A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Love and Other Train Wrecks is a road trip romance between 17-year-old Ammy and college freshman Noah, and it's a fine choice for teen romance fans. Sexual content is mild, with no graphic or extended descriptions, but kissing for hours is mentioned and a "hookup" is an important part of Noah's past. Profanity is rare but includes "f--k," "s--t," and variations of each. Overall messages and role models are positive, especially about family loyalty, sacrificing your own happiness to avoid hurting others, and having the courage to stop dwelling on the past.
What's the story?
In LOVE AND OTHER TRAIN WRECKS, Ammy (17) and Noah (18) meet on an Amtrak train during winter break. Noah is desperate to get home to surprise his ex-girlfriend, and hopefully win her back. Ammy's also desperate to get to her father's wedding on time, and she's especially excited to spend more time with her soon-to-be stepsister, Kat. The train suddenly stops in the middle of nowhere, and officials predict it'll take several hours to get the train moving again. Noah convinces Ammy they can catch a bus that'll beat the train, and all they have to do is get off and hike a mile through the woods. One wrong turn leads to another, of course. As their adventure continues over the course of 24 hours, they start to fall for each other. They resist as long as they can, but just when they can't help falling truly and deeply in love, Ammy learns a devastating truth that means she can never see Noah again.
Is it any good?
Author Leah Konen gives romance fans a fun and engaging story, if not a very original one, that'll charm fans even as they easily predict what happens next. Love and Other Train Wrecks manages to feel just fresh enough, thanks to the quirky, well-developed Ammy and Noah. Switching back and forth between their points of view helps us get to know them better, keeps the story moving, and even provides a few laughs as we see how they say or don't say what they mean, and (mis)interpret each other's words and actions.
Konen's got most of the boxes checked that romance fans are looking for. Meet cute? Check. Tormented by the past? Check. Crazy family? Check. Unaware of how attractive they are? Check. Readers who aren't romance fans, or who aren't willing to just go along for the ride, may find so many clichés exasperating. But teens who love romance and adventure will enjoy Ammy and Noah's story right through to the end.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the romance in Love and Other Train Wrecks. Is it realistic? Why, or why not?
What are some of your favorite romances? How does this one compare?
Ammy points out when Noah patronizes her for her athletic ability. What does that mean? Have you ever been patronized by someone? What did you do?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.