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Your Destination Is on the Left

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Dessa Rhodes is a modern day nomad. Her family travels in an RV, their lives defined by state lines, exit signs, and the small communal caravan they call home. Among them is Cyrus, her best friend and long-time crush, whom she knows she can never be with. When your families are perpetually linked, it’s too dangerous to take a risk on romance.

Instead, Dessa looks to the future. She wants to be a real artist and going to art school is her ticket to success and a new life. There’s just one problem: she hasn’t been accepted…anywhere. Suddenly her future is wide open, and it looks like she’s going to be stuck traveling forever.

Then an unexpected opportunity presents itself: an internship working with a local artist in Santa Fe. Dessa struggles to prove to her boss—and herself—that she belongs there, but just as she finally hits her stride, her family suffers an unexpected blow. Faced with losing everything that she has worked for, Dessa has a difficult decision to make. Will she say goodbye to her nomadic lifestyle and the boy she loves? Or will she choose to never stop moving?

304 pages, Hardcover

First published June 26, 2018

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About the author

Lauren Spieller

2 books119 followers
Lauren Spieller is a literary agent who lives in New York with her husband. When she isn’t writing, she can be found drinking lattes, pining for every dog she sees, or visiting her native California. YOUR DESTINATION IS ON THE LEFT is her debut novel. Follow her on Twitter @laurenspieller.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 160 reviews
Profile Image for Lauren.
1,020 reviews102 followers
February 24, 2018
Well it's official: I have a new favorite 2018 debut and its none other than Lauren Spieller's Your Destination Is on the Left.

I never planned on reading this book in February given its June release date; however, in a moment of weakness, or as I like to call it curiosity, I read the first chapter. Before I knew it the first chapter turned into the fifth, and by the end of the night I had read it from start-to-finish in one sitting.

Do I have any regrets? No and yes.

No, because Your Destination Is on the Left is seriously fantastic! Read-in-one-sitting-I-can't-stop-won't-stop fantastic. It's about growing up, letting go, being brave, and standing up for yourself. I loved the art world. I loved the setting. And I especially loved the characters!

Yes, because now I'm going through good-book-withdrawl, wishing it could have gone on and on forever, because what am I possibly going to do now? Especially when Lauren's next book isn't due out until FALL 2019. Cue the sobs.

Until then I guess I'll have to make do with raving about this book non-stop. Therefore, to give you a feel of why you should read Your Destination Is on the Left, here's a list of the top six reasons!

1) Dessa:

When Dessa is first introduced, she's craving routine and normalcy. She loves her parents and she's enjoyed their traveler lifestyle, but now she wants to settle down, preferably at a nice college with an art program. Dessa is this wonderful mix of determined and frightened. She knows what she wants - an art degree & her work to be featured and maybe even admired - and she's determined to achieve her goals, no matter how many walls she has to break down or hard decisions she may need to make. At the same time, however, she's terrified, shaking-in-her-boots-don't-know-what-to-do terrified, because after a series of rejection letters, her dreams suddenly seem out of reach. She's nervous - is she cut out to be an artist? Are these programs seeing something she's not seeing? She's suddenly vulnerable and at an unexpected crossroad. All of this is what made her story more believable, more realistic, because who hasn't experienced a setback, a moment of weakness where you wonder if you're cut out to do what you want. I could relate and I'm sure others will as well. It also didn't hurt that Dessa has spunk. She's funny; she's the perfect amount of reckless; and she's passionate. Lauren did such a great job of capturing Dessa's voice, and more importantly, giving a voice to any teenager who's not known what to do next.

2) The Other Characters -

Cyrus, Dessa's grandmother as well as her dad, Taryn.... I loved them all! Taryn was definitely a surprise. When she was first introduced, I never expected her to play as big of a role as she ended up playing. It was great to see the friendship develop between her and Dessa, and I especially liked when she'd call Dessa out on being ridiculous. I will say, though, Dessa's mom drove me insane! I couldn't stand the woman. I know she thought her intuitions were good, but goodness, they just seemed so incredibly selfish to me.

3) The art -

I've never been that into art; however, I loved reading about it here. It was interesting to see the inner-workings of the art world - the gallery openings, the preparation, the good days, and the bad days. I also enjoyed getting a look into to Dessa's work (I wish her paintings were real!).

