Home and Away by Candice Montgomery

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Tasia Quirk is young, Black, and fabulous. She’s a senior, she’s got great friends, and a supportive and wealthy family. She even plays football as the only girl on her private high school’s team.

But when she catches her mamma trying to stuff a mysterious box in the closet, her identity is suddenly called into question. Now Tasia’s determined to unravel the lies that have overtaken her life. Along the way, she discovers what family and forgiveness really mean, and that her answers don’t come without a fee. An artsy bisexual boy from the Valley could help her find them—but only if she stops fighting who she is, beyond the color of her skin.

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**I received an ARC of this – thank you so much to Page Street Publishing but it didn’t change my opinion at all**

I highs and lows with this novel, and I’m not sure what to do with myself. There were things that I really liked, but there were parts that had me frustrated. I even thought about bringing out my Elsa rating at some points, because I felt so conflicted about it (Elsa is my rating for books that I literally cannot figure out a proper crown rating because I can never figure out my true feelings for this ice queen…Disney princess? SEE. IDK WHAT TO EVEN CALL HER.)

There was a lot to like about this novel. I think the best part about it was its messiness – with its characters, their actions, and the situation that they’re in. There is no “right” way to react when your world has been literally turned upside down the way that Tasia’s is, and a lot of the things that happened felt SO real and relatable. There were moments that I was frustrated with things that Tasia was doing, but also, like, I got it. Tasia’s world is rocked, and even if she did things I wouldn’t have done, I still GOT them. She’s angry and frustrated and you could just feel her pain through the pages. Everyone in this book felt like a person that was out in the real world and could connect with. Montgomery truly had a talent with bringing the real life messiness that would come with the secret and not just tidying everything up with the rainbow and unicorn haze that YA does sometimes. I really loved that.

I did like our cast of characters for the most part as well. Each was dynamic, different, and you could always pinpoint who was who. I really liked Slim, Tasia’s best friend, and Tristan, Tasia’s brother. They were stars for me for this novel. Tasia was a pretty good narrator as well. Her voice shines through with every page, and I did feel for her quite a bit. Even when I got frustrated with her actions or the story, I still rooted for her, because I was invested in her story.

Montgomery’s writing was pretty good. It’s pretty easy to read. I still felt compelled to finish the story. There was never really a big draw with the story with me, so I was able to set it down and not want to pick it back up for a while.

One of the biggest issues for me was the pacing. At times, I felt like decisions were reached with a very short amount of times. Like, Tasia’s decision to move in with Merrick was SO quick. I understand she needed to get away from her family, but I feel like she maybe should have had an internal conversation about it or a few pages of thinking it over before it was reached. Instead, the truth came out and next thing I know, she’s moving in with Merrick. I mean, like, this girl here would be having paranoid delusions for like 20 pages before every moving in with someone, so I wanted like, at least a page. The romance with Kai came fast and furious as well.

Some other plot lines were picked up and dropped off as well. We could go long periods of time without talking about Tasia’s football playing and her search for the person that sent her the box, and it didn’t seem to follow a flow as much as I wanted to since I would forget about certain things.

As I mentioned before, the romance between Kai and Tasia was an interesting one as well. Like, there were a lot of leaps in this romance that didn’t quite work for me. I needed a lot more build up for them. Like, their third or fourth time interacting with each other after a few paragraphs, it’s already getting way too deep. And then they sped so quickly into the gf/bf department that I literally blinked and found them together. And then they were dropping “I love you’s” SO quickly. I was flustered because I didn’t quite see where they came together so so quickly?? Instalove for sure. And I felt no chemistry at alllllllllllllll between them? I mean, they had cute moments, but there was nothing that really was like YESSSSSSS, SHIPS, FEELS, SWOONS. It was like eh? I think part of this could be because Kai is technically her adopted uncle? He’s her age and such, and she’s never known this part of the family, but like, the moment I see “part of the family” feels are instantly gone for me? You will never be seeing this girl into the whole “I’m in love with my stepbrother” plot lines (Wattpad forever broke me on that).

And one of my last issues was some of the characters’ actions. The biggest issue that I had was Tasia’s and Kai’s friend group. Like, I didn’t get them? Everyone always warns her that Kai will hurt her and mess up, and like, I don’t usually talk about my friends this way??? Two of them are in love with Kai and intensely upset/jealous over their relationship ending. They continuously are jerks to Tasia and actively try to get with Kai, and Tasia is still mostly good with them? LIKE WHY. And she struggles allllllllllll the time with forgiveness and talking with her family, but once she solves the big mystery of the box, it’s a very hasty forgiveness moment, which I didn’t fully get.

Belle thought there should be more reading in this book. There was none, and she wasn’t okay.

I do like the ending quite a bit. It wasn’t a big nice happy HEA. There were a lot of things that were quite open-ended, and I think Montgomery did a wonderful job with showcasing just what real life is like. You’re not just going to get a perfect little bow to fix up the problems. It felt very hopeful and like such a fitting end.

Also, girl football players = so much epicness. Tasia had a lot of strength in this novel – mental, emotional, and physical, and this was just another way to showcase it. I loved reading how fierce she was in her love of the sport.

Overall, this book had a lot of ups and downs for me, but I loved the realness of it and the way Montgomery drew me. I had some issues with the romance and the pacing, but I did really enjoy the cast of characters and the plot. I’m going to put an end to this long review now, so 3 crowns and a Belle rating!


What do you think? What was the last book that confused you? What book was the lat book to prompt you to do a really long review? Let’s discuss in the comments below!


4 thoughts on “Home and Away by Candice Montgomery

  1. I am kind of sad to see all these “meh” reviews for this book. It sounded really promising. At least it sounded as if there were some things to like, even if you didn’t love it.

    Liked by 1 person

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