Cover Image: Four for the Road

Four for the Road

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Member Reviews

Four for the Road is an emotional story about grief and loss. How it twists inside of us and makes us not notice the world still turning. It can hollow us out and set off chain reactions in our day. These little moments and memories which haunt us. But what really got my heart were the scenes where Asher tries to protect his sister and the knowledge that we can never protect the ones we love from everything. That it's just an essential knowledge to life. Four for the Road is emotional from beginning to end.

It begins with this fact that grief and loss feels inherently unfair. Unfair that our lives have changed so fundamentally and that for others, their worlds have continued onwards. That we are living in this new reality so separate from others, where they wake up every day and don't think about this hole in their life. And then Four for the Road becomes a story about mystery. It propels readers through as we wonder how it will resolve. Because resentment and revenge brought to life is something different than our dreams.
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Asher’s mom was killed by a drunk driver driving a semi truck that caused his mom to crash. He starts going to grief support groups where he makes three friends -Henry, Sloan and Will. He convinces them all to take a road trip with him under the illusion they are taking Henry on a trip he and his dead wife never got to take but Asher is really taking a trip to finally get his revenge on the man who killed his mother. 

I really enjoyed this book. There were only a few things I wasn’t super in love with but I loved the way the writer portrayed Asher’s grief and the way he and his friend dealt it hit together. 

I’ve never read anything by this author before but I will definitely be checkin* out anything else they have written.
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Five-star book alert! Four for the Road is hands-down one of my favorite books of 2022. This YA novel hooked me from the first page, and it was a book that I both wanted to keep reading because I loved it and that I never wanted to end because these characters felt like family. And now I want everyone else to read it because it is so good!

Here’s what you need to know: Asher’s mom is dead and he’s not handling it well. She died in a fiery car crash exactly twelve months, three weeks, one day, six hours, and fourteen minutes ago, and even though he goes to therapy and has a lot of support, he still isn’t okay. As the novel starts, Asher is attending a bereavement group – but he accidentally ends up in a group for old people, not for teenagers. He quickly realizes his mistake and starts attending the group for teens. But he can’t stop thinking about Henry, the older gentleman he met at the first group who is mourning the love of his life, Evelyn. So Asher ends up going to bereavement groups four nights a week. And it’s in these groups that he finally meets people who understand exactly what he’s going through. In addition to Henry, Asher befriends Sloane, who lost her biker dad, and Will, who lost his little brother. And when Asher decides to go to Memphis to exact revenge on the drunk driver who killed his mother, Sloane, Will, Henry (and Evelyn) come along for the ride. 

Four for the Road is visceral and raw. It is a road trip story of grief and loss but it also has elements of joy and love and healing. Asher narrates the story with long sentences, full of snark and pain. Four for the Road will break you down and put you back together. It will bring you to tears over and over again, and you’ll want to reach into the novel to hug Henry and Sloane and Will and Asher. This book utterly devastated me, in the best possible way. These characters will live in my heart for a long time.  

I recommend Four for the Road for grades 8+. Hand to teens who love sad books or anyone dealing with grief and loss; for fans of Dancing at the Pity Party.
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This lovely story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, and I absolutely enjoyed the ride (road trip pun mildly intended). We're introduced to Asher, who has lost in mom in a pretty horrific car accident about a year ago. He has now fully devoted his existence to A) trying to keep his existing family alive, no matter how many of his sister's bikes he must destroy, and B) plotting to literally murder the drunk driver who killed his mom. He is... well look, he isn't doing well. He goes to grief support groups, but mostly to be snarky, until he meets a few people who may just understand what he is dealing with.

First he encounters Henry, an elderly fellow who has lost his wife Evelyn. Asher befriends Henry, but also finds some friends of his own generation at a bereavement group for young people. Sloan has lost her father, and Will who lost his little brother. Henry mentions that Evelyn has always wanted to go to Graceland, and since Asher's revenge victim (and also his date to prom, but that is another story altogether) are in Memphis, he decides to get the whole band together for a road trip!

So, as you can imagine, this book is going to be full of the feels. Each character, and their deceased love one, frankly, is incredibly well developed. I fell in love with each of them- perhaps even before I fell in love with Asher- and their stories wormed their way into my heart. They were all in very different places with their grief, but the bottom line was that they all really needed each other, to have that support from someone who could understand what they are going through. They had finally found people who didn't try to force them to tamp down their grief, or shy away from the hard topics. Here, on this unsanctioned road trip, they were able to share their loved ones' stories, and in many cases, favorite meals. They didn't have to tiptoe around the non-grievers, to hide their pain and put on false fronts.

I don't want to give away too much of this emotional journey, so I will just say that the book is full of amazing characters, a lot of friendship, and was hugely therapy positive. The characters undergo a ton of growth during their trip, but they are in no way done grieving. The author does a great job of making this trip life changing, but not in any way a fix-all, and it was truly the perfect balance.

Bottom Line: This book broke my heart, and then put it back together again mile by mile.
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Oh my god, I was completely enthralled in this novel.

After a drunk driver kills his mother, Asher sets himself on a self-destructive path of revenge. 

I cannot express how sincerely good this book is, how much it touched me, made me feel. The characters are honest, brutally honest. Kids dealing with death, an elderly man trying to live with a version of normalcy. Asher is a unique protagonist, where you're almost rooting for him to do the wrong thing because you feel his pain, you feel the guilt and confusion, and mostly, the frustration with death. Reilly does an incredible job at balancing the tragedy of grief, humor, and an adolescent reaction to a life they can't control. 

The writing style isn't for everyone. it's repetitive (meaningful so) and like an endless stream of consciousness flowing from Asher's mind to the page. Dialogue is also somewhat structured oddly, but once you're invested you don't notice it anymore. I personally really appreciated the way the characters interacted and the way the plot slowly unfolded in front of you. 

Didn't expect to love this as much as I did. There's so much heart, so much pain, and love between the characters. Asher, Solane and Will, Henry and Evelyn. Their stories are important. Their healing is important.
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This is one of my favorite reads of the year so far, and I'm so glad I had the chance to read it. My favorite books are those with a strong voice, and this is one of the strongest and most unique voices I've read in a long time. The tone and pacing were absolutely perfect. It balanced humor and grief and made me want to read everything this author ever writes. 

Nothing but good things to say about this one. 

Thank you to NetGalley for sending me an eARC in exchange for an honest review!
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Absolutely loved this book about Asher taking his new group of friends from his bereavement group on a revenge trip to Tennessee. Along the way, all four of them find ways to confront their grief especially Asher. Someone tells Asher that we have to accept what we can’t change and move forward.  Can Asher do that after a shocking realization? A truly, unforgettable book which will stay with me.
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