Review: “The Scenic Route,” Devan Sipher

Pros: Fun turns of phrase; clever plotting
Cons: Depressing; annoying characters
Rating: 3 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group
Expected release date: June 3, 2014


In Devan Sipher’s The Scenic Route, Naomi and Austin take a meandering, fitful series of wrong turns and extended detours on their way to falling in love. I’m having trouble figuring out what to say next about it, because that pretty much encapsulates the entire story.

There are some delightful little quirks and tidbits, such as this one that opens the book:

It was the first day of July, which meant that Austin Gittleman had 183 days to find a New Year’s date.

Austin Gittleman was the kind of guy who thought about such things. Not in an obsessive way. But when it came to emotional crises, he liked to shop early and avoid the rush.

The Scenic Route is at its best when it tosses out such delightful bits of characterization. While most of the characters aren’t exactly likeable, it can be both painful and fun to watch the inevitable ups, downs, and complete crash-and-burns that epitomize their relationships. On the other hand, I kept getting the two leads’ mothers confused throughout the entire book.

It’s depressing watching Austin and Naomi stumble into relationship after relationship with other people, particularly when each is clearly a holding-pattern, good-enough sort of thing that inevitably won’t end well. It’s nice when they finally find their way back to each other and all, but the in-between was, well, to repeat myself, depressing.

I knew that The Scenic Route wasn’t my normal sort of read going in, but I figured it could be fun to try something new. Mostly I just found out that these stories of semi-likeable people bumbling through life and missing all their important connections really aren’t my cup of tea.

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