Destination Unknown

Destination Unknown

3.5 10
by Amy Clipston

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It’s senior year, and Whitney Richards is tired of the constant pressures to be perfect. When she gets a D in Calculus, her mother immediately hires a tutor, worried Whitney won’t get into the “right” college—her alma mater—with imperfect grades. Her tutor, Taylor, is a quiet, mysterious boy who is unlike anyone Whitney has met

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It’s senior year, and Whitney Richards is tired of the constant pressures to be perfect. When she gets a D in Calculus, her mother immediately hires a tutor, worried Whitney won’t get into the “right” college—her alma mater—with imperfect grades. Her tutor, Taylor, is a quiet, mysterious boy who is unlike anyone Whitney has met before. But Taylor’s rougher upbringing has her mother and friends discouraging any type of relationship.

Tired of having to play a part for everyone else, Whitney quits the cheerleading squad that once defined her social identity, and begins spending more time with Taylor. Her mom and friends worry Whitney is making a huge mistake, and even Taylor begins to show concern for some of her choices. But for the first time, Whitney is in the driver’s seat of her life. Will she be able to find her identity—and God’s plan for her life—before she throws everything away?

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—High school senior Whitney Jean Richards appears to have it all: security, status, success. She drives a brand-new car and lives in a large brick colonial, complete with an Olympic-size swimming pool. Pretty and popular, she reigns as both the captain of the cheerleading squad and girlfriend of the football team captain. With a 4.0 grade point average, the teen has been accepted to all three of her top college choices. But cracks in Whitney's idyllic life begin to surface when she gets a D on a Calculus test. Outraged, her critical and controlling mother demands that Whitney bring her grade up with the help of a tutor. Enter Taylor Martinez, a motorcycle-riding math genius from the wrong side of town. What starts off as a rebellious flirtation evolves into true love, as the two young people bond over their deep, shared faith in God. Fans of YA Christian fiction will appreciate the guiding role which prayer plays in Whitney's journey toward self-discovery. Unfortunately, readers who enjoyed Clipston's Roadside Assistance (Zondervan, 2011) will be disappointed by this book's comparative lack of authenticity and depth. A narrow worldview persists throughout and conveys a certain judgmental smugness. For example, Whitney feels "truly blessed to come from a family that was still intact," while Taylor is pitied for "growing up without a father." Predictable plot and flat writing make this a strictly additional purchase.—Susan Wengler, Saint Dominic Academy, Jersey City, NJ

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Destination Unknown

By Amy Clipston


Copyright © 2014 Amy Clipston
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-73669-1


Whitney!" My best friend, Kristin Bailey, rushed across the school parking lot toward me. She balanced her backpack over her shoulder, a small pink gift bag in her hand and a large brown teddy bear on her hip.

"Hey, Kristin." I waited for her to catch up.

"I've been looking all over for you." She nodded toward the large bear grinning at me from her hip. "Look at what Doug gave me." Then she pushed the gift bag toward me, and the rich aroma of milk chocolate filled my senses. "Chocolate hearts. Isn't that romantic?"

"Yeah, that's great. Very romantic." I forced a smile and adjusted the heavy backpack on my shoulder. "Thanks for the candy grams you sent me in homeroom."

"Thanks for the ones you sent me too. What did Brett give you?"

"Nothing yet. I haven't seen him all day." I shrugged to give the impression that it wasn't a big deal, even though it was a huge deal to me. In fact, I got the overwhelming suspicion he was avoiding me when he didn't show up in the cafeteria at lunch. Not a good sign for our first Valentine's Day together.

"Nothing at all?" Kristin's eyebrows pinched together above her nose. "He didn't even send you a chocolate candy gram in homeroom?"

"Nope. I only received candy grams from you, Tiffany, and Emily."

"And you haven't seen him at all today?" I shook my head. Wasn't Kristin listening? She was showered with gifts while I got nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

Despite my humiliation, Kristin's eyes rounded with excitement. "I bet he's going to do something huge! Maybe he's planning a romantic dinner at a very exclusive restaurant."

