Cover Image: Bend in the Road

Bend in the Road

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Member Reviews

Bend in the Road is perfect for YA fans of Morgan Matson, Jenny Han, and Sonia Hartl. With a small-town feel, this story has a big heart. Sara Biren writes such complex and emotional love stories for teens. She really captures the big feelings that come along with a first love.
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I love reading books set in Minnesota.  Gabe is a teen rock star whose second album is not as successful as his first.  After his girlfriend has a breakdown and Gabe is caught on camera having a panic attack he flees to Minnesota where his dad is from to live on his grandma farm to get away from LA for a while.  There he meets Juniper, who lives on the farm with her mom.  Gabe enrolls in the local high school and Juniper is giving him ride every day even though Juniper wishes he could drive himself.  Soon though, they both find our theres more than meets the eye.
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First book I’ve read from this author and I’m dying for another. It was very cutesy, and full of southern charm. Some of the characters felt a little whiney to me but overall a great read.
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*Read in April 2021*

As a Midwestern farm girl, I could relate to many aspects of rural life depicted in this story. I loved how much the farm meant to Juniper and how she wanted to stay true to her small town roots. This is the type of character and setting not often present in contemporary YA. I also think Gabe's love of writing and performing music will appeal to many teen readers who have similar aspirations. I was wanting more with the ending, but overall this was an enjoyable  story I will recommend for school and classroom libraries.
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Sara Biren's Bend in the Road is a book that I will add to classroom libraries. Bend in the Road is a perfect young adult romance book that ties into the midwest culture so perfectly being that Biren is a midwest author. She does a phenomenal job of describing the midwest nature, farms, and farmer's market. Gabe and Juniper's story is what all teens are looking to read about with just the right amount of romance and be a good person thrown together.
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Gabe, a rockstar with a recently terrible album, was just publicly dumped and betrayed by his long term girlfriend. He decided to go back to his family farm to escape for a while. There, he runs into Juniper, an old family friend. However, one of his secrets makes their relationship more complicated. This book was the perfect fun escape. I loved getting to know Gabe and Juniper and see their story unfold. The writing was excellent and the book went by so quickly. I did find it to be a bit anticlimactic, as the story leads up to this one really big scene that just didn't seem to have the punch it was meant to have. However, the journey to get there was so fun. I loved getting to see the world through a teenage rockstar's eyes. His relationship with the farm and his secret always kept the book interesting and kept me on my toes. This was a great story!
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This was a perfect summer read and paired nicely with gardening season. While there was a decent amount of story about the farm and greenhouse,  I would have loved more attention there. The romance was cute but also didn't seem to be very exciting, it just slowly happened and that was that, the buildup was a bit lacking.
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This is the third book I have read by Sara Biren and they continue to get better and better.  This is a wonderful YA romance but is also filled with the pain of losing your way, losing those you love and rediscovering who you are.  This is the story of Gabe, a teenage rockstar who has fallen from grace. When he returns home to the family farm in Minnesota,  he is reunited with Juniper Blue, a friend of the family and the girl who challenges him like no one has before.  This is their story, but it is also one that focuses on the relationships between fathers and sons and mothers and daughters, as well as friendship andn grief.  I really enjoyed Biren's writing style and the way the characters developed and I can't wait to read the next book she writes! Thank you netgalley for this arc in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Thank you so much to NetGalley and ABRAMS Kids for an advance digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions stated are entirely my own. I enjoyed this book. It was a really fun, cute, and quick read but also had an added layer of depth to it. The book is about a teen rockstar being forced to move back to a family farm after he has trouble with his celebrity girlfriend and produces a flop second album. He rediscovers himself at the farm and forms a special relationship with a girl named Juniper. He learns more about himself, his family, and the farm. I thought the book was good and most of the characters in the book were pretty likable. My only complaint is that I wish the book went more in-depth with some of the characters and storylines in the book. There were also some issues I felt needed a bit more resolving at the end of the book. All in all, it was a fun read that I would recommend to YA contemporary fans.
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I am definitely hooked with reading Sarah Biren now. A troubled rockstar inherits a family home that he only somewhat remembers. Here he runs into the estate caretakers daughter. She just wants to live a simple life on the farm but Gabe may need to sell the farm to fix his problems. Will Juniper be able to show Gabe that the farm and family is worth everything before it is too late. I read this in one day. A great read and I am looking forward to her next book. Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Bend in the Road in exchange for an honest review.

I'm not going to lie, straight-person farm romances are definitely not my genre so I may not be the best authority here, but this one seemed well done! Biren does a good job of sticking to a lot of the hallmarks of the straight-romance genre while still giving her characters (Juniper in particular) clear, distinct character voices and motives. 

It seems like the Goodreads page for this somehow got combined with one of Biren's previous works so just for clarity, this review is about Bend in the Road, not whatever book a character named Ben is from.
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This book was cute. I like the story premise and the romance felt real. I absolutely loved the setting and really wish I could visit Stone and Wool. I do wish we got a little more of the side characters like Amelia and Ted. Whenever they popped in I really enjoyed them so I wish they popped in a little more. Overall a quick, cute read that made me long to be on a farm in Minnesota.
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The beginning was a little slower than I hoped but overall it was a great read! Biren knows how to write characters that you love! 4.5 stars
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Bend in the Road by Sara Biren
Publication Date: September 21, 2021

After paparazzi photos go viral of what appears to be Gabe on drugs with his girlfriend/life-long best friend, Gabe flees Los Angeles for safety of the small Minnesota town where his father grew up. There he encounters Juniper whose family is responsible for managing his father’s farm when he’s away touring. When Juniper learns that Gabe is about to inherit the farm and sell it she tries to get close to him to stop that from happening. The more time they spend together Juniper realizes that a lot of what she’s read about Gabe might not be true and Gabe realizes there might be more to life on the farm. 

I requested this book simply because the description describes it as a “steamy YA romance” and I was intrigued as to what that was like. Steamy it is not, at least from the perspective of a 30 year-old who reads a heck of a lot of romance novels. Even if I try to put myself in the mind of a teenager I don’t think I’d describe it as steamy. When I think steamy young adult novels, I think of the water scene between Reid and Lou in Blood & Honey or scenes between Rowan and Aelin in the Throne of Glass series. So if that’s what you’re looking for you might be disappointed. 

I however do think this is a super cute and heartwarming YA romance. I loved the tropey “rock star returns to a small town to find himself and ends up falling in love.” Swoon. It was made even more adorable by the fact she was a farmer. Gabe and Juniper had cute chemistry which kept me totally engaged throughout the book. Their differences and their problems they each face were not only believable but realistic. 

There was one thing that didn’t make sense to me was the fact that Gabe owes money which is the main reason he’s interested in selling the family farm but then at one point he brought in an architect to make the farm into a studio. How does he do that without any money? I was confused by this plot point. 

As always, my thanks to #NetGalley and #AbramsKids for an ARC of this super sweet book.
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WOW, another fantastically written book by Sara Biren where she sucks you into the lives of the characters. Bend in the Road was such a great book. I just loved the story of  Juniper and Gabe,  After running from his problems in L.A. rock star Gabe returns to his family's farm and learns when he turns 18 he will inherit the property. Juniper whose family has run the farm forever is worried that Gabe might sell it so she comes up with a plan to get close to him. But, Juniper soon realizes that she's starting to catch feelings for Gabe. So, what will happen when Juniper's plan backfires and Gabe finds out? GREAT BOOK  I can't wait to read what Sara writes next.
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