Your Destination Is on the Left
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?

Your Destination Is on the Left Details

TitleYour Destination Is on the Left
Author
ReleaseJun 26th, 2018
PublisherSimon Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139781481492126
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance

Your Destination Is on the Left Review

  • C.G. Drews
    January 1, 1970
    I'm like 99% sure the moral of this story is artists are underappreciated and wE DoN'T WANNA BE. [sobs into a paint can and a singular grain of rice which is all we can afford] Ahem. So I really liked what this book had to say on artists! And as an artist myself (wRITER, YA) who's been struggling with fear and that's blocked me a lot...it was so meaningful. 😭💛"You're afraid of failure, of not being good enough, of letting your family down. Right? But that's the problem -- you're letting your fea I'm like 99% sure the moral of this story is artists are underappreciated and wE DoN'T WANNA BE. [sobs into a paint can and a singular grain of rice which is all we can afford] Ahem. So I really liked what this book had to say on artists! And as an artist myself (wRITER, YA) who's been struggling with fear and that's blocked me a lot...it was so meaningful. 😭💛"You're afraid of failure, of not being good enough, of letting your family down. Right? But that's the problem -- you're letting your fear of failure define you. That's why you can't pick up the paintbrush. You're letting fear get in the way of your voice."There were also a TON of elements I loved!! Including, multiple epic female friendships (!!!) it shouldn't be shockingly uncommon, but it is so I'm just !! There's also tons of description on art so it was such a visual feast. And Dessa and Cy were totally down to spend their last crumpled dollars on hot chocolates and if that isn't relatable content.The downside? I should've connected to Dessa but...somehow I didn't? I also found her parents really creepy (when they're supposed to be loving/supportive) because they acted like it was the END OF THE WORLD if Dessa wanted one freaking week to stay at her internship while they took the caravan to another site. Like what the frying heck did they expect their 18 year old daughter to do for her life????? Live in the trundle bed? The "betrayal" mentality was disturbing. Also Cy and Dessa had all the potential to be super cute friends-to-lovers... But I didn't ship them lmao. I shipped Dessa and Taryn (who she met randomly!) SO MUCH MORE. They clicked and had great dynamics?!? #my #ship ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I feel like this book said SO many important things! It just didn't strike my heartstrings particularly, even though the starving artists complaints are all Big Mood™.
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  • Cait • A Page with a View
    January 1, 1970
    Dessa's family lives in an RV and travels around the country with a few other families (one has a son she's in love with). She's been rejected from every art school but just wants to go to college and put down roots somewhere for a time. Her family and the guy she likes all feel like she's abandoning them, though, so Dessa feels torn between them and her plans for her future.There were a lot of fun scenes in the story and individual elements I liked, like the RV caravan, and how the family had r Dessa's family lives in an RV and travels around the country with a few other families (one has a son she's in love with). She's been rejected from every art school but just wants to go to college and put down roots somewhere for a time. Her family and the guy she likes all feel like she's abandoning them, though, so Dessa feels torn between them and her plans for her future.There were a lot of fun scenes in the story and individual elements I liked, like the RV caravan, and how the family had realistic money issues. The story felt pretty simple, though, and never really pulled me in. Dessa didn't have much personality and the guy she liked felt like more of a placeholder at times. The character who felt the most developed and interesting was a girl Dessa met on the road — I kept wishing the story was about her instead. I mean, I could relate with a lot of Dessa's actions and situations she was in (like needing to assemble a portfolio for art school), but she was still a really vague, bland main character... especially for a first person narrative.So it was a pretty basic YA contemporary with some fun elements! My family lived in a small camper two different years while I was growing up, so it was funny to recognize some of Dessa's frustrations. Otherwise nice is the main word that comes to mind for the book overall... it never really feels like it dives into what the story could be, but what's there is still fine, nice, decent, etc. I don't really have any strong feelings either way.Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    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 Destinatio 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* Book Blog | Twitter | Bloglovin | Goodreads
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  • Dahlia
    January 1, 1970
    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 VisitingI 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, 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 VisitingI 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...)
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  • Ashley Poston
    January 1, 1970
    Full disclosure: I read this book a long time ago, and I just recently read the finished version and I am just as awestruck then as I am now. I fell in love with Dessa's passion for art and her plight to find out who she is -- both artistically and as a person. And can we just talk about Cyrus for a moment? Because S-W-O-O-N.I loved it. If I could give it a thousand stars, I would.