I raised an eyebrow. "I doubt it, Kristin. The most romantic dinner I've had with Brett was spaghetti and meatballs with my parents and my little brother at my house."

"I know he's going to make it up to you." Kristin bumped my arm with her elbow. "I bet he's at the mall buying you expensive jewelry right now."

I opened my mouth to protest her generous assessment of my boyfriend but was interrupted by another friend's voice.

"Girls!" Tiffany Liu approached, her face beaming. "I have big news!"

"What's going on?" I asked.

"Oh my goodness." Tiffany looked from Kristin to me while taking a deep, dramatic breath. "I'm still reeling from the excitement."

She then clamped her hands on my wrists with such force that I yelped.

"Tiff!" I cried. "You're hurting me."

"I'm sorry." Tiffany pushed her long dark hair behind her shoulders and then held up her left hand, palm down. "Just look at what Spencer gave me today."

I peered down at a gold ring with a tiny diamond displayed between two intertwined hearts. I looked up into Tiffany's wide, almond-shaped eyes. "Wow. Does that mean you're ...?"

"You're ... you-re ... you're engaged?" Kristin stammered.

"Well, kind of." Tiffany waved her hand around. "Spencer said it's a promise ring, so we're actually engaged to be engaged. We're going to get officially engaged our senior year in college. That way we can get married after we graduate."

Kristin dropped her teddy bear and bag on the ground and then hugged Tiffany. "Congratulations, Tiff! That's so exciting."

I stared at them, wondering how logical it was for Tiffany to bind herself to Spencer during her senior year of high school. Sure, he was a nice guy, he treated her well, and he was even good looking. Yet I wondered how she could be certain he was the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with after dating him less than six months. Who knew if they'd even be together when prom rolled around in May? Besides that, our lives were about to change with graduation only four months away. We needed to be thinking about college, not marriage. But I knew I had to be supportive. After all, that was my job as one of her best friends.

"Oh, wow, Tiff. I'm so happy for you." I squeezed her arm. "That's a beautiful ring."

"We have to celebrate," Kristin said. "After all, this is our senior year, and we have to celebrate every holiday together before we all leave for college. It's our last Valentine's Day together."

"You're right, Kristin." Tiffany beamed. "Let's have a party at my house tomorrow night."

"Perfect!" Kristin picked up her teddy bear and bag as she began listing the food items she planned to bring for the big celebration.

I agreed to bring chips and dip, along with soda.

Once the party was planned, Tiffany eyed the teddy bear balanced on Kristin's hip. "What did Doug get you?"

Kristin displayed the smiling teddy bear and bag of chocolates while Tiffany oohed and aahed with approval.

"What about you, Whitney?" Tiffany turned her brown eyes to me. "What did Brett get you?"

"I haven't seen him." I glanced toward my orange Jeep Compass sitting patiently on the other side of the parking lot. The urge to flee from my friends' stares tempted me.

"You haven't seen him?" Tiffany tilted her head. "Not at all today?"

"Nope, but it's no biggie, right? Valentine's Day is just a holiday created by the greeting-card industry to boost sales." I couldn't believe I had just quoted my eleven-year-old brother, Logan. Was I losing my mind?

"I bet he's planning something big for her." Kristin nodded with emphasis. "I'm certain he's going to surprise her with a romantic dinner, roses, and jewelry."

"Oh yeah." Tiffany's expression brightened. "Absolutely. I think Brett is romantic under that tough football-player exterior."

"Sure he is." And I'm the queen of Sheba. I gazed toward my Jeep. "Well, I need to get home. I'll see you tomorrow night."

Tiffany and Kristin waved as I made my way across the parking lot. A cool breeze pushed my long blonde hair back from my shoulders. I shivered while hugging my Cameronville High cheer-team hoodie closer to my body. Once again my mother was right. I should've listened to her and grabbed my jacket, but I thought I'd be warm in the sun. I hit the Unlock button on my key fob and then yanked open the driver's-side door.

