Travel Di­aries of the Dead and Delu­sional

Lau­ren Ni­colle Tay­lor

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Young Adult Fiction - HAN­NAH WIL­LIAMS

Clean Teen Pub­lish­ing (FE­BRU­ARY) Soft­cover $10.95 (325pp), 978-1-63422-320-1

Travel Di­aries of the Dead and Delu­sional is a haunt­ing com­ing-of-age story that fol­lows two lost teenagers as they fight de­mons from their pasts.

Nine­teen-year-old Lan­g­ley is trou­bled, but she wants to stay that way. She suf­fers from hal­lu­ci­na­tions and trau­matic night­mares, in­clud­ing some that fea­ture her dead sis­ter, Sarah, whom she’s not ready to let go of. Mean­while, Tup­per is on a road trip, fol­low­ing his de­parted mother’s di­ary like a map and fo­cus­ing on life’s beauty.

When Tup­per sees Lan­g­ley tum­bling down the road, he takes an un­planned de­tour and de­cides to of­fer her a ride. They form a deep con­nec­tion, ac­cept­ing each other in their own bro­ken states.

The story fol­lows three points of view, each of­fer­ing a dif­fer­ent piece to the puz­zle that con­nects the char­ac­ters to­gether. Al­though they each pro­vide valu­able con­tent, the sec­tions are short; in their al­lot­ted space, it is dif­fi­cult to fully grasp each char­ac­ter’s essence.

Lan­g­ley’s hal­lu­ci­na­tions are de­scrip­tive and writ­ten in in­tense de­tail. It is easy to ac­cept and be­lieve what she ex­pe­ri­ences, even though her sis­ter is no longer alive. Lan­g­ley’s me­mories con­vey Sarah’s char­ac­ter with elab­o­rate prose.

Pow­er­ful lines are etched through­out the story, and all five senses are uti­lized to de­scribe scenes and events:

Right there with the dark pur­ple clouds smash­ing against each other and the moon try­ing to push against the storm … [the] light­ning takes over. Lan­g­ley and Tup­per’s re­la­tion­ship is au­then­tic and sweet, even though it is rapid to form. They are young, plum­met­ing into life full force, and they are happy to go to­gether.

A story of love and loss, ad­ven­ture, and com­ing into one’s own, Travel Di­aries of the Dead and Delu­sional is a thought­ful, poignant road trip ad­ven­ture that de­liv­ers hope through its melancholy.

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