Author: Olivia Lara
What if the Lift driver who finds your cheating boyfriend’s phone holds the directions to true love?
‘Who are you and why do you have my boyfriend’s phone?’
‘He left it in my car. You must be the blonde in the red dress? I’m the Lift driver who dropped you two off earlier.’
And with these words, the life of the brunette and t-shirt wearing Maya Maas is turned upside down. Having planned to surprise her boyfriend, she finds herself single and stranded in an unknown city on her birthday.
So when the mystery driver rescues Maya with the suggestion that she cheers herself up at a nearby beach town, she jumps at the chance to get things back on track. She wasn’t expecting a personalised itinerary or the easy companionship that comes from opening up to a stranger via text, let alone the possibility it might grow into something more…
The Meeting Point starts with a story within a story as the main character dreams of her next writing project. It is a very fun introduction of a character as it sets up her love of the concept of love and happy endings. The novel is a fun take on You’ve Got Mail and gives the material a new spin with two characters connecting through texting without every meeting in person. Not only is this a love story, but it is a lovely story about self-discovery as the reader follows the main character trying to figure out her life. Although the story takes place across the United States, including New York and very brief moments in San Francisco, Connecticut and Vermont, the main story is set in the gorgeous small-town setting of Carmel-by-the-Sea near Monterey. It has been awhile since I have traveled there, so I actually took screenshots of the places mentioned and cannot wait to check out how fiction meets reality whenever I get a chance to go again.
Maya Maas is 26 and approaching her 27th birthday. She loves to write love stories about those that she encounters every day, even if she does not know them. She is currently works as a junior reporter for a Brooklyn-based magazine where she is overworked and not quite happy with her job. She misses her best friend, Alisa, who has moved to London as a senior commissioning editor. Although they met living in dorm rooms next to each other in college, they did not fully connect as friends until after graduation and have been best friends ever since. Maya’s boyfriend of five years, David, is currently in San Francisco, California for an interview, so Maya decides it would be an excellent surprise and birthday present for herself to fly out there to spend a surprise weekend together. When Maya arrives at the terminal, she texts David, but is shocked when she receives an unexpected reply. David’s phone was left in the car of a Lift driver, who also lets it slip that David was with another woman. Maya is heart-broken and in an unfamiliar place. The Lift driver and her begin texting and Maya ends up in a text guided tour of Carmel as she always dreamed of seeing the Pacific Ocean. After an amazing day, Maya and “Max” (the driver) decide to meet. Unfortunately, the meeting never happens as David intercepts and he convinces Maya to return to New York together.
The story flashes forward one year where Maya cannot get “Max” out of her head and cannot get over her unhappiness with David. She also discovers that a novel is in the works about her texting day in Carmel written by author Ethan Delphy, who obtained the story through a friend. Maya takes this as a chance to make changes in her life and she sets out on a journey to finally find out whom “Max” is and to attempt to meet him. Maya relocates to Carmel without a plan and now has to navigate how to find out information about the man she connected with yet never met. Through her quest, she ends up meeting Celine, Ethan’s sister, and later Ethan himself along with a fun cast of characters that all live in the lovely beach town setting. Since everyone seems tight-lipped about revealing Max’s identity to this new stranger in town, Maya has the work cut out for her to try to figure out who her mystery man is and if they can still connect a year later.
There is a lot of deception and secrets in this story that were interesting elements. It is predictable as the reader can put the pieces together before Maya, but it is written well to keep me captivated. The novel was difficult to put down as I found myself invested in all of the characters. I even loved the side matchmaking that was taking place with all of the background characters and loved getting to know their stories, even if they were not the focus of the story. The story is written solely from Maya’s point of view, although they do get pieces from Ethan through his novel. I would love a version of this story written from Ethan’s as he and Maya have an attraction when they first meet and I would love to read his side and inner thoughts. Overall, this was a joyous story how Maya learns what will make her happy in life (job, location, romance, etc.) and a lovely romance story about two people trying to come together even though they never met in person.
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley, the publisher, Aria Books, and the author for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**