"Whitney!" Brett appeared behind me. "Hey." At five foot ten he stood eye level with me. I never seemed to attract guys who were taller than I, which made things awkward when I wore heels. Not that I wore heels every day, but dances were somewhat comical when I was taller than my football-player boyfriend on the dance floor.

"Oh, hey, Brett." I tossed my backpack onto the passenger's seat and then eyed him with suspicion. "Have you been hiding from me today?"

"No, no." He jammed his hands into the pockets of his jeans. "I was looking for you."

"You were trying to find me so you could wish me a happy Valentine's Day, right?"

"Right. Happy Valentine's Day." He opened his backpack and fished out a small pink box of candy with "Happy V-Day" printed across the top. "This is for you."

"Thanks." I set the box of candy on the front seat of my Jeep. I briefly wondered if he'd somehow forgotten today was the most romantic holiday of the year and had run to the nearby pharmacy to quickly buy something during lunch. "Did you get the candy gram I sent you in homeroom?"

"Yeah. Thanks." He looked down at my front tire as if it were the most interesting item on the planet. He was avoiding my stare, and I was getting more and more aggravated by the second.

The awkward silence grew between us like a great chasm. "I'm glad you liked the chocolate." I motioned toward my steering wheel. "I guess I'll see you later. I have to get home."

"Wait." He touched my arm and then pulled his hand back as if my hoodie had shocked him with a bolt of electricity. "I wanted to talk to you."

"Oh?" I closed my fingers around my keys. "What did you want to talk about?"

"Us." He motioned between us. "What we're doing here."

"What do you mean?"

"I like you, Whitney. You're nice and you're pretty."

Oh no. I bit back a groan as a familiar break-up speech echoed through my mind. My ex-boyfriend, Chad, had broken up with me by using similar words on Halloween during our junior year.

"Let me guess what you're going to say, Brett. This has been fun, but you just want to be friends, right?" I spat the words at him. "I'm a nice girl, but you just don't think of me that way. You want to break up but stay good friends. It will be as if nothing has really changed, though. Did I get it right, Brett? Is that what you wanted to say?"

He snapped his fingers. "Exactly. I'm so glad you understand." He tapped my arm. "Thanks, Whitney. You made this so much easier than I thought it would be. I'll see you around. Happy Valentine's Day."

He jogged off toward the other side of the parking lot while I stared after him, taken aback by his callousness. He'd handed me a cheap box of candy and then broke up with me. To make the situation even worse, somehow I helped him break up with me by guessing what lame excuses he'd give for ending our six-month relationship. And he dropped the break-up bomb on Valentine's Day, which was supposed to be the most romantic day of the year.

* * *

I climbed into the driver's seat and then glanced over to where Brett approached a group of his football buddies. He traded high fives and then fell into step with them as they moved toward the far end of the parking lot. Today was just another day to Brett.

I jammed the key into the ignition and then cranked the engine while contemplating this strange day. In a matter of minutes, Tiffany revealed she was "sort of" engaged, and I broke up with my boyfriend.

The strangest part was that I wasn't as heartbroken as I thought I'd be over losing Brett. Yes, the rejection hurt, and I was offended he'd chosen today of all days, as well as frustrated I'd given him an easy way out by explaining why he was breaking up with me. But instead of feeling dejected, I felt some sense of ... relief.

I contemplated Brett as I steered through the Cameronville High School parking lot and merged onto Main Street. Our relationship had been nothing more than a perception at school. Kristin had told me I was lucky when Brett asked me to the homecoming dance. In the beginning of our relationship, I was honored he wanted me to be his girlfriend. After all, he was handsome, with his light-brown hair and pale-blue eyes. I heard people whisper about how we would be the next prom king and queen.

So much for that prediction.

