National Parks

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Pub Date 09 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 02 Dec 2023

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Do you remember when I asked you if you had somewhere to be? You smiled at me, bore into my soul, Phoebe, and said only the world to see.

I can tell you the color of the sea in Cyprus.

Show you what outdoor showers in Vietnam are suitable for, especially under the stars in a rainstorm.

Describe the sounds of a hungry crocodile in the Everglades National Park.

But what I can't figure out is why the woman I love won't forgive me for breaking her heart. Years have taught us we aren't just a one-night stand, a stranger in a parking lot.


What Phoebe and I have is worth dedicating decades for.

Adventure brings them together; love brings them back alive. A broken heart or two along the way. What two people do, is to make sure they survive.

♥You can only have one true love, and they will fight against themselves to deserve it.♥

This multicultural second chance love story will transport you through a decade of breathtaking landscapes and heart-wrenching emotions. When Phoebe, an Asian American, and Kenzo (Enzo), an Asian/African American, first meet, it's an instant connection. Despite their differences, their love remains unwavering and they travel the world, determined to remain a part of each other's lives. But as they pull further and further apart, will they be able to reunite and find the resolution they both long for? National Parks is a powerful and romantic journey that will leave you questioning the depths of love and longing. If you enjoyed emotionally charged romances you will love National Parks.

National Parks is a second chance multicultural romance with a HEA ending.

18+ Mature Content, Explicit Language and Sexual Scenes, Abuse, and Violence.

(⚠Trigger Warning: PTSD of a National Attack and Suicide Ideology/Attempts on screen are themes of this book.⚠)

Do you remember when I asked you if you had somewhere to be? You smiled at me, bore into my soul, Phoebe, and said only the world to see.

I can tell you the color of the sea in Cyprus.

Show you...

Advance Praise

"""Every once in a while I read a book that stays with me long past the end of the book. The kind of book that lingers in your soul, leaves you thinking about the characters well after it ends. The kind of book that makes you look at humanity just a little bit differently. This is one of those books."" - Amazon Review 

""This story sticks with you long after finishing it and tugs at every emotion you have. I was blown away by this book."" -Amazon Review 

""Great read, would definitely recommend. Full of angsty, soul matey love. Main character and love interest travel a long bumpy road, full of trauma, and PTSD, lots of trigger moments. I think I cried from the middle to the end of the book. Haven’t cried this much in a book since reading The Notebook. Multicultural family drama also a strong theme in the book. Thoroughly enjoyable read."" - Amazon Review

"""Every once in a while I read a book that stays with me long past the end of the book. The kind of book that lingers in your soul, leaves you thinking about the characters well after it ends. The...

Available Editions

ISBN 9798441573481
PRICE $4.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

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Average rating from 48 members

Featured Reviews

4✨ Review

Have you ever loved somebody so much that it doesn't just change you, it imprints on every fibre of your being, every molecule, every atom is rewritten in their image?
Then one day they just get up and walk away. And you let them because you love them but every day they walk further and further taking all of you with them.
And every time they come back they chip away the parts that you still have with you until it hurts too much to exist. Their presence hurts as much as their absence. They are the drug and the antidote. The beginning and the end. The salvation and your reason for needing it

I think that kind of love would be epic if it didn't kill you.
This story is so beautiful and good and nothing like I was expecting at all. The writing was beautiful and the story was full of angst.
National Parks follows Phoebe and Enzo in this beautiful love story. Phoebe is a photographer and Enzo is trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life. They travel the world falling in love over different landscapes.
The genuine ache I experienced when they walked separate ways was just so sad =(
Phoebe and Enzo have one of the cutest relationships I’ve read on paper. Seeing them go on adventures together while Phoebe captures beautiful photos was great! She’s already a bit jaded by life and Enzo is the man with the golden retriever energy in the best way.
Thank you @netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I'm 100% for supporting Indie Asian-American authors as an Asian girl myself.

I'll admit that I picked up this book because of the pretty art and the title (I'm a nature lover). And it DID NOT disappoint. There are passages full of beautiful scenery that make you feel like you're nestled in America's wonderful parks.

Plus, the characters are amazing as well! Phoebe and Enzo are adorable and their chemistry is OFF-THE-CHARTS!

Finally, this book also handles some heavier topics quite well.

So... 4.5/5 for National Parks

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This book was so emotionally moving. Phoebe and Enzo's relationship is so powerful and throughout the entire book it leaves you rooting for them to feel worthy of each other's love. Through this book Laikyn Meng was able to address very important mental health topics in such a tasteful way. You truly feel the emotions the characters are going through in the story through her writing. On the surface, this looks like a story about two peoples travels, but in reality it is so much deeper and really draws you in.

"They say when you are uncomfortable, that is when you make the most difference", is a true testament to Phoebe's desire to tell a story through her travels. She has an eye for what others are not able to see and is constantly trying to push her comfort zone. The cultural representation and Phoebe's ability to adapt to any culture she travels to is admirable. "Fear is limiting, hasn't gotten me anywhere being scared of the unknown".

