Layover, by Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer, was published in February, 2018.
The first sentence is: “It’s become my favorite sound in the world – the soles of my shoes slapping the pavement erratically.”
Layover is narrated by three siblings: Flynn, Amos, and Poppy. Each chapter is told from one of these three points of view.
Flynn Barlow is nearly sixteen. Two years ago, her mother died in an accident. She was then moved from San Francisco to live with her father and his wife in Manhattan. She was never interested in recreational running, until she moved to New York. (That opening sentence is from her chapter.) She is trying hard to hide the fact that she’s in love with her stepbrother, Amos.
Amos Abernathy rarely sees his parents. They’re always off jet setting somewhere. He’s been raised mostly by a nanny. He’s been raising his 9-year-old sister, Poppy, mostly on his own. He’s just returned from boarding school, and an extended stay with friends in Vermont. He sent himself to boarding school. Vermont was a lie. He just didn’t want to deal with the fact that he’s in love with his stepsister, Flynn.
Flynn, Amos, and Poppy have been sent by their parents on a vacation to Bora Bora. A town car takes them to JFK. The flight has a layover in LAX.
During the two-hour layover in LAX, Poppy reveals something she’d overheard – something about the real reason for the trip. Because of it, Poppy doesn’t want to go to Bora Bora. Flynn says they don’t have to. Once he realizes his sisters are serious, Amos objects, then eventually gives in. He knows what they’re about to do is wrong, but he’s guided by his feelings for Flynn.
The three siblings throw their phones and credit cards away, and run away to Los Angeles. With only about a hundred dollars in cash, and not being old enough to rent a car, their mobility is limited. They consider two options: contact Amos’ father (which Amos is dead set against), or contact a guy named Neel, who Flynn met at camp. They agree to call Neel. If he knew how hot Neel is, and how much Flynn is still crushing on him, Amos would have never gone along with any of this.
Layover is a story about family, and the broad spectrum of what that term means. Are Flynn and Amos sister and brother, or something else? What should they do about their feelings for each other? Flynn had a mother before Louisa. Amos had a father before Jack. Poppy has never had any parents except Jack and Louisa. If Jack and Louisa were to divorce, what will happen to the three siblings? What will Flynn and Amos be then?
I love the way this novel is written. I’ve read other books that switch points of view from one chapter to the next, but Layover takes it a little bit further. The action flows directly from one chapter, often ending in mid-scene, to the next chapter, continuing the scene from another character’s viewpoint. Amos’ chapter ends with: “And just as I’m trying to remember why I decided on this detour to the city in the first place, she walks in.” And then Flynn’s chapter begins: “He looks at me blankly, and I can’t tell if he’s mad or indifferent that I showed up even though he told me not to come.” I think it works very well.
I loved this book a lot. The story, as unusual as it is, was believable. The characters were interesting. Flynn, Amos, and Poppy acted like I believed kids their ages would act.
Why I chose this book:
As soon as Popsugar’s 2018 Reading Challenge was published (or, more accurately, when I discovered that it had been published), I began doing searches on the internet for books scheduled to be published in 2018. From the lists I’d found, I picked ones that sounded interesting to me. Then, from that list, I searched the Seattle Public Library web site for the ones it had planned to order. I put Layover on hold, and became number 1 in line for 4 future copies.
One of the reasons I chose Layover was that, as an alternate plan, it could also be used for “A book by two authors”. That was before I’d found The Man Who Went Up in Smoke.
I’d recently finished reading Silas Marner, so I checked on my library holds, to try to get some idea of what my future reading would be. Layover had gone directly from “On Order” to “Ready Now”, without ever being “In Transit”.