J.P. Monninger weaves poignant truths about what really matters in life in the fictional encounter of two young adults, Heather and Jack, in the novel The Map that Leads to You. Chance brings the two twenty-somethings together while each is on their own journey across Europe. Heather is traveling as a college graduation present to herself and last hurrah before she enters the hectic and fast paced corporate world. Jack is on a trip of rediscovery, following the journal his beloved grandfather wrote as he made his way home after WWII.
I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover so this is going to sound really nit picky but, the only reason I gave the story 4.75 starts was because of the title. Maybe I just wasn’t seeing it, but I felt like the story never fit with title and that bothered me. In my mind the title is a synopsis of what the book is about and I never got that with The Map that Leads to You. That is really a petty concern considering how much I enjoyed the book. J.P. does a wonderful job of giving the reader all the aspects of a great story; solid/personable characters, great visual storytelling, and an intriguing plot. From start to finish the story is engaging because of the great dialogue, budding romance, and its ability to bring out feelings and emotions in the reader. Not only did I feel excited for Heather and Jack but I was reminded of how I felt as I fell in love with my husband 22 years ago.
If this was all there was to say about the book it would be well worth reading. But, in addition to being great fiction, J.P. was able to make me think about what is important in my own life and what am I doing to cherish and nurture the things that mean the most. I appreciate the skill an author must have to make the reader evaluate the condition of their own heart and life just by reading a fictional story. There is no lecturing or philosophical waxing just a profound story that will touch your heart. Its a great weekend read and appropriate for older teens.