I merged onto Glen Avenue and headed toward my neighborhood. Deep in my heart I knew my relationship with Brett wouldn't last. There was no spark. When we were together, he always seemed to be distracted, as if I were only part of the background. I wondered if the only reason he was dating me was the same reason I was dating him—because we were expected to be together, since he was the captain of the football team and I was the captain of the cheerleaders. We were supposed to be in love, but it was forced instead of genuine. It was as if we were supposed to hang out at school and at parties. We were meant to go to the homecoming dance together last fall. And, of course, we were expected to go to prom together in May.

I steered past the large brick signs welcoming me into Castleton, the neighborhood I'd known since birth. Brett was good looking, but he was exhausting to be with. I felt as if I had to always be on guard. I had to look perfect and keep the conversation going, even when a comfortable silence was what I craved. I never found a comfortable silence when I was with him. In fact, he never made me feel comfortable.

I turned onto my street and pulled into the horseshoe driveway in front of my family's dark-red brick colonial, which was similar to the other brick colonials in Castleton. The two-story house featured huge windows, an attached three-car garage, a wraparound porch, and a detached three-car garage at the back of the property.

I parked at the top of the driveway and climbed out of the Jeep. A cool breeze sliced through my clothes as I hoisted my heavy backpack onto my shoulder and retrieved the small box of candy. My thoughts moved to last summer as I glanced at the Olympic-sized, in-ground pool and the cabana enclosed inside the wrought-iron fence behind my house. I longed for the warmth and ease of summer as I started toward the back door. Things seemed so easy when I was volunteering as a tutor for summer school, teaching cheerleading at the summer recreation camp, and spending time with friends around the pool before senior year had started. Now I was facing my high school graduation and an unknown future.

I moved past my mother's shiny Mercedes SUV (an almost replica of my father's) and climbed the deck steps leading into the kitchen. I pushed the sliding-glass door open and stepped inside.

"Hello! I'm home." I dropped my backpack onto a kitchen chair, set the candy on the table, and crossed to the refrigerator to pull out the container of my favorite iced tea. I poured a glass and then swiped an apple from the fruit bowl in the middle of the island. I was settling onto a kitchen chair with my snack when my mother appeared scowling in the doorway.

"Whitney Jean." My mother's voice was disapproving, and I immediately felt my eyes widen at the mention of my full name.

"Hi, Mom. How was your day?" I bit into the apple, hoping her disapproval was caused by something other than me.

"Not good at all. Well, my day actually was good until I got home from my meeting at the club and found this in the mailbox." She stepped into the kitchen and waved around a piece of paper that appeared to be a letter. She was dressed in a pair of khaki slacks and a white shirt with a yellow collar, which tipped me off that she'd been at the country club for one of her women's-group meetings, since that's her usual club attire. Only collared shirts and slacks (no jeans!) were permitted at the Cameronville Country Club.

Mom sank into the seat across from me, her platinum-blonde bob bouncing with the movement. She slapped the piece of paper onto the table in front of me, and her brown eyes narrowed. "What's this?"

I peered over at the letter, and the words "progress report" jumped out at me. At first I thought perhaps my brother bombed another test, but my shoulders stiffened when I read my full name next to the word "student."

"I got a progress report?" I studied the document with confusion. "I've never had a progress report in my life. How's that possible?"

"A D on a test will earn you a progress report, Whitney Jean." My mother crossed her arms over her chest. "How do you expect to keep your admission into Kentwood University if you flunk calculus?"

The apple suddenly tasted sour. "I'm not flunking, Mom. I got a D on one test, but I'll do better next time." I sipped my iced tea, hoping to drown my agitation.

"A D means you're not doing well at all." She pointed toward the big, red D next to the word calculus on the letter. "This is going to ruin your 4.0 grade point average. This is serious. Only the best get into Kentwood University. You can't blow this."

"KU is your top choice, not mine." I wrapped the apple core in a napkin and placed it on the table.