4) The romance -

It wasn't a huge part of the book; however, when it did take front-and-center stage it was so incredibly well done. I always love a good friends-to-lovers romance, and it didn't hurt that I loved Cyrus. He was swoony and adorable. I wasn't even that mad when he made some ridiculous choices. Additionally, I adored Dessa and Cyrus together. They meshed together so well it felt like they had been together for years, but I also appreciated that everything wasn't always perfect - they had spats, mixed signals, and goals that conflicted. Sometimes I feared it wouldn't work, but I still held out hope.

5) Growing up, making mistakes, and learning -

As hinted to above so much of Your Destination Is on the Left focuses on growing up and leaving the "nest." Stories like this are what make me love contemporary, stories that are more character driven that plot driven, that focus on the beautiful and cruel parts of growing up, that take something so ordinary and make it so extraordinary (i.e. the traveler aspect here).

6) The writing

One word: gorgeous! I can't believe this is Lauren's first book that's how good it is.

Overall, Your Destination Is on the Left is yet another fantastic 2018 debut! Heartwarming, beautifully written, and empowering, Your Destination Is on the Left will humor, excite, inspire, dazzle and anger you...maybe even all five at the same time.

*ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 19 books2,393 followers
February 16, 2018
I liked this so much that I said so officially!

“Dessa and her story sparkle with fierce, creative passion. This is a journey I would happily take over and over again.” —Dahlia Adler, author of Just Visiting

I really think this is a book fans of Just Visiting would really enjoy. It's full of art and travel and a girl gently but fiercely fighting for her independence against everything and everyone she knows. And as you can see, I read it pretty damn quickly, too! (Which used to be a given for me, but not so much these days...)
Profile Image for cor.
256 reviews56 followers
July 20, 2022
it was very similar to places we’ve never been, yet i still liked the art aspect of this book.

dessa and cyrus were cute but complicated, on two separate paths in life. and yet i did like how the book ended, it felt right.
Profile Image for Shealea.
441 reviews1,200 followers
October 1, 2020
Dessa Rhodes, a meticulous perfectionist craving for normalcy, stability, and independence, was easily a protagonist I could not only relate to, but also actively root for right from the get-go. Her character was a wonderfully delightful mix of determined and frightened.

The plot itself wasn’t very complex, which is not a significant issue because this novel was heavily steered by its characters rather than by its plot. I thought it was a fitting approach because in doing so, Your Destination Is on the Left thoughtfully dealt with the fear of failure, the fear of disappointing the people who mean the most to you, and the courage it takes to choose yourself. There was a lot of internal conflict on Dessa’s part, and honestly, towards the end of the story, I was quite literally moved to tears. No exaggerations there.

Lauren Spieller’s writing style was purposive and wonderfully superb with breathtaking imagery, which definitely suited the heavy inclusion of art both in Dessa’s life and in the actual narrative. I really loved all the concepts behind the artworks!

There are really so many good things to say about this gorgeous debut. The story carefully treaded nuanced notions of identity, family and relationships, compromise, and sacrifice. In spite of the storyline’s simplicity, Your Destination Is on the Left was a much-needed refreshing read that still managed to offer tiny surprises along the way. I enjoyed picking up clues and little Easter eggs as I read. The ending was not quite what I expected, but I was stunned and in awe. I could not imagine a more perfect resolution.

In summary, this is not a novel about finding yourself; rather, Your Destination Is on the Left is a brilliantly poignant, remarkably introspective journey about finding the courage and strength to pursue who you are and who you want to become. Reading Dessa’s story left my heart brimming with hope and empowerment, and honestly speaking, we need more books that inspire readers to choose themselves.

Disclosure: I received a digital ARC of Your Destination Is on the Left as part of my participation in a blog tour. This neither affects my opinion nor the content of my review. Thank you very much to the blog tour organizers (The Fantastic Flying Book Club) and the publisher for the opportunity!

🌻🍃 More bookish content on Shut up, Shealea 🍃🌻
Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,144 reviews1,009 followers
July 1, 2018
Probably around 3.5*?

So this was quite cute! While I wasn't exactly blown away with novelty, it was certainly enjoyable enough. I am a sucker for a road trip, and I loved how much Dessa was able explore not only her relationships with others, but what she wanted out of life too.