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  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
    January 1, 1970
    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, ce 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!
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  • Shealea
    January 1, 1970
    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 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!Actual rating: 5 stars* Read the rest of this review in my natural habitat!
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  • Brian Kennedy
    January 1, 1970
    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 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!)
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  • Diana Urban
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Kelly Brigid
    January 1, 1970
    “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 a “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!Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Bloglovin
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  • Vicky Who Reads
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsIn the technical sense, Lauren Spieller is a wonderful writer and I love how easily Dessa's voice flowed. But I wish there was more emphasis on the plot and in building the emotional stakes. Full review to come tomorrow!
  • Fanna
    January 1, 1970
    ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS! You need to pick it up right now...like, right away.
  • Perry Alexander
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Allison Ziegler
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Rachel Solomon
    January 1, 1970
    One of the most unique contemporary YA premises I've read! This is a fresh, lovely story about self-discovery, independence, and growing up.
  • Samantha (WLABB)
    January 1, 1970
    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 beli 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. OverallA heartwarming and beautiful story of one girl's struggle to make her dreams comes true.*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
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  • Hannah Fergesen
    January 1, 1970
    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 di 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.
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  • Kath (Read Forevermore)
    January 1, 1970
    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 / 5The 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 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 / 5The 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.
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  • Estelle
    January 1, 1970
    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 Po 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
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  • dearlittledeer
    January 1, 1970
    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?
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  • Cassy
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Roxie
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    A unique story with lots of relatable moments. Loved it!
  • Vicky Skinner
    January 1, 1970
    I've never read a book quite like this one. I was rooting for Dessa from page one and then rooting HARDER for her by the end. I loved how quiet it was and how sweet and inspiring. Beautiful and heartbreaking.
  • Juliana Brandt
    January 1, 1970
    Full disclosure here in that I was extremely privileged to read Your Destination Is on the Left in its infancy and also in this final form of completion, with this published version being a beautifully refined version of the one I first read.Dessa's story is one that pulled me in and has stuck with me over the months since I first read it. I'm a sucker for sibling stories, and the relationship between Dessa and her little brother, Rodney, is one I fully believed existed in real life. This goes f Full disclosure here in that I was extremely privileged to read Your Destination Is on the Left in its infancy and also in this final form of completion, with this published version being a beautifully refined version of the one I first read.Dessa's story is one that pulled me in and has stuck with me over the months since I first read it. I'm a sucker for sibling stories, and the relationship between Dessa and her little brother, Rodney, is one I fully believed existed in real life. This goes for *each* of the relationships Lauren Spieller has written. No character is tossed onto the page solely as an excuse for Dessa to grow, but they all exist as their own people with their own stories, and they are all very respectfully told. The heart Spieller has put onto the page is infectious and is clearly felt. Dessa's self-discovery through her family and friends, her passion for art, her decisions and dreams for her life are thoughtfully crafted, and it has me looking forward to her next book.It's an incredibly empowering book to read, especially for teenagers at junctures in their life--encouraging them to keep focused and strive for their own dreams. Not the dreams their family or friends may have for them, but their *own*.Altogether, Dessa's story was artfully, beautifully written, and I highly recommend the read!