"Don't be silly." She shook her head. "Only the best go to my alma mater, and you're the best. You've maintained a 4.0 since middle school. You belong at my alma mater. I can see you now walking across campus with my sorority letters emblazoned across your hoodie."

I squelched a rude reply as I stared at her. I'd heard this speech repeatedly since I was in middle school. It was my mother's dream for me to go to her alma mater and join her sorority as a legacy. Note: her dream, not mine.

"I'll be fine, Mom. I only messed up one test. I'll do better next time." I sipped my iced tea and hoped my mother would drop the subject.

"No, this won't do. You could lose your admission, and I can't stand for that. It's unacceptable. I was able to get into KU due to my good grades and scholarships. I don't want you to miss this chance, Whitney. I only want the best for you. Your father and I vowed to give you and Logan the best opportunities we could, and KU is one of them." She studied the letter with renewed focus. "I've already spoken to Mrs. Jenkins about it."

"You called my guidance counselor?" I asked with disgust.

"Yes, I did." Mom sat up taller. "It's my responsibility to make certain you do your best. Your guidance counselor and I agree that you need a tutor."

"No." I enunciated the word. "I don't need any help. I can figure it out myself."


Excerpted from Destination Unknown by Amy Clipston. Copyright © 2014 Amy Clipston. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Destination Unknown 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Calliegh0 More than 1 year ago
I have been waiting for the sequel to Roadside Assistance to come out. I really enjoyed the first one and wanted to see how Whitney's life turns out. Well, I was equally happy with the second book. Now we await the third. Whitney is a senior in high school. She should be having the time of her life. Her grades have always been good. She has a football player boyfriends. She is in the popular crowd. However, things start to unravel around Valentine's Day. Her boyfriend breaks up with her and letter to her mother comes in the mail. Her Calculus grade is way less than spectacular. Her mother feels that she needs a tutor in order for her to get into the right school. Whitney is feeling the pressure to be perfect in everyone's eyes. She doesn't want to admit she needs help at first. She just wants to finish her senior year and move on to her own life. Whitney's mother is very annoying in the book. She is very demanding and very controlling. Her father is more laid back and tries to understand Whitney's point of view. Whitney's friends add to the pressure on Whitney. She must have the right boyfriend to suit them even though Whitney is starting to have feelings for someone they deem less than stellar. She is so confused at this point. Taylor, her unpopular tutor, starts to make Whitney question her priorities. He makes her look at and want things that her mother and friends do not want. This adds pressure to Whitney. What path does she want? Why is she trying so hard to push some paths away? Will she be able to find her way? With the help of some well respected people and God's nudges, Whitney begins to find the path that she feels is best. She begins to see new opportunities with different eyes. This is a great series for young adult girls and even guys who may be struggling to find their own way in life. The teenage years can be full of pressures that make one feel like you need to take only one path. However, as Whitney discovers, God places opportunities in your life for a reason. Don't just push things aside because someone is expecting you to. You need to find your own way despite what others say.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shopgirl152ny1 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this story written for teens, but also found it frustrating because Whitney's mom drove me crazy. She was incredibly controlling, telling her eighteen-year-old daughter everything from what to wear to what to eat and who to be friends with. While I don't agree with how Whitney treated her mom, I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner. I think her mom should have given Taylor a chance and not been so shallow, but I could see how she would think he was behind Whitney's attitude shift. It would also worry me if a girl seemed to dump her friends and change; I would wonder if the guy wasn't being controlling. I really liked how Whitney started to question what she wanted out of life and stood up to her friends who weren't treating Taylor right. The romance was cute, but I'm glad it started as friendship and that they got to know each other well. I really appreciated the strong faith element, with an emphasis on the importance of prayer, knowing God is always with you, and that lying is never the way to go. I felt the ending wrapped up a bit too neatly as it seemed her mom became understanding all of a sudden, even though Whitney really blew it. This works well as a stand-alone, but her cousin Emily is featured prominently and a prior book was about her, which I haven't read. Overall, this story has a good message and an interesting story. I think teenage girls would like this book! I received a free ARC from Zondervan in exchange for an honest review.