There's a huge focus on family, which is nice, and it definitely is an interesting look into a more nomadic lifestyle than most of us are used to. Honestly, I cannot imagine living with my entire family in an RV now, certainly let alone as a teenager aching for privacy. It's a fun angle.

And sure, there's some romance (though I didn't totally love it? Nor did I hate it, so there's that), and a really unexpected friendship. And a nice mentor-mentee situation, which I think is a great thing to show to young people.

Overall, a pretty solid contemporary. Not mind-blowing, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Blog tour stuff can be found here!
Profile Image for Fanna.
992 reviews502 followers
December 29, 2018
ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS! You need to pick it up right now...like, right away.

The entire idea of the story to bring an artist's fear or happiness in the limelight connects so much to me, it's hard not to relate. Dessa is a teenager who wants her life to be normal, not something most teenagers want but when you're always on the road and your family are nomads, this is exactly what you want. Especially when you want to become an artist and you want to enter college and you even land an internship under an inspirational artist.

This book is a perfect mixture of characters and plot because it doesn't let one of them overshadow the other. While I loved the overall story, I even fell in love with Dessa and wanted her to achieve all the happiness in the world right from the start. The best aspect of this book is definitely the emotional tinge that each and every scene has; it makes you feel and there's no way you can escape the immense happiness or the tears that follow.

The writing is simple yet gravitating and not only hooks me to the story but also tugs at my heartstrings. Last but not the least, the main idea of this book, i.e., living your own life or living it for the ones you love, is so well interwined with the young adult demographic that it proves to be an important read for the teenagers. The dilemma Dessa faces is not easy yet she takes the necessary steps for her happiness while trying to consider her family's happiness, and this complexity of both, the situation and the character, wins my heart.

I received a digital copy of this via Netgalley but that, in no way, influences my rating and/or review of this. Thank you Lauren Spieller and Simon & Schuster!


Five Books I Read in 2018 That I Didn't Expect To Love But They Now Hold My Heart.

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Profile Image for Brian .
78 reviews7 followers
July 3, 2018
Full of heart, art, and the funny specifics on what life is like when your home is an RV that you share with three other family members. Not only was YOUR DESTINATION IS ON THE LEFT an entertaining read, one that wraps you up in the characters and their journey, but it's also the type of story that speaks to larger themes. It's an important read for anyone who feels to call to create, and in doing so, is faced with rejection and failure--which Dessa, the main character in this well-written novel, must learn to overcome. (Bonus points for having a line dancing scene!)
Profile Image for Diana Urban.
Author 5 books1,188 followers
February 13, 2018
I loved this book so much, and so easily connected with Dessa — her voice, her struggle to figure out what to do with her life, and the dilemmas she faced were all so relatable. I also love that she's so passionate about art, so her internship was fun to read about. It was also fascinating for me to learn more about RV culture, of which I previously knew so little. And of course, there's Cyrus — the romantic tension was palpable. So well done! I highly recommend this one.
Profile Image for Allison Ziegler.
6 reviews1 follower
February 11, 2018
This book has art. It has RVs. It has a boy who rides a motorcycle. And it has one of the most charming little miscreant brothers the world has ever known. (Love you forever, Rodney).

Your Destination is on the Left also has an abundance of that most addictive of YA contemporary feelings -- you know that thing where your heart hurts while you're reading because you've felt all those feelings before and you've made all those decisions before? And maybe you still don't actually know what the right thing to do in that scenario would be, because all decisions are bad and what is life? That thing? Yeah. It has that thing. It's the best thing. (Please don't tell me I'm the only one who feels that thing.)

Read this book because Dessa lies. And she sneaks out. Spoilers, there is a square dance. Also read this book because she's sure she doesn't want to travel around in an RV with her parents and Rodney (a king amongst brothers) for the rest of her life, but she is Not Sure she doesn't want to ride around in a different, adjacent RV with the hottest RV boy and his motorcycle for the remainder of her natural life. Especially because the art world doesn't really want her and that motorcycle boy really kinda does. Also love. (True love?) And motorcycles. This is real and you need this conflict in your life.

