Author: Paula Stokes
Release Date: January 8, 2017
Summary: 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. (Goodreads)
*I received an advance eBook copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion.*
I can’t think of another scenario where I’ve felt like a book was written just for me. I love Paula and her YA work but this NA romance blew me away. She was already an auto-buy author but if she keeps pubbing these romances I will pre-order and stalk the internet for ARC opportunities every single time.
I’m the first to admit that I have a very large collection of book boyfriends. Write me a kind, swoony boy and I will 100% try to lay claim to him for me and me alone but this time is different. Tyson is quite literally my dream man; all his character traits, his humor, physical attributes…all things I dream of one day maybe finding in a partner. This drew me into the story and the build up of the characters even more than the adorable romance and awesome adventure would have had it not been such a perfect fit. I can’t even lie I spent a lot of the book being extremely jealous of Oakland and her time with him…nobody said I was a rational person when it comes to romance novels, okay?
Another huge factor in why I adore this book so much is the strong friendship theme and how amazing the actual relationships between the friends are. They are so supportive of one another and at the same time care enough to call their partner in crime out on their BS when it’s needed. The friendship between Oakland and Morgan is goals and what I hope to see female friendship portrayed as more often in literature. While things like Mean Girls are entertaining and have their moments I hate the overwhelming tendency to depict female friendships as constantly toxic and combative. Gimme a bestie who will traipse across Thailand and who will genuinely tell me when I’m being “extra”.
I love travel but never really considered myself as having wanderlust. Paula just gave me that though. This journey that Oakland, Morgan, and the boys go on is so freakin’ epic that I almost immediately wanted to pack up a suitcase and hop on the first flight to somewhere interesting at Pearson. As their escapades continued that feeling only grew stronger. The Key to Everything is an awesome adventure while simultaneously being an amazing romance story. I also found the snippets of Thai culture to be fascinating and I definitely would love to learn more about them now!
Thing aren’t all fluffy and puppies and rainbows in this story but I love that raw aspect to it. Things in life aren’t easy or perfect and part of the beauty of the novel is the pain and struggling each character experiences. This leads to the equally amazing growth we see in the characters as they make their way across the country. Perfect man + adorable romance + amazing friendships + awesome adventure + wicked character growth? Paula, you spoil me! I also loved that the end wasn’t your run-of-the-mill HEA. It made it feel that much more real and it was weird to look up from my iPad and be like oh wait…I’m actually still here in cold-ass Toronto.