Kenzo also completely describes their love story within the book when he says "being in love with the right person changes you." Love is such a complex concept and their story is definitely representative of that. There are so many ups and downs throughout their story that keeps you on the edge of your seat to see what is going to happen between them.

"Always remember the good echos. You can get through anything" -never forget that friends!

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☆I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review☆

National Parks is a contemporary novel that narrates the love story between Enzo and Phoebe, along with their personal story and struggles, their unique personalities, and their dreams.

This book emphasises how our own traumas, our fears and insecurities, and our own family circle can have a major influence in the way we see ourselves, the world, and how we love and allow someone else to love us back.
Ultimately, this book talks about second chances, that sometimes time is all we need in order to deeply understand ourselves, to make peace with our story and our pasts, and finally be in a safe place to love again.

This book caught my attention because of its beautiful cover and story overview.
I am a photographer myself, highly interested in travelling photography, in seeing and feeling the world. This was a very pleasant book, and at times, I really felt Phoebe's feelings and emotions as my own.
I found each chapter incredibly poetic, and I really appreciated the sense of humour and the way the author created the interactions between both characters.
This novel has space for deep thoughts, soul thinking, drama, loss, and trauma. There are also deep feelings like love, passion, and a strong dose of multiculturalism much appreciated.

Thank you, NetGalley and Laikyn Meng
for this story!

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This book has left me speechless because how insanely good the writing and the angst is! Each It's beautifully written each sentences it. Both the characters are so complex (in a good way), reading their own POVs is like reading through their diary, revealing their thoughts, dreams, desire, and how a relationship/person could had a strong effect on you--it feels like their lives revolved round each other. I don't know how it is possible to depicting so many emotions caused by a heartbreak of separation. I love each time they're together from their not-so-meet-cute to every trips together, showing how wild, young, reckless, and carefree people can be. And yet their separation and how it affected them, how they tried to overcome their sorrows, longing, and even hope--it's so beautiful and painful to read at the same time. I love how they both tried to be the best to each other, even though they're technically not together, it shows how strong their connection and feelings to each other. And how they both finally matured and able to overcome their issues. I love the random facts about their destinations too, it made me feels like I was on that trip and witnessing one of the greatest love story happened in front of me.

Overall, this book is a story of chasing your dreams, finding who you really are, and love with an unbreakable bond is exists. Mind you, I literally cried on the 5th last chapters. This book conveyed rich emotions and messages. I want to appreciate Laikyn Meng for evoking such feelings on me.

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Deeply deeply emotional love story. I’m going to be thinking about it for a while. The angst, the reconnections and soulmates of it all! It was plenty heavy, please do heed trigger earnings but it was definitely a special read.

Thank you to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This book DESTROYED me. It's raw and heartwrenching, poetic and sad, funny and loving, chaotic and messy, and it hurts so damn much.

Phoebe is a travel photographer, escaping her unhappy, abusive home where she struggled to breath. Instead, now she's able to travel, to see the world and find her place in it. Along the way, she meets Kenzo, and invites him to travel with her. Together, they have 4 years of a love she never thought she'd find.

Until Enzo tells her he needs to leave. That this life isn't enough for him anymore. He has his own reservations about leaving, so he decides the only way he can go is if he breaks her heart. Attacks all the insecurities she has, to make it really devastating.

Next comes years of them struggling to find a way to live without the other. Trying to learn how to go on without the other half of your soul, knowing that you found the one you were always meant to be with.

So many times they have a chance to give in. To fall back together and heal. Pride keeps them away. Anger at themselves, the need to find out who they are and love themselves.

I've always struggled with books where the characters love each other, but find ways that they can't be together. Instead, they keep hurting each other, making it harder until they're left with nothing more than simply trying to find a way to survive. I always want to shout "communicate"! For once, I finally got the slightest glimmer of how it might really be. A strange sort of sense to the madness.

While the writing was beautiful in ways, at times I struggled. To keep up with the mess, to understand where in the timeline I was. To separate past from present, reality to dream.

Serious trigger warnings, with a public shooting and attack, as well as attempted suicide. These are not shied away from. They are not handled delicately. They are violent and visceral and raw. They are heartbreaking.

There were parts of this I loved. That sat with me, as I tried to forever etch the beauty of the words, the raw feeling into every part of me. I cried (which doesn't happen often), tears soaking my pillow even after the final words had been read. Truthfully, I don't know if I"m recommending this, or simply trying to figure out how to survive it. I thought books like Love and Other Words (by Christina Lauren) or Some Mistakes Were Made (by Kristin Dwyer) had prepared me for this. Nothing could have prepared me for this.