But most of all, read for Rodney, my dear lord and savoir. He can snoop through my stuff and shoot one liners at me any time.
Profile Image for Perry Alexander.
27 reviews
June 29, 2018
This was the first time I’d read a book written by a friend. That was incredible. Her way with words is simple and poetic, and her characters are real and dimensional! The plot was excellent and was a positive story of how important confidence is in aspiring to be your best.
Profile Image for Kelly Brigid ♡.
200 reviews283 followers
June 23, 2018
“All that matters is that I when I’m with Cy, I know who I am and I know what I want. When I’m with Cy, I’m home.”

Your Destination Is on The Left is such a charming novel about discovering one’s self and pursuing your goals no matter what obstacles lie ahead. The importance of family is a recurring theme throughout the story, and the friendships between the protagonist, Dessa and her friends, Cyrus and Tarryn, were simply beautiful. I flew through this novel in two sittings, and absolutely adored this sweet introduction to the summer! It’s perfectly light-hearted, and although the supporting characters weren’t as developed as I had hoped they would be, they were still quite entertaining. I loved the artistic world Spieller crafted, and how she showed both the positives and negatives this lifestyle can bring to the artist, and their friends and family, respectively.

Who doesn’t love a book with deeper meanings? I’ve recently been realizing how scarce it is to find a contemporary novel with powerful meanings buried beneath the surface. I love it when there are underlying themes in these otherwise every-day life settings. Spieller wrote such a cute story that displays the struggles people face when deciding between following your dream or following the expectations others have set before you. Dessa dreams of attending art school, but it was heartwarming seeing how much her family still meant to her. She even remarked at several points that she wouldn’t had been content making a decision if she knew her loved ones were strongly against it.

Dessa was quite relatable! Throughout the story, Dessa has a substantial fear of failure. I for one, struggle with this fear often, and it has preventing me from attempting certain feats. I’ve been a perfectionist all my life, and I hate to let myself, and especially others down. Over the years, I’ve learned to water down this fear, but it’s always nagging at the back of my mind. It was so refreshing to read from Dessa’s point of view, and see her struggle with overcoming this fear! She was haunted by the dozens of rejections she received from colleges, and it tainted her self-esteem. It was beautiful seeing her gradually realize that in spite of rejection, it’s important to continue moving forward.

The romance had it’s ups and downs. I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance, but I admire how realistic Spieller made her two characters. They withheld their feelings for one another for years, because they understood the possible repercussions that could arise if the relationship ended poorly. This was a mature decision that I definitely respect the characters for. Many teens in novels don’t seem to take into account how their actions might affect other people in the long run. I also liked how Dessa and Cyrus didn’t see eye to eye on certain issues, and had arguments that concluded with each other simply walking away. Finally! A book that had a realistic response to conflict! As much as I wish I didn’t, I tend to allow my emotions to run free when I’m in arguments when others, and sometimes this does result in me choosing to exit conversations prematurely. It was nice seeing how both characters chose this response several times.

I thought this was a lovely debut by Lauren Spieller, and am looking forward to reading more of her works in the future! My favorite aspect of this story was the inclusion of family dynamics. The challenges the family faces financially, in addition to the mixed feelings Dessa has about leaving them for college, was very relatable and exciting to read through. This was a super cute summer read, and I had a ton of fun being a part of this blog tour!

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Profile Image for Vicky Again.
595 reviews817 followers
May 9, 2020
There are a lot of things to love about Lauren Spieller's debut, Your Destination Is on the Left.

The first thing is super evident, and it's how skilled of a writer Spieller is. She's fantastic, and you know that even though this is her debut, she really knows how to write a story for young adults.

Seriously, she understands the things that make YA books so great, and she's managed to seamlessly incorporate them in her writing. Things like romance that isn't invasive, characters really growing throughout the novel, and just interesting details that are happening without you realize it's description.

Your Destination Is on the Left was really easy to read, and it's not just because of how this falls just at the 300ish page mark. Dessa's voice was really relatable and I loved reading her narration. It was just so easy to read and the way Spieller wrote her narration really incorporated everything naturally and I just sped through the whole novel.

I think conceptually, this book was wonderful. I mean, Dessa has a bunch of character development to go through, and she's struggling with art and college and family and romance and her nomadic life. I think the nomad aspect of her life gave a really unique aspect that differentiated this book from other similar contemporaries, while also providing plot points.

But, despite all the positives, I did find something that fell a flat for me and made this not as enjoyable as it could have been.

