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A Ticket to Ride

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  847 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews
Remember that girl? The one who was impossibly cool, who taught you how to blow smoke rings, cut school, sneak out of the house? Remember how you turned yourself inside out trying to be just like her--and then she broke your heart?

Set in the long, hot summer of 1973, Paula McLain's lyrical debut novel explores what happens when an insecure, motherless teenager falls under
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 8th 2008)
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Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love a coming of age story and one that takes place in the 70's is even better. This author is a great storyteller and even though the story was a little all over the place at first, it quickly became unputtdownable for me. I just loved all the nostalgic stuff too. Definitely darker than I was expecting.
I'm waffling between "I liked it" and "It was Ok". Paula McLain is a superb writer and poet, there is no doubt about that. She wrote one of my favorite books from last year- "The Paris Wife"- and I'm finding it very hard to believe "A Ticket to Ride" is also by the same author. The tone and language in both books is COMPLETELY different.

I found "A Ticket to Ride" too florid and almost overwhelming in its beautiful poetic language for the first half of the novel that I was very close to putting
Michelle Owens
Sep 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008-read, own
"It was August. For days it was August."

During the summer of 1973, Jamie and her cousin, Fawn, who has come to stay for the summer, spend their days sunbathing, listening to great music, and getting into trouble. Jamie lives with her uncle, Raymond, and is excited to have someone to spend the long days with. Fawn is older, very manipulative and quite self absorbed. Jamie is only 14 and still not sure about who she is and what is important to her. She is very impressionable, and wants so much to
Jamie is a motherless girl who grows up with her distant uncle. She's a good girl in every sense of the word, until her cousin Fawn shows up. Jamie is eager to please her much more experienced cousin that she will do anything to impress her. As Jamie changes more and more from the nice person she once was, Fawn entices her to sneak out with her to Chicago.

It is here that Jamie and Fawn go too far, getting involved in a rape, a faked kidnapping, and eventually one of their friends ends up missing
Lee Marie
Feb 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first started reading this book I thought about abandoning it, which I do not do very often with books. I thought it was another typical coming of age story but it ended up, in the end, very nearly taking my breath away. I fell in love with the characters, Jamie, Claudia, Collin and even Fawn. And Paula McLain wrote it beautifully, I felt everything Jamie was feeling and the imagery that she used was just wonderful. In the end I was definitely shocked by this book, I loved it. It will for ...more
Rita King
I made myself finish the book but it was not a favorite. I had loved The Paris Wife and was really looking forward to another great book by Paula McLain. It was a disappointment.
Angela Demott
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-reads
I completely loved Paula McLain's first novel! A Ticket to Ride is very different from her two historical fiction novels, but is still so gripping, well-plotted, and marked with the beautiful style and excellent characterization that I've come to expect from this author.

A Ticket to Ride is a less sprawling, more focused novel than McLain's other novels. The setting, amount of characters, and length of time the plot covers are fewer and shorter than The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun, which mad
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One off my to-read shelf. A darker story than I expected it was just ok.
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the long hot summer of 1973, two young teenage girls push the boundaries, hoping to experience whatever it will take to make them cool, sexy, and happy.

For Jamie, the exploration is about a motherless girl searching for approval and acceptance, which is why she is so willing to follow the lead of her cousin Fawn, who has ended up in Moline, Illinois because she is trouble personified. Fawn's version of the events that brought her to Illinois casts her in the most positive light possible. And
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Take a Megan Abbott book, pop it in a time machine back to the 1970s, and A Ticket to Ride is what you'd get.

I was hesitant about this one because this isn't a time period or subject that interests me at all, but I loved Paula McLain's other novels so much that I got desperate to get my hands on anything she'd written.

This definitely feels like a first novel when compared to the outstanding The Paris Wife and the very respectable Circling the Sun. It feels too personal but not relatable. Still
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Family drama

I think that this is one of the most entertaining books to read and it has in my opinion one of the best writing styles I have ever come across I really made a conection with the main charecter Jamie and how she was quite but then she met Fawn when she moved in with them because she was too muc of a hand full for her own parents and the suspenseful moments as you gradualy watch Jamie become more and more attached to fawn eventhough she knows that she is bad and how she is ruining her
May 21, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nothing new here

I can hardly believe that this is the same author who wrote the brilliant "The Paris Wife". I couldn't even get past the first half of "A Ticket to Ride" as the flip style really put me off. Haven't we all read this somewhere before : shallow, precocious teens getting into trouble ? Readers of that age group might enjoy this book and identify with the characters but as an adult reader I expected much better of Paula McLain.
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who ever spent a summer listening to the radio, working on her tan, and learning about boys and life with that not-so-good-for-you friend that you just can't stay away from will be able to relive it vividly with McLain's prose. This was the perfect beach read for me~ a few ticks higher on the literary scale than the chick-lit that usually permeates the beach chair set.
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful prose, propelling story.

An evocative start: "It was August. For years it was August."

And an equally profound (near)end line: "Was there anything sadder than starting your life?"