If you enjoy books that force you to feel, that grab you and won't let go, that completely obliterate you, this is the one. Please mind the warnings in the description. You may find much of yourself in these pages, and if you are struggling, if you don't think you are enough, please call someone. Please don't drown alone. You deserve that much.

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This book is beautifully written, so very emotional, and an absolute rollercoaster. I stopped for a moment when I saw on the copyright page the sensitivity warnings. I'd never noticed those in a book before and am so glad I saw them! It sort of prepared me for the abrupt beginning.

Honestly I wanted to read this book because I'm an avid visitor of the National Parks (one of those cool kids with the Passport that you stamp at each location) and I had to know what this was. I ended up really liking it, feeling for the characters and their journeys. Excitement, heartbreak, adventure, and discovering yourself, this book has it all. Especially the emotions, so prepare yourself for ups, downs, and everything in-between.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you for the digital review copy, BooksGoSocial.

This was a really a cute and entertaining romantic tale.

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Stunning cover!
Trigger warnings for PTSD attack and mentions of suicide.
Hard to read but in a good way , teared up a few times.
Absolutely loved the descriptions of nature felt like I was really there.

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National Parks is a book about love, heartbreak, adventure, and getting to know yourself. It was filled with angst and emotion and just so raw. Tears welled up in my eyes so many times. It was BEAUTIFUL. I can’t believe I slept on this book. I’m most definitely going to go through the author’s backlog and read more of her writings.

Please prepare tissue while reading this book. 10/10 would recommend.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me an ARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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First of all the way the first ch of this made me cry my eyes out and then the next ch I’m laughing my ass off!! Unreal. Now I’m not a big fan of social media popping up in books but this is so well done. It’s a love story and so much more. Enzo poor babe has been thru it and so has my girl Phebs. I actually will be purchasing the paperback to annotate the mess out of this. I was highlighting on NetGalley everything I loved and just stopped bc I was basically highlighting everything lol.

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This book absolutely wrecked me! 😭 I am recovering from my intense crying jag as I write this review.

The story is a sad one, full of pain and love and sadness and forgiveness and familial expectations and trauma. There is a love story and spice, but there is even more heartbreak and loneliness.

The writing was beautiful and poetic.

The characters were so real and flawed.

I found this book to difficult to read at parts, but it touched me so thoroughly and I know will stay with me for a long time.

Please read the trigger warnings before diving into this book.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Laikyn Meng for the ARC of this book!

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I find it impossible to describe this book without using the words ‘heartbreaking’ & ‘beautiful’ because that is exactly what this is. I’ve never read a love story quite like this one & it’ll forever stand out among all the books I’ve read - it’s so raw & real & viceral. As the reader, we follow ten years of the relationship between Phoebe & Enzo, who are drawn to each other & pulled apart throughout that time, often at their own doing as they try to navigate who they are outside of this relationship. And the setting bounces us around the world, travelling alongside them, sometimes alone & sometimes together.

While I struggled a bit initially, grabbing for something to hook me into the story, around 20% in I was so invested & I binged the rest of the book in about a day. The writing style was at first a challenge - I’m not sure how to describe it but it was difficult to pick up the rhythm in a way that didn’t bounce me out of the story (if that even makes sense?). But I quickly realized that Meng is an artist with the way she uses words, describing things in a way that constantly had me thinking, “fuck, I wish I could write something that beautiful.”

Not only was I invested in the relationship between Phoebe & Kenzo, but I also found myself invested in them as individuals & in the side characters - like Enzo’s mom, Kumiko, & Phoebe’s assistant, Elle. These are just some of the characters we meet over the ten years, adding layers of detail & complication & growth & love. This is the perfect book to read for those who like heavy, emotional romance stories that are real & complicated.

“I look at him until he starts coming back to life, until we are on the same page again, not running in separate directions to save ourselves.” UGH, MY HEART.

Thank you to NetGalley & BooksGoSocial for providing a digital copy of this book for review. The heartbreak & all opinions/thoughts are my own.

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If you're in the mood for a good cry and a very slow burn to a second chance romance, look no further, this one is for you! I picked it up thinking it was going to be this cute, happy go lucky romance where the couple travels around to National Parks. My husband and I travel around the National Parks doing wildlife photography, so I was like, "oh cute! This will be just like us!" and it starts off that way...but very quickly takes a turn.

This story is about a couple that breaks up to find their own ways and grow in the way they think they need. They each want to get back to each other at different times, but it never works out and it's never easy for them. You go through each of their lives as they navigate missing the other and trying to move on. It is a second chance romance, but it takes them quite the journey to find their way back to each other.

The writing was good, and I really liked the way the author wrote out what was going through their minds, the pining, and the research she did about the national parks.

Spice: 🌶️🌶️.5

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We don't see enough love stories that feature AAPI and mixed-AAPI Black characters and their connections and love for each other. So often we see images of our communities in conflict, so it was beautiful to read this youthful love story and think about how younger generations will connect.

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