The plot felt a little bit underdeveloped. I like how much Dessa learned throughout the novel, but sometimes it felt a bit like people were always telling Dessa what she should think. Her new friend Taryn helps her realize something, her mentor Fiona helps her realize something else, her romantic interest Cyrus lets her know something else.

All of it felt like it kind of contributed in people telling Dessa about how she need to look at things differently rather than her gleaning this from her own experiences, and this wasn't ideal for me. I wanted Dessa to learn of her own volition throughout the story, and I feel like a majority of her change wasn't actually because of her own experiences, but because other people told her things.

This was a really quick read and I loved that about this book, but it also felt like there just wasn't enough plot. Or maybe there was enough plot, but not enough emphasis on what was happening. I feel like certain critical scenes to Dessa's journey were kind of underemphasized, which might have contributed to me feeling like Dessa didn't grow of her own volition, because the emphasis was in the wrong place.

I just wish the emotional weight of this story was a little heavier and contributed to that rise and fall feel a little bit more.

But, probably the most surprising part of this book was the romance. Y'know, I really disliked the romance at first, but by the end, I was nodding along with what was happening. This almost never happens to me in YA, and I was so surprised at how much my opinion on the romance changed. I didn't expect it to go in this direction (no spoilers!!!), but I really appreciate what Spieller did with Dessa and Cyrus and their decisions about their relationship.

They were smart yet enamored, and although I wish there was more buildup to the L-word, because a lot of their romance happened in a time we don't get to see narrated (aka in the years they traveled together), I really agreed with the direction their romance went in by the end of the book.

Overall, I did enjoy reading Your Destination Is on the Left and it was a light, quick, and character-focused contemporary that will appeal to lovers of Stay Sweet and other lighter contemporaries.
Profile Image for Hannah Fergesen.
Author 1 book20 followers
July 24, 2018
Full disclosure - I had the privilege of reading this book a couple of times before publication. One of the things I have always loved about this book, besides the super interesting concept of a nomadic group of families traveling together full time across the US, is the way the idea of failure is approached. We have such rigid ideas of what it means to fail and to succeed, and YOUR DESTINATION ON THE LEFT challenges that in so many ways, in ways that feel realistic. As an artist myself (of a different variety), I could have really used this book as a teenager. I love the dynamic between Dessa and Cy, too - Dessa *doesn't* always make good choices, and she isn't always nice (let's be honest, neither is Cy - which, he shouldn't be!), and she isn't always honest. These are the qualities that make her, and their relationship, super real to me, and I identified with her in so many ways. Seriously, give this book a go - if you've ever grappled with what it means to fail, to love, and to live a little differently, this book is for you.
Profile Image for Cassy Klisch.
28 reviews21 followers
June 27, 2018
I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did.

Your Destination Is on the Left is about 17-year-old Dessa and her path to finding her muse again. All through middle and high school, YA contemporary was my jam, but the genre slowly started to wear on me, and when Twilight kicked off the YA fantasy phenomenon, I didn't read much more contemporary aside from the fun, kitschy reads, only diving deeper into the world of fantasy. But then this book came along, and it not only surprised me, but it inspired me.

There were countless times when I was reading where I just had to pause, because it felt like the words were speaking to me. As a designer and a writer, I'm constantly comparing myself to others, questioning my talent, getting lost in the technique of my craft instead of the passion behind it—the reason I love it. I fear. I doubt. And reading this book, I felt seen.

The characters were well done and likable, the writing was smooth, and the plot was everything that I remember those wonderful contemporaries I used to read to be—the ones that would make me strive for more, to view my life in a different way, to be excited for what lay ahead on the journey to adulthood. It's a book filled with heart, one that makes you smile, makes you angry, and makes your stomach flutter. But to me, the most important thing about this book was that it inspired me, as a 26-year-old, to not let fear get in the way of what I want in life, and I feel like I was given such a gift to have the chance to experience Dessa's story.
Profile Image for Nhi ❤ Books.
434 reviews
June 28, 2020

This was definitely a quick cute read, but it lacked something for me to really LOVE it. The reason I picked this up was because: A. The cover is gorgeous; B. I thought this would be a traveling-type book. I guess it's kind of my fault since the synopsis did not say anything about traveling. Dessa and her family are travelers but the book doesn't really focus on the travel aspect.