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  • Teenreadsdotcom
    January 1, 1970
    Dessa Rhodes spends her life on the road. Ever since her parents decided to uproot their lives and travel around the United States exploring the country, Dessa’s home has been their RV, surrounded by the other two families traveling with them. For years Dessa was satisfied, visiting new states and spending time with Cyrus, the boy in their caravan who has always been something more than a friend to her. But now Dessa is looking for more, applying to colleges with the hope of pursuing an educatio Dessa Rhodes spends her life on the road. Ever since her parents decided to uproot their lives and travel around the United States exploring the country, Dessa’s home has been their RV, surrounded by the other two families traveling with them. For years Dessa was satisfied, visiting new states and spending time with Cyrus, the boy in their caravan who has always been something more than a friend to her. But now Dessa is looking for more, applying to colleges with the hope of pursuing an education as an artist and taking her talent to a new level. No matter how much she might want it, she also knows that going to college will mean leaving behind a life of endless travel, as well as her family --- and Cyrus. That is, if she gets accepted. She has received rejections from every school except UCLA, with no plan of what to do if she gets a final rejection. So when an internship opportunity with an artist pops up, Dessa takes it, in the hopes of figuring out what she wants to do --- and who she is.In YOUR DESTINATION IS ON THE LEFT, Lauren Spieller presents enduring young adult themes of identity, coming of age and romance in an entirely new context. Dessa’s life as a modern nomad presents a unique look at a way of life that comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, and this influences how Dessa approaches the conflicts she encounters. Spieller does an excellent job developing the reader’s understanding of Dessa’s way of life and the relationships that develop among a group of individuals whose only constant is each other in the midst of changing scenery. The dynamics of the travelers prove interesting, and the specific struggles of raising and supporting a family feature heavily in the novel, allowing Spieller to explore these common issues in an uncommon setting.More important than this, though, Spieller thoroughly develops Dessa’s character, allowing the reader to relate and connect with her --- even more essential, given Dessa’s unique lifestyle. Dessa’s struggles with figuring out her future, judging her art by the expectations of others and simply overcoming her fears in order to unlock her talent will pertain to many readers, far beyond those that have artistic talent: everyone with a specific interest or talent will recognize the terror of falling short in an area that defines them.Spieller also includes a romantic element of the story, but it doesn’t overpower the narrative --- Dessa’s relationship with Cyrus serves as a side plot of the novel, but Dessa’s struggles take precedence. More than this, though, Dessa develops relationships with multiple other characters throughout the story, ensuring that she doesn’t rely on Cyrus as her only source of advice or support. These relationships all have a unique dynamic, providing Dessa with differing forms of support and growth throughout her story.Although the novel features strong themes and well-developed characters, Dessa’s interaction with her setting could have been expanded upon. While she spends time in Santa Fe, she seems isolated from her setting --- given her lifestyle, it would have been especially interesting to see her interact with her surroundings more, exploring the local culture and comparing it to her experiences in other areas of America, something that would have given both her and her world more depth.Overall, however, Spieller’s YOUR DESTINATION IS ON THE LEFT provides a look at relatable issues in a fresh context. The story is relatively light and short, providing a read suited to summer that still packs meaning and depth. Readers will find themselves invested in Dessa’s struggles and her eventual growth, and will likely take lessons from her life that they can apply to their own.Reviewed by Rachel R., Teen Board Member
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  • Lauren the Book Slayer
    January 1, 1970
    A distinctive setting. Dessa and her family are modern day nomads. For the last five years they’ve traveled around the US in a tiny RV with a small caravan of other families. I’ve never traveled cross-country. Heck, I’ve never even traveled more than 6 hours in either direction of my house. So I had a hard time imagining what it would be like to constantly travel, never settling down in one place for more than a few weeks. Your Destination Is on the Left helped me gain a better understanding of A distinctive setting. Dessa and her family are modern day nomads. For the last five years they’ve traveled around the US in a tiny RV with a small caravan of other families. I’ve never traveled cross-country. Heck, I’ve never even traveled more than 6 hours in either direction of my house. So I had a hard time imagining what it would be like to constantly travel, never settling down in one place for more than a few weeks. Your Destination Is on the Left helped me gain a better understanding of what constant life on the road looks and feels like.A relatable heroine. Dessa has many fears and struggles with low self-esteem. She’s passionate about art, but is too afraid to really express herself through it, because she doesn’t think what she creates is good enough. I think most, if not all of us, have been able to relate to Dessa in some way at some point. I’ve definitely missed out on good opportunities in the past, because I let my fears get the best of me and hold me back.Not the greatest romance. I adore love stories that feature best friends slowly realizing their feelings run deeper for one another. Those relationships are slow-burning, and usually end up being so worth the wait, therefore I started Your Destination Is on the Left with huge romance expectations. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stand Dessa and Cyrus together, because I really disliked Cyrus. He was selfish, vindictive, and not very supportive of what Dessa wanted to do with her life. Thankfully their romance wasn’t the main focus of the story.Can we have a companion novel? Pretty please ♥ This book unsurprisingly ended on a bittersweet note. I would really love a companion novel or novella someday. One that takes place a couple years later, showing us where Dessa’s path led after the big decision she made in Your Destination is on the Left. I’m not going to hold my breath.. but a girl can dream right?!!
