Cover Image: Bend in the Road

Bend in the Road

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Member Reviews

A perfect slow-burn YA romance novel! I loved the small town farm setting and the idea of getting back to your roots. This is the first book I’ve read from Sara Biren and it won’t be the last! I loved her writing style and her development of characters.
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This was such a cute book about a kid celeb that has to move back to his hometown after some bad luck and press. If you love a good enemies to lovers ya book that also has a country/Midwest vibe this is the book for you!
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I liked the backstory of our famous rockstar and made you really pot for him…. But juniper needed more and she frustrated me with her lack of character development. The small town setting was idyllic and beautiful, perfect for this YA romance. The love story itself was sweet and the friends to HEA was a slow burn and then BOOM. Maybe a little too quick from lovers to forever for some but the slow build in their friendship made up for that, just maybe a bit more steam ;) required for me to love this story.
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This book for me was a roller coaster but I also felt like I just couldn't connect with the book in ways that I would've wanted to.
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"Get in there and cry it out and start growing things again, because life is short and you've got to live in the sunshine."

I'm having a really tough time rating this one, because I absolutely adored the small town setting, the atmosphere, and the storyline regarding the farm alongside the relationship dynamics between the families, but the romance portion of this book was 😴😴😴. It took me almost a week to read a book that I could have typically devoured in less than 48 hours, mostly because I just couldn't connect to Gabe's character. I found myself more interested in Juniper's narration, and by the time the author started bringing the two together, I found my interest had fled out the back door. In fact, if this book was just a contemporary romance and took out the romance portion altogether, I think I would have rated it at least one star higher. If you enjoy small town, country vibes, definitely give this one a try for yourself.
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There is a lot to like about Sara Biren's new novel 'Bend in the Road'. Gabe Hudson has hit a rough patch. After a critically acclaimed first album, he has hit the headlines for a poor second album and his ex-girlfriend entering rehab (again). Gabe also finds himself in money troubles after lending said ex-girlfriend a huge sum he is afraid he will never see again. Cue running off to rural Minnesota to hide away on his grandmother's farm. Here, he starts to get to know Juniper who teaches him a great deal about appreciating life and finding happiness in the natural world. Will he sell the farm and go back to his former life or find happiness in a simpler existence?

I like the characters in this novel and loved the small town rural setting where everyone seems to be related and look out for each other. It felt like a joyous little rural community I would love to just get lost in. I also enjoyed getting to know Gabe and Juniper, in particular their fractious initial relationship blossoming into something much more romantic. It was nice to see Gabe grapple with his demons and find a way to balance his love of music with connecting with his true self. 

The pacing at the end was where the book lost me slightly. Biren does a great job of turning Gabe and Juniper's bickering into something more sparky and flirtatious. However, this descended into deep love, and planning for the future, in about five pages which felt slightly unrealistic, particularly given the pair have not yet graduated from high school. I loved how they grew as people due to their relationship but perhaps the note we leave them on needs to be toned down slightly (or have a nice little skip forward epilogue so we can see how they navigate their new-found circumstances when they are older and wiser??)

Overall, a heart-warming read with likeable characters and a lovely community setting, let down slightly by the very end. 3.5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher who provided an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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one thing i really liked was that we got to see the plot about gabe being famous. i honestly really liked to see as this real big celebrity and i really liked to see him kind of figure out her whole life and that we should have seen more of it. and i think it was just so cool to see this celebrity in this small town and to figure out his life. and i really liked that it didn't just focus on the romance and the celebrity aspect of it all. and i also really liked to see the talk about the relationship with the fathers and the sons and also mothers and daughters between it all. and i think it was just so cool to see all of this. and also all of the talk about friendship and grief, and i think it was honestly so cool.
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Thank you NetGalley and Amulet books for sending me this E-Arc in exchange for an honest review. 

This was utter perfection. Just last week I told someone my YA romance phase was over but this honestly blew every other YA book I’ve read out of the water.

It was mature, beautiful, realistic and poetic. I was rooting so so hard for Gabe and Juniper. I loved their love. 

The setting was beautiful, the farm was right there in front of me and I felt like I was living this story. 

Juniper has to be one of my favourite characters of all time. She’s quirky and beautiful and inspiring. A real role model for young girls and women. 

Sara, this is gorgeous and you should be so proud.
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This was a cute read. The plot was straightforward and easy to follow, it was a little cliche in places but it was interesting and enjoyable to read. I felt that the chemistry between Juniper and Gabe could have been a little deeper but it was fine and their interactions got progressively cuter. I enjoyed Juniper as a character much more than I did Gabe and felt that she had a lot more depth and character development. 

Overall I enjoyed this, it was a quick read and I'd be interested in reading more from the author. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.
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“I love you Juniper. I love everything about you, even when you’re extra salty, especially when you’re extra salty.”

Ive been a long time Fangirl of this author and her beautiful books. But this book was just so much more and I’m completely head over heals in love with Juniper & Gabe. I want to Hike and sit by the fire and I want to watch these two characters fall in love all over again. Grief, anxiety, hate to love and hope with the most important thing forgiveness with yourself. 

I can’t wait for my hardback to arrive and see what colour the ink is this time. Also to add a copy to my personal library. It’s going to look so pretty with the authors other two books. 


*I was gifted a copy from the publisher & netgalley for review in exchange for my honest review.
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Bend in the Road by Sara Biren a surprising five-star rad. I will be honest I was surprised how much I loved this story, as I was a little worried when I realised the age of the main characters, as if not done well they can be a little immature, but honestly the maturity of these characters despite their age blew me away. They aren’t always the most sensible, but they have heart and behave like most of us would. Juniper Blue was so good you could see why songs were written about her, especially Gabe, I could see why he would write beautiful music, troubled souls usually do. Never before have I wanted to go to the Midwest so much, the descriptions of Stone and wool farm, as well as the town. This has been a great story, and I have enjoyed reading so much, I will be certain to check out this author again.
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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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