Paula McLain is also a poet. I can't wait to read her poems.
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
loved. her language is beautiful and the way she describes ordinary scenes made me want to keep reading well past bedtime. highly recommend, in no small part because anyone can relate to feeling out of place and wanting to fit in with the cool kids.
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book was engaging and had lots of tension. I thought she nailed living as a teenager in the early 70s (or late 60s) in the summer. I loved how she used songs from those years as her chapter titles. It was very different from the Paris Wife or Circling the Sun.
Christina Rau
Jan 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
See Book Riot :)
Feb 08, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a quick read. The book started off slow but ended quickly. I never really felt connected with the charters. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I was a teenager.
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
TW; rape

This book resonated with me on a deep level.
It's a story about the messy place between childhood and adulthood. It's a story about being influenced by others, wanting them to like you so very badly that you change who you are for them. It's a story about children who know too much and have experienced too much for their own good. It's a story about how grown men take advantage of teenage girls.

McLain's writing is melodic as always, painting such vivid pictures of scenes. I think she does
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paula McLain is a marvel. What an incredible treat to read her first different than THE PARIS WIFE and the others that have made her so prominent, but equally worthy of praise. A TICKET TO RIDE is a poetic, heartfelt coming of age story that will catapult readers back adolescence. It is filled with intriguing, flawed characters who make bad decisions (didn’t we all?) as they search for who they are, and who they want to be.
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book
Didn’t we all have a friend who tried to use her popularity to make friends feel stupid and influence our actions ?
I hated being s teenager and this book reaffirmed my opinion how people can easily be influenced when young and wanted to be accepted by peers
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.5
Sarah Whitney
Apr 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, fiction, own
Jamie is a motherless girl searching for approval and acceptance, which is why she is so easily influenced by her cousin Fawn, and ultimately brought down a path of trouble and tragedy.

Fawn is beautiful, manipulative, and determined to have a good time. When Fawn comes to live with Jamie and her Uncle Raymond for the summer, Jamie becomes enamored with Fawn and her lifestyle, and lets Fawn completely transform not only how she looks but her behavior as well. Fawn is a selfish, troubled girl, wh
Kim Miller-Davis
This is a coming-of-age story about Jamie, a teenaged girl, whose troubled relative of the same age, Fawn, comes to stay with her and her guardian uncle during the summer of 1973. Not only does McLain expertly build tension as the girls get themselves deeper and deeper into trouble, she also renders such an authentic depiction of adolescent girls and their relationships with each other that I kept getting flashbacks of my own youthful relationships---things that I haven't thought about in years. ...more
What a pleasant surprise this book was. I wasn't really expecting much since I picked it up in my local Dollar Tree for only $1. I figured the editing would be awful and the plot boring, but I must say I was wrong! This book was an interesting look into the twisted relationships between teenage girls. While reading this, I found myself relating to Jamie as she did everything for Fawn just to have Fawn turn around and make fun of her to make others laugh. Teenage girls are brutal and this book wa ...more
Nov 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took a while for this book to get going. The beginning chapters are very detailed with a poetic writing style. It got to be a bit annoying. It's not surprising that this novel is poetic-like as she does have her MFA in poetry and has written poetry collections.
I also found myself getting irritated with the main character and her inability to be herself and stand up for herself.
The book is about a young girl who is now living with her uncle (after living with her grandparents) as her mother w
Sep 30, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I felt like I'd read this adult novel before, but maybe I just read too much? It's 1973 in Moline, Illinois (yay! love the setting!) and Paula is bored. She just moved from California to live with her Uncle Raymond and she has no idea where her mother and father are. Then cousin Fawn moves in because she was involved in a sex scandal with a teacher. whoooooo. Fawn makes Paula her project--haircut, makeup, new clothes. Then the two teenagers start hitting the town at night. They smoke, drink, mee ...more
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't enjoy reading this book. I guess I'm reached an age where I just don't care about teenage angst. I don't empathize with characters who don't know who they are and can't find themselves. Lost little boys and girls trying to find their way in the world. Frequently, I wanted to enter the story and slap the characters silly, especially , whiney Jamie. What a blubbering mess of a human being. Her mother Suzette, is another character who is so pathetic, so unbelievably docile and vulnerable; ...more
Lori Clark
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychological
The blurb on this one sold me. Jamie was a seriously naive young girl who was never wanted by her mother and grew up living with her grandparents -- until that's not an option anymore. Whisked away from California to Moline, Illinois to live with her Uncle. Everything is okay. Lackluster, but, okay.

Enter Fawn...The wild child. Jamie adores Fawn. Idolizes her. Wants to be more like her. Fawn steps into Jamie's life and things begin to go downhill from there. Jamie is an impressionable girl who wa
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Paula McLain is the author of the New York Times and internationally bestselling novels, The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun. She’s also published two collections of poetry, Less of Her and Stumble, Gorgeous, the memoir Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses, and a first novel, A Ticket to Ride. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan in 1996, and has since receive ...more
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“I didn't want to be a sweet boy's sweet girlfriend. I wanted to be Fawn's equal, the kind of girl who stood up for herself and took care of business, who cut guys loose when it was required.” 14 likes
“It was august. for years it was august … . there was heat like wet gauze and a high, white sky and music coming from everywhere at once.” 2 likes
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