Destination Unknown by Amy Clipston - Throwback Thursday Review

Throwback Thursday --since I'm taking a Books & Media for Young Adults course this summer, I thought I'd post a contemporary YA review I first wrote in February 2014.

Destination Unknown by Amy Clipston
Title: Destination Unknown
Author: Amy Clipston
Published: 2014 by Zondervan

The Artist Librarian Review: It’s Whitney Richards' 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 mathematics 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.  (Don't many teenagers share those thoughts?)  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, and Whitney attending her alma mater.  Along with the way she treated and referred to Taylor just because he was from a single parent, lower income family … she 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 may have been 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!

[Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader copy from the publisher for review purposes. No compensation was received and the opinions expressed are my own.]

Do you enjoy reading contemporary YA fiction (Christian/Inspirational or general market)?  Why or why not?  Are the school settings realistic, in your opinion?

Destination Unknown by Amy Clipston - Throwback Thursday Review Destination Unknown by Amy Clipston - Throwback Thursday Review Reviewed by The Artist Librarian on 8/06/2015 12:00:00 AM Rating: 5


  1. Sounds like a sweet read! I'll definitely check it out further.

    I really don't think I read enough of YA contemporary. It's not that I don't enjoy it; I do. But, in general, the school settings are NOT realistic and that bugs me. But kudos to the author who can overcome the many clichés of the genre!

  2. I had an untraditional education, so I've always wondered how realistic the high school settings in fiction were. I always like hearing what other people think --that's what I like about my YA lit class this summer. :)


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts! Comments are always welcomed and appreciated. In respect for others, please keep your comments PG/"family friendly" =)

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