tell Trevor and Ben and Matt and Lill. Tell my father. Tell the ten thousand Madonnas, each and every one.
I am Jesse, I have a choice, and I choose everything.”
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