Dessa was an artist. She loved making art and she did it most of the time while being on the road. Her family, along with two others, traveled around the country in their RVs. While Dessa loved being with her family, her dream was to go to college and settle down somewhere. So when an opportunity to be an intern for a famous artist came, Dessa jumped on board. But this meant leaving her family, who she had always been with, and her best friend, who she loved for a long time, behind. Not only that, Dessa also discovered that her family was in deep financial issues. Facing a hard decision, Dessa must decide whether to choose herself...or her family and to never stop moving.

I really liked the art aspect of this book. Every piece of art I came by in the book would be described in details and it made my mental image of it a lot clearer. The friendship was also great. The romance between Dessa and Cyrus was cute, but frustrating at times. I couldn't connect to Dessa as a character though, so I couldn't enjoy the story as much. That was probably me but don't let this stop you from picking up this book. I had some issues with it but we all interpret books differently. I recommend picking up this book if you're looking for a main character who's struggling to achieve her dreams.

Profile Image for Samantha (WLABB).
3,432 reviews234 followers
June 25, 2018
The family motto was "never stop moving". Though they meant it terms of physical location, it applied to Dessa with respect to her emotional and personal growth.

Dessa's family had been living a nomadic life for the past five years, but Dessa had plans of her own. She aspired and worked towards the goal of going to art school and becoming an artist. She yearned for some independence, and not having all her life choices decided by a group vote. However, after countless college rejections, she believed she would be "stuck" in this life of her parents' making.
It seemed the universe had different plans for her, and she was awarded an internship with an artist she admired.

To me, this was where the story really began. It was where Dessa had to make some really big decisions about her life and her future. She was in a constant battle with her head and her heart. She loved her family, and there were many aspects of the nomad life she enjoyed, but she could not attain her dreams if she continued moving from place to place. She grappled with being loyal to her family, making the decisions she knew they wanted her to make, or choosing herself for a change.

My heart really broke for Dessa as this battle waged in her heart, and then because things weren't complicated enough, her romantic life kind of took off. Yet another thing Dessa would need to consider in her decision making process.

Though the romance wasn't the main focus of this story, you know I loved it. I adored the pairing, the tension, the wonderful things he did for Dessa, and the added layer of conflict it added to the story. And, well, a good romance always makes me happy.

In Summary

• Dessa was a great main character, and her journey towards fulfilling her own dreams and her personal struggle felt really honest.

• Cyrus was all sorts of fabulous. I was a fan.

• The peek into the art world was very interesting, and I really enjoyed it.

• Lots of family focus, most of which really tugged at my heartstrings.

• I was hooked immediately by this nomadic lifestyle thing, and wanted to know more.

• The traveling was fun and I liked getting to visit different parts of the US.

• I felt like everyone grew over the course of this book.

A heartwarming and beautiful story of one girl's struggle to make her dreams comes true.

*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Inês.
490 reviews23 followers
March 9, 2020
that’s the irony of living in a mobile home. you can travel anywhere you want, but as soon as you need space, there’s nowhere to go.

the premise of this novel was so different and unique. i had never read a book about a nomad lifestyle and i really enjoyed that.

however, i didn't feel like it was as much of a central part to the plot as it should've been? it's hard to explain because it is constantly present throughout the book but it just feels like it's never explored beyond the surface, in my opinion.

i also didn't really enjoy any of the characters but dessa, specifically, was tough. i get it she's a teenager and that's a bit of an excuse for some of the way she acts and behaves, but i just found her to be so self-centered and kind of whiny. at leas that's how she read, to me.

the love interest was sort of weak, too.

the pace often felt off as well, and a bit jumpy between chapters.

overall, i just didn't think it was a particularly enjoyable read. it was just.. fine.
Profile Image for ♥ Jasmine ♥.
127 reviews71 followers
March 26, 2019

That was good.

That was sweet.

That was frustrating.

That was cute.

This book is a lot of things to me It can be super cute and adorable, but there are times which you wanna reach into the book, grab Dessa by her shoulders, and say, "Get a grip on yourself! You can do this!"

I liked the premise of the book being "Girl always traveling and getting rejected by colleges wants to be an artist." I really liked Dessa's character. She was super relatable at times which is really good for the main protagonist.

Cyrus is flipping great. He was a lovable and amazing character. I really liked the development him and Dessa's relationship. It took pace and timing.

I loved Taryn. She's such a badass character but also a great friend.