Kathae More than 1 year ago
Senior Whitney Richards is tired of doing what everyone tells her to do:  Be the head cheerleader, date the football team captain, earn excellent grades, and go to her mother’s alma mater for college.  Her identity crisis begins when she, a tutor, ends up needing a tutor in order to pass Calculus class.  There she is reconnected with a childhood friend, Taylor, who lives on the wrong side of town.  Then she must do a lot of soul-searching when she is accused of snobbery, because of where she lives and who her friends are.  Her friendship with Taylor deepens and we find out that she really can think for herself, and she isn’t like her snobbish friends.  However, even though Whitney is a Christian, and seeks to grow closer to God, she isn’t entirely a role model.  Throughout the book she disrespects, disobeys, argues with, and lies to her mother. I liked this book, but I didn’t love it.  Whitney’s “Who am I?” got old after a while, and although her mother was unbearable at times, I didn’t like how Whitney treated her.  I think teenage girls would like this book, though, and I would like to read its prequel, Roadside Assistance, which is about Whitney’s cousin Emily. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my review of it.
TheArtistLibrarian More than 1 year ago
Do you remember that feeling? Destination unknown? It’s Whitney Richard’s senior year and the pressure is getting to the straight-A student. When her mother forces her to get tutoring after she receives a D on her Calculus exam, Whitney meets Taylor Martinez. More than just explaining mathematic concepts, Taylor begins to challenge Whitney to look beyond her prep school life and the popular crowd. But while Whitney’s mother and friends are discouraging her from forging a deeper relationship with Taylor, Whitney struggles to take control of her life for the first time … I admit, I don’t read a lot of contemporary-set YA fiction, but I could really relate to Whitney’s semi-perfectionist worries over grades and the frustration of feeling like your parents control everything you do. Though some of Whitney’s decisions and lies of omission (when she’s hiding her relationship with Taylor) made me want to give her a talking-to (and she does face the consequences for her actions), it was really Whitney’s mother that I was most disappointed about. She’s supposedly a Christian, but she is so obsessed about perfection, appearances, Whitney attending her alma mater, and the way she treated and referred to Taylor just because he was from a single parent, lower income family … didn’t seem very Christ-like to me. I know she thought she was doing what was best for her daughter, but it still didn’t rub me the right way. However, I did love Taylor and the way his friendship with Whitney makes her realize how shallow and superficial the popular crowd she had been hanging out her whole life with was. I liked how their relationship began with friendship (though there was also some physical attraction), conversations, and getting to know each other before heading to romance. Though I think the spiritual aspect of the novel was its weakest point, in the end Whitney realizes she needed to trust God and His direction in her life even when the future is unknown (I definitely related to that feeling). However, the included discussion questions should help readers (and parents) to think and talk about the decisions of the characters and some of the ideas touched on in the novel. If you’re looking for a quick, clean YA read, give Amy Clipston’s books a try!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
h First of all, I will say that I did enjoy reading this book. However, there was nothing special about it, and there were several aspects about it that I did not like or disagreed with. The story flowed pretty well and the writing itself was not too bad, with the exception of the “heartfelt” scenes between Taylor and Whitney. The dialogue there seemed forced and very unrealistic. (In other words, no one talks like that in real life.) Other than those parts, the writing was okay. And I really liked that Taylor and Whitney started out as friends before it turned into something more. The story line was good as well, but there were a few things I would have changed concerning its execution. Sadly, there were really no characters that pulled me in and made me care. I mean, I liked them (especially Taylor, his family, and Emily), but not enough to be too devastated if everything did not work out. Whitney was just okay. There were a few times that I sided with her in her decisions (and I will admit I almost cheered when she gave Brett what he deserved), but back-talking your mother and constantly lying are not admirable qualities…especially in the main character! She “supposedly” learned her lesson in the end, but I kept getting the feeling that she was more concerned about the fact that she did not stand up for herself than the fact that she lied and was very disrespectful to her mother. She kept “trying to be herself;” trying to act like an adult, but there were many times she acted like a spoiled child. I just did not buy it. (I was also not a fan of the way Whitney would pray to God for help, but would never really try to seek His guidance. To me, it seemed like she was just praying to get what she wanted.) This book left me with no strong feelings. I did not love it. I did not hate it. It was just “okay.” I would suggest you try it, but it is not one I would add to my personal library. Thank you, Zondervan, for my Advance Reading Copy in exchange for an honest review. ¿ ¿ by Klaus Leidorf on ¿
Wanda_Barefoot More than 1 year ago
Whitney Richards seems to have the perfect life. She lives in a high end neighborhood, she is the captain of the cheerleading team, she is a straight A student and she dates the captain of the football team. When she gets a D in calculus her whole life starts changing. But what she perceives to be the worst day of her life she soon finds to be the start of her life changing for the better. When Taylor Martinez, a student from the poor side of town, becomes her tutor she finds herself falling in love despite the harsh criticism from her mother and friends. As their relationship progresses Whitney starts changing. She soon evolves into the young woman she wants to be, not who her mom wants her to be. This is my very first young adult book and I wasn't quite sure how I was going to feel about it. I have to say I was very pleased with the story. The characters were so real that I felt like I WAS Whitney Richards. Whitney was such a great young lady. Even though she lived a pampered life she treated everyone the same. She didn't look down on those that were less fortunate like a lot do. She was a very sweet girl and I loved how every night when she went to bed she would lay down and share her troubles with God like she was talking to a friend. Taylor Martinez was such a nice guy. He worked hard to help support his mom and sister. He really understood Whitney and really listened when she shared her inner most secrets and turmoils. At eighteen he was such a gentleman! He really wore his heart on his sleeve. He had loved Whitney since the forth grade when he used to take homemade chocolate chip cookies to trade Whitney for lunch because her mom wouldn't let her eat unhealthy food. And his faith was great too. I liked his response to the teacher of the J2A meeting at church when she asked them to choose a verse that would best help them faced the uncertainty of their futures. Quote: "Okay." Taylor cleared his throat and then looked down at the verse he'd circled: "By day The Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me--a prayer to the God of my life." Intrigued, I studied him. "Why that verse?" Jenna asked. Taylor shrugged. "Well, to me it means that no matter what you do all day, whether you're studying, or you're at work, or you're at school, you need to remember you have to live your day for God. He directs your heart, and he should be the focus of your life." Whitney's mom was so controlling and I often wanted to shake her, but her dad was just great. He was a buffer between Whitney and her mom, often getting Darlene to back off when she tried to run Whitney's life. I loved Whitney's cousin Emily, too. She was such a great support for Whitney. So, as you can see, I think the characters are just great, but how is the story overall? This book was a true-to-life testimony for young adults. The difficulties and pressures they face when growing up and leaving for college, with relationships. What I liked most was the strong thread of faith woven throughout the story. Quote: "Do you remember I had a hard time praying after my mom died?" Emily asked. "I remember that," I said. "You forgot how to talk to God because you were struggling with your grief." "Well, I learned the hard way that life is hard sometimes, and sometimes things don't work out the way we want them to. But God Is always there for us. You may not see him or feel him right now, but he's here with you. You're never alone." Emily hugged me, and my tears began to sprinkle down my cheeks. Everyone's faith was so deep and it was great to read about young people having such faith and principles. I loved watching Whitney and Taylor's budding romance. Their story was sweet and I would love to continue with their story as they grow older. The story line was perfect and I couldn't wait to read the ending. With such lovable characters and such a great plot it's impossible not to enjoy this book. If you like young adult romance, or even if it's your first like it was mine, you will thoroughly enjoy this book. I recommend it to readers of all ages! Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone. If I recommend a book it's simply because I enjoyed it. I received no monetary compensation for this review.
