The bestselling author of Windfall and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight returns with a meet-cute romance about Hugo and Mae, two teens who are thrown together on a cross-country train trip that will teach them about love, each other, and the futures they can build for themselves.
It’s the perfect idea for a romantic week together: traveling across America by train.
But then Hugo’s girlfriend dumps him. Her parting gift: the tickets for their long-planned last-hurrah-before-uni trip. Only, it’s been booked under her name. Nontransferable, no exceptions.
Mae is still reeling from being rejected from USC’s film school. When she stumbles across Hugo’s ad for a replacement Margaret Campbell (her full name!), she’s certain it’s exactly the adventure she needs to shake off her disappointment and jump-start her next film.
A cross-country train trip with a complete stranger might not seem like the best idea. But to Mae and Hugo, both eager to escape their regular lives, it makes perfect sense. What starts as a convenient arrangement soon turns into something more. But when life outside the train catches up to them, can they find a way to keep their feelings for each other from getting derailed?
Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language, Mild sexual themes
Booklist (December 15, 2018 (Vol. 115, No. 8))
Grades 9-12. Hugo’s used to not having anything that’s really his own: as one of the semifamous Surrey Six, he and his five sextuplet siblings have secured a scholarship to the local university. But before he commits to the foreseeable future in England, Hugo’s going to have one little slice of freedom: a train trip he’s taking across America with his girlfriend. But then Margaret dumps him. And suddenly Hugo is left with two train tickets in her name that he can’t use—unless he finds another Margaret Campbell. Enter Mae, who has just been rejected from USC’s film school. Hugo’s ad seems crazy, but at her grandmother’s urging, Mae finds herself lying to her dads and boarding a train, where she hopes she’ll find material for a new film. Smith returns to the conceit that made The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (2012) succeed: travel as a vehicle for romance. Both Hugo and Mae’s alternating viewpoints are rich and introspective, and this will appeal to any teen that appreciates a thoughtful love story.
Kirkus Reviews starred (December 15, 2018)
Hugo Wilkinson, one of the “Surrey Six” sextuplets from Surrey, England, has been looking forward to a train trip across America with his girlfriend, Margaret Campbell. It would be a rare moment away from his siblings and the public scrutiny that will only get worse when they all enter university on a scholarship from a wealthy alumnus. But Hugo is blindsided when Margaret breaks up with him and he realizes her name is the only one on all their nonrefundable, nontransferable tickets and reservations. Margaret “Mae” Campbell lives in Hudson Valley, New York, with two loving gay dads and a doting Nana and was rejected by her dream film school. Discovering Hugo’s post seeking another Margaret Campbell to travel with, she applies to join him. After some initial awkwardness, the two form a connection. Hugo is loyal to his siblings, but he secretly wants something different for himself. Mae, who appears confident, has kept a part of herself hidden. As they travel, she interviews passengers, and their revelations spark a change in her. This warm, romantic, never overly sentimental story is told with humor and heart, the cinematic narrative easily moving between the two likable, charming protagonists. The well-portrayed supporting cast members, especially Hugo’s siblings and Mae’s Nana, appear in texts and video calls, providing insight into the protagonists. Hugo is biracial (black and white), and Mae is white. A deeply satisfying read about a life-changing journey full of poignant moments. (Romance. 12-18)
About the Author
Jennifer E. Smith is the author of seven novels for young adults, including The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. She earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and her work has been translated into thirty-three languages. She lives in New York City.
Her website is www.tinaconnolly.com.
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