Flynn, Amos, and Poppy represent the spectrum of adolescence as well as a dysfunctional, nontraditional, and white family. Their parents have been through multiple marriages with added instabilities of affairs, aloof-ism, and alcoholism. The by-products of different marriage combinations, the siblings find themselves once again caught in the selfish throes of their parents’ latest whims. In an effort to buy off the family’s understanding, the parents—who are already in Bora Bora—decide to fly Amos, Flynn, and Poppy out for an extravagant boat ride to break the news of their upcoming separation. When ten-year-old Poppy relays her suspicions to Amos and Flynn, they decide to runaway during their layover at LAX. The Hangover-style, the youth meet up with Flynn’s latest crush and find themselves touring LA, attending parties, and going to Disneyland, mostly all with the wrong crowd. During this newly found freedom, Amos and Flynn must reconcile their romantic feelings toward each other as stepsiblings while nurturing Poppy, who suffers from severe anxiety and what can only be assumed as parental neglect.
A young adult but borderline middle grade read, The Layover skims over themes of family, love, mental health, and growing up. Andelson and Meyer fail in regards to depth, instead selling out for fluff: loss of virginity, partying, money, and alcohol use. The writing is simple, and the varying perspective chapters appear contrived with the occasional confusion and inconsistency of voice amongst the characters. The one-dimensional, stereotypical protagonists and predictable plot make this title a barely tolerable read. I feel like I just watched a cheesy yet dying tween sitcom. I could not in good faith recommend The Layover to any reader.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Crown Books for Young Readers for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Layover by Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer (Crown Books for Young Readers, 2018)
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