Beverly_Stowe More than 1 year ago
What is worse than your boyfriend breaking up with you on Valentine’s Day, while your two best friends’ boyfriends give them nice gifts? Could the D on a calculus test be worse? Or how about the fact that your mother says you need a tutor to bring that grade up and not ruin your grade point average to get into college? Is being grounded for two weeks or seeing your best friends in a different light worse? Eighteen-year-old Whitney Richards faces all of these problems in Author Amy Clipston’s YA novel DESTINATION UNKNOWN. That seems like quite a lot for a teen to deal with her senior year of high school. Deal with them, Whitney must. To add to her troubles, Whitney is falling for Taylor Martinez, also a senior and the tutor who’s helping her with calculus. He’s hot, he’s nice, and he’s different from the jocks she has been dating. He’s not one of the popular crowd that makes up most of Whitney‘s friendships, and her mother totally disapproves of him since he lives on the wrong side of town. Time after time, Whitney and her mother clash over what Whitney wants for her life and what her mother has planned for her daughter. When matters get too complicated, Whitney prays to God for help in her messed up life. DESTINATION UNKNOWN is a story about peer pressure, a manipulative mother (according to Whitney), misunderstandings, and lies (or not telling the whole truth the way Whitney looks at a situation). The author has created characters that are so real they might be the teen next door, the teen at church or at school, or your own teen. Most teens reading the story will be able to relate to Whitney’s dilemma, or perhaps to one of the other characters through themselves or someone they know. Sometimes we’re so caught up in what we want we close our minds and do not truly listen to the other person’s reasons for what they do. I recommend this book for classroom libraries and school libraries as well as your own private library. The story may provide exactly what some young reader needs in his/her life at the moment. I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book from Zondervan Publishing for my honest review. ###
itsraymarie More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I will start out by saying that this book may not be for everyone. It is Christian fiction, but it isn't preachy, and I think that this is one that can be enjoyed by all people. I loved it (did I already say that?) but more on that later. Whitney is a senior in high school. If that doesn't come with enough stress, her mother's pressures to be "perfect" are causing Whitney to crack. She doesn't even know who she is, but it's about time she figured it out. Then she meets Taylor, a loner, and starts to rethink some of her life choices. I think one of the reasons I loved this book so much was because I could relate to it so much. Me personally, more than most, because I went through some of these exact same things. What Whitney was experiencing, I knew for a fact how it felt, and Clipston relayed the feelings so realistically and perfectly. I can't say I went through everything Whitney did (I never hid a boyfriend from my mom, if you were starting to question me), but as a recent high school grad, I knew that Whitney and her struggles were portrayed very realistically. I realize that some people might not like Whitney, or the story, as much because of how much Whitney lies and deceives her mother. I'm not saying I agree with that either, but Whitney's struggles and internal turmoil were very clear and realistic. Teenagers make mistakes. It's a fact of life. But this highlighted how much Whitney matures by the end of the book, and how she realizes her mistakes and the consequences of them. Although, I will say, I wouldn't even know how to deal with a mom as crazy as Whitney's. I mean, even telling her what color her hair should be? That is just extreme. Her nonacceptance and judgmental attitude of Taylor and his family made me want to slap her. And wonder what in the world she was doing in a church. (Which, I realize, it judgmental of me. Sorry.) . Speaking of, I wish there had been guys like that in my high school. Sure, he was your stereotypical "loner who rode a motorcycle but had a heart of gold" which is way overdone, but do we fall for it every time? Um YES. Just the way he cared for him mom and sis was so sweet. There is no way this kid will not win over your heart. I also loved the appearances from characters from the companion novel, Roadside Assistance, like Emily and Zander. All in all, I think this is a great book that (hopefully!) you will love.