4.2 Stars. Would recommend. :D
Profile Image for Kath (Read Forevermore).
67 reviews19 followers
May 13, 2018
An arc of this book was sent to me by Simon Teen in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

The Destination Is on the Left is a beautiful story of growing up, letting go, and being brave. I loved the idea of this story, and the plot was wonderful! The setting and the character development was just a great addition. Dessa is a girl that is gently, but fiercely, fighting her struggles to get to her end goal of studying art. I fell in love with her passion for art and her fight to find who she really is, artistically and as a person.
Profile Image for Estelle.
862 reviews80 followers
July 4, 2018
3.5 stars.

I really liked this! The family caravan foundation made for a unique set-up. Dessa's internal dilemma of disappointing her parents by not wanting to adopt their lifestyle was relatable; I felt the frustration right alongside her. I did want more development -- to better get to know D's family, especially her grandmother. I had some questions about the internship, and Cy -- lots to unpack here. I might be watching too much Dawson's Creek lately but Dessa totally reminded me of a Joey Potter.

Looking forward to more from Lauren!

Keywords: family dynamics, post-high school plans, art
Profile Image for Shreya.
336 reviews7 followers
December 5, 2018
I really like reading books about art and artists, but this one didn't speak to me as much as I hoped it did. I liked reading about the life of a traveler, but I think a lot of the plot was predictable, and also one of the characters said something I think is kind of problematic about Hinduism which really turned me off to the rest of the book, so I'm knocking another star off of what could have been a 4 star read.
Profile Image for dearlittledeer.
838 reviews4 followers
July 13, 2018
This was a cool read because it's not your typical YA situation. The MC's home is the RV she travels in with her parents and little brother, alongside a couple other families. She just finished high school (via online courses) and wants to go to art college. But her parents are reluctant to see her leave the traveling life, and did I mention there's a boy she might just be in love with?
Profile Image for Madison Lessard.
59 reviews4 followers
Want to read
January 5, 2019
How did it take me this long to realize that's the cathedral in Santa Fe on the cover? Blessed. Now I have to read this.
Profile Image for Roxie.
Author 5 books16 followers
July 6, 2018
Dessa and her family travel in an RV caravan that is really a loving, supportive, rolling semi-communal home inhabited mostly by we-missed-the-60's-hippies. But with Dessa's adulthood bearing down on her, she is conflicted. She was raised to believe in family unity as one of the highest values, but does she really believe that commitment to a family should compel you to abandon your own individual potential? Dessa and the rest of the cast are finely drawn, her lifestyle fascinating, the romance believably sweet and the central question--what do you owe to the ones you love?--is a good one. This is a YA book that is too good to leave to just the YA's. I'd recommend it as a good, quick read for anyone.
Profile Image for Stephanie A..
2,321 reviews64 followers
June 6, 2019
As someone who is both very close to her family and very fond of putting down roots and staying there (preferably in a nice house with some history of its own), Dessa having to make a choice between those two things was a genuine struggle -- not least because I ALSO love road trips.

I always say I'm not big on travel, but what I really mean is I don't want to mess with airports, passports, and unfamiliar countries. Traveling around the country on wheels? I couldn't and wouldn't want to do it forever, not least because where would I keep my mountain of out-of-print books in an RV?, but I can see the romanticism of nomad life that pulled her parents in. One of the reasons I read all the books is that I like the idea of every different area of the United States. You can encounter just about every type of climate within our borders and every town and city offers something unique, never mind the scenic appeal of rural roads. I got to see a little of that right in this book.

I don't really get the appeal of visual art outside of realistic 2-D imagery, nor of making it, but I still loved reading about her internship, so all the more kudos to Spieller for making that aspect of the novel shine. Cyrus was a sweetheart, even though I think they had some unnecessary relationship conflict. Dessa made a few dumb choices on the way, but none of them were inexcusable. And if you can get me to "not mind" an underage girl going into a bar with some random bad influence she met on a bus (and even accepting drinks bought by strangers, like some kind of textbook scenario about being roofied), hats off to you. I just liked Dessa that much.

There is also great, multi-page author's note at the end, which describes the story of how this book came to be -- including the fact that originally, she had the idea of writing a modern-day Odyssey story, which gives me an idea of where the main characters' names came from.

All in all, a very satisfying novel, from an author I will look for again.
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