Book Review: Love and Other Train Wrecks

Love and Other Train Wrecks
Published By: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Page Count: 368
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Young Adult - Contemporary

Ammy boards a train in Virginia leaving behind a distraught and anxious mother to head to upstate New York to spend time with her father's new family and attend his commitment ceremony to her future stepmother. Ammy has felt like a ping pong ball bouncing from one parent to another for her most of her life, but things have reached a fever pitch since her dad walked out to start a new life. Ammy thought she was firmly on Team Mom in the whole ordeal, but she has decided it's not truly fair for her to have a pick side when the adults are making all the decisions. She is tired of being the one to keep her mom's emotions afloat, so the trip is her first step in asserting her status as Team Switzerland as far as her parents are concerned.

Due to the nature of the implosion of her family, Ammy is hesitant about dating and romance. It's not hard to understand why she is anti-love, but I couldn't help hoping that since this was a contemporary novel that at some point Ammy would let her guard down and experience a once in life time kind of love for herself. I didn't want her life to be tainted by the bad experiences in her parents' marriage.

Things start to go south for Ammy when a handsome stranger sits next to her on the train. Ammy isn't sure how the whole train thing is supposed to work, but her seat-mate seems to be an old pro. Ammy soon learns that the handsome stranger is named Noah and he's also heading to upstate New York; he has planned an amazing evening to woo back his ex-girlfriend. The pair have a tenuous acquaintanceship established when the train stops for unknown reasons. Nobody is sure how long it will take to get them back on the journey, but Ammy and Noah are anxious to reach their destinations. They hatch a crazy plan to get off the train that will lead them down a road full of misadventures. Along the way, the pair will learn what it means to be a friend and that romance can blossom even in the midst of a blizzard. 

The emphasis on loyalty and family in this novel was powerful and thought provoking. I felt for Ammy as she tried to navigate the new family structure she'd been placed in. It's difficult to be a young adult when the world seems to be falling down around you without your consent. I wanted her to find some solutions that would make coping with her two households easier.

Another element I loved was the snowstorm. The weather becomes almost a character of sorts; it would most certainly be labeled the villain. Noah and Ammy must change their course of action based on the whim of the snow which forces them into situations they would never have chosen on their own.

I did have two major issues with this novel. One, the mom in me couldn't get past the fact that Ammy left the train and went off with a stranger. Sure, Noah is handsome and doesn't seem to be a serial killer, but how could Ammy truly know this? By the end of the novel, I knew that Noah was a great guy, but I didn't know that when he first took Ammy's hand and convinced her to jump off the train. I cringed and had to attempt to push the mom side of me down to lose myself in the story. Second, Noah felt fickle to me. He boards the train convinced he's heading to repair his destiny with the love of his life, but Ammy's opinions easily sway him on that front. I didn't understand why he was still in love with someone who had treated him badly so I agreed with Ammy's assessment of the situation, but I still wanted Noah to be a little harder to sway from his goal.

Despite my frustration with the aforementioned issues, I enjoyed this read and would recommend it to those who are fans of contemporary stories with a dose of romance. This one will also have you considering if destiny truly plays a role in our lives or if everything is merely a random occurrence. 

One Last Gripe: Ammy's mother frustrated me. I understand she has some mental health concerns happening, but I was angry that she put Ammy in positions that weren't fair.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: I loved the misadventures. Everything seems to go wrong which makes me love the novel as the characters have to adapt to some pretty frustrating circumstances.

First Sentence: The train isn't as romantic as I thought it would be.

Favorite Character: Ammy

Least Favorite Character: Rina

A twenty-four-hour romance about two teens who meet—and perhaps change their minds about love—on a train ride to Upstate New York in the middle of a snowstorm 

One train ride. Two strangers. 

 Noah is a hopeless romantic. He’s heading back home for one last chance with his first love, whom he broke up with when he went off to college. 

 Ammy doesn’t believe in true love—her parents being prime examples. She’s escaping from a mom who can’t take care of her to a dad who may not even want her. That is, until one winter night when Noah and Ammy find themselves in the same Amtrak car heading to Upstate New York. 

After a train-wreck first encounter between the two of them, the Amtrak train suddenly breaks down due to a snowstorm. Desperate to make it to their destinations, Noah and Ammy have no other option but to travel together. What starts off as a minor detour turns into the whirlwind journey of a lifetime, and over the course of the night they fall in love. But come morning their adventure takes an unexpected turn for the worst. Can one night can really change how they feel about love...and the course of their lives forever?


  1. I really appreciate your comments, especially from a mother's standpoint. I see this type of character a lot -- the ones who go off with other characters they've known for 20 minutes -- and it would not make sense in real life!


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