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  • Rajasree
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful novel about searching for the purpose of your life, having to go against your near and dear to fight for what you what for yourself. I like the different cultures that were depicted in the book, as well as Cyrus being black and Fiona having a girlfriend. It's these details that encourage diversity and its acceptance.I'm not very artistic, but I've always loved the concept of recycled art or 'found art', as Fiona puts it. Different art media were very nicely described,and the cage mad A beautiful novel about searching for the purpose of your life, having to go against your near and dear to fight for what you what for yourself. I like the different cultures that were depicted in the book, as well as Cyrus being black and Fiona having a girlfriend. It's these details that encourage diversity and its acceptance.I'm not very artistic, but I've always loved the concept of recycled art or 'found art', as Fiona puts it. Different art media were very nicely described,and the cage made out of wire hangers to depict how others idea of beauty and perfection imprison us just blew me away. Fiona was a great mentor, being firm but kind. I also loved YaiYai-she was simply adorable, being so supportive of Dessa and her art. Also, she was an amazing cook-the Greek dishes mentioned in the book got my taste buds tingling with interest.Dessa had a tough decision to make, having to choose between her family, her style of life until now, the boy she loves and the passion that drives her. She was very troubled but was brave enough to do what had to be done. It broke my heart when Cyrus cried in the end. He was such a great guy and balanced Dessa out so well. Sigh.Forest of a Thousand Lanterns was one of the first books I read in which the female MC must give up the boy she deeply cares about to choose herself. Having raised myself on a steady diet of romance novels, it was a little hard to accept at first-of course i know it must be be done sometimes, i just didn't want to read about it-but I understand better now, and it's so poignant.A great book, and I'll definitely read what Ms. Spieller writes next.
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  • ellymate
    January 1, 1970
    I don't get it... I finished the book and I still don't get it why... why was this so difficult, si twisted and why were people so against her studying! (view spoiler)[ I honestly found it so stupid that a bunch of people has to vote and decide the fate of another family or the future of a kid. This was too absurd for me and i'm still in shock! How could this be possible... it looked to me that these three families just wanted to stick together with the kids and not offering them a chance to gro I don't get it... I finished the book and I still don't get it why... why was this so difficult, si twisted and why were people so against her studying! (view spoiler)[ I honestly found it so stupid that a bunch of people has to vote and decide the fate of another family or the future of a kid. This was too absurd for me and i'm still in shock! How could this be possible... it looked to me that these three families just wanted to stick together with the kids and not offering them a chance to grow and do something with their lives! Why?! And why was Cy so against it?! Gimme a break, he could also choose to do something with his own life than travel around...And the ending.. the opportunity she got was amazing and he still got stubborn! He could have chosen some other path... in all honesty I just feel like I've been left hanging! (hide spoiler)]I don't really understand why this book has such a high ranking, but I suppose is a matter of taste. I understood and found constructive the why Dessa's struggles were written, but for me personally, the book went slow, with not much to offer, than nerves at the attitude of he family, of the freaking voting system and so on. I would have liked something with more meaning.On the other hand, I like how her struggles were presented and the teen lover quarrel, the absurdity of it and how they actually got back together. I believe that each one of us passed through something similar. But aside this... I couldn't find anything constructive.I'm amazed I even finished... but like I said, I feel deceived :)) I was expecting something more.
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  • Tonya Preece
    January 1, 1970
    Contemporary YA is my jam and I think Lauren Spieller’s Your Destination Is On the Left set itself apart from the rest. Spieller portrayed the fascinating ideas of modern-day nomadism and “found art” quite well. They were woven into the story quite well. Dessa was a relatable character, and I found myself rooting for her in her setbacks and cheering her on in those moments when she took risks. Here’s a line that really grabbed me: “… feel strange, like I’ve been running from something for days, Contemporary YA is my jam and I think Lauren Spieller’s Your Destination Is On the Left set itself apart from the rest. Spieller portrayed the fascinating ideas of modern-day nomadism and “found art” quite well. They were woven into the story quite well. Dessa was a relatable character, and I found myself rooting for her in her setbacks and cheering her on in those moments when she took risks. Here’s a line that really grabbed me: “… feel strange, like I’ve been running from something for days, only to discover I was never being chased.” There’ve been times in my life where I’ve realized the same but wasn’t able to put it so eloquently—those are Spieller’s words and they’re great! Finding your way at that age (17/18) can be so hard, but Dessa had the added frustration of the traveling families’ process of “everybody votes” for major decision-making. Ugh, I can’t imagine! Another excerpt that resonated with me: “… I want to be everything all at once. No choice necessary … traveler. An artist. Daughter. Friend. Failure. Fighter. I want to be the sum of all these parts, no matter how hard it is to fit the pieces together.” Wow, that turns having to choose one tine or the other of the proverbial fork in the road on its head – choose it all, even Failure. Dessa’s journey kept me hooked and had surprises I didn’t predict!
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