The Key to Everything is a newly-released new adult (NA) novel brimming with beautiful locations, stellar friends and character growth. New Adult books, I feel, are only just starting to really make themselves known so when I heard that Paula Stokes was releasing one, I jumped at the chance to read The Key to Everything.
There are so many things I loved about this book: strong female friendship, character growth, gorgeous locations, no insta-love. Plus it was an enjoyable read. It’s the perfect book to take you on a vacation without actually going on vacation.
I was kindly provided with an eARC to review. All opinions (and any factual mistakes) that follow are my own. I’ll try to avoid any spoilers. This isn’t too long so I won’t provide the usual TL;DR.
The Key to Everything
Author: Paula Stokes
Genre(s): New Adult, Contemporary
Publisher(s): Paula Stokes
Publication date: 2 January 2018
Series type: Stand alone
Buy a copy here:
College senior Oakland Fuller has always believed in signs and soulmates, so when both a therapist and a fortuneteller say that her repeated relationship failures are due to unresolved feelings for her high school boyfriend, Seth, Oakland tries desperately to get back in touch with him. Problem: Seth isn’t responding to her online messages.
To rescue Oakland from a pathetic Christmas break of sitting in front of the computer, her best friend Morgan books the two of them on a guided excursion of Thailand. When the girls meet a pair of American soldiers in Bangkok, Oakland takes Morgan’s advice and engages in a little harmless holiday hooking up. Sergeant Tyson Banks is the perfect mix of sexy and fun. Two weeks with him might just turn out to be the best relationship Oakland has ever had.
Until the day she spots someone familiar across a crowded temple complex—it’s Seth! Somehow the boy she’s been trying to reconnect with is in Bangkok too. If that’s not a sign, then what is?
Filed with friendship, romance, and gorgeous faraway settings, The Key to Everything is a book for anyone who’s ever dreamed of finding love when (or where) they least expected it.
Thank you so very much, Paula Stokes, for sending me an eARC to review.
I’d like to start off by saying that I needed to adjust to reading a NA book right after reading a young adult (YA) one but once I did, I really enjoyed The Key to Everything and could not put it down.
The Key to Everything starts off my introducing the reader to Oakland and Morgan. The friendship between these two is one of my favorite things about this book. It such an important aspect of the plot and pushes a lot of the character growth. Sometimes I think was rooting more for the friendship than for the romantic relationship. 😅 #TeamOakgan
My other favorite thing was the growth Oakland went through. I’m a total sucker for character growth in a book and there was a boatload of that in this book. Some of it was a bit predictable but I still really enjoyed Oakland’s character arc.
I also really enjoyed ‘seeing’ Thailand. The descriptions of what it was like to visit the locations were detailed (without going over the top) and were full of quirky details. It definitely made me feel like I was a tourist hopping around Thailand. There were also a lot of moments that caught me by surprise and made me laugh.
Another thing I really liked about the book was how the characters were realistic about their relationships. A lot of the characters are at a crossroads in their lives and the epic decisions they’ll be making and its implications were woven into the story quite naturally. They didn’t fall into insta-love (yay!) and knew that their relationships while on vacation may not be the same when the vacation is over. I really liked this and it helped me buy into the story.
But there were two things of which I wasn’t a fan. The first was how some parts of the plot were a bit too neatly tied up. I won’t go into specifics but it wasn’t the main story line – mostly the little connectors in the story. The second is how Oakland, the main character, chooses to act and how the characters around her react to those choices. To be fair, these choices are part of her character arc but I think the reaction to them was much more subdued than they should have been.
There was a lot that I liked about The Key to Everything and once things got going, I couldn’t put it down. The things I loved largely outweighed the things I didn’t like and I wouldn’t mind rereading this book in the near future. If I had to rate it out of 5 stars, it would be a solid 4 stars.
Memorable line: “Real love – or soulmates, if that’s a thing – it doesn’t vanish because two people aren’t together. It doesn’t dissipate across time and space.”