Two librarian opinions:
Konen, Leah. Love and Other Train Wrecks. Katherine Tegan Books, Harper Collins, 2018. 368p. ISBN 9780062402523. $17.99 HS ***
This is an underwhelming love story about two young adults who meet on the train from Grand Central Station in New York City on their way to the Hudson River valley. Told in alternating points of view, Ammy is traveling north to go to her father’s commitment ceremony and Noah is hoping to win back his first love who he broke up with the summer before. Along the way their train stops, a snow storm starts and the two embark on what becomes a series of missed transportation opportunities. It reads like an out of the box rom-com with all the usual teen tropes including the wrap-it-up and deliver-it-with-a-bow tidy ending. It loses a star for having very two-dimensional, barely likeable main characters; it is difficult to root for either one. The title assumes a white default and would be fine for most middle school shelves. But you can likely skip this one – there are more entertaining and engaging teen romances out there.
Carla Avitabile, San Mateo Public Library
In a classic meet cute, two teens, both headed to upstate New York, meet on a train and start to fall in love. Ammy is on her way to her father’s wedding to a young yoga instructor he cheated on her mother with. She is excited for the event beneath her bitter exterior, even though she knows it will hurt her mother. Noah is on a romantic quest to win back the heart of a girl he regrets dumping. The train stalls and the love story begins as the two teens decide to partner up, risking the elements to find another way to get to their destination. Love & Other Train Wrecks is a standard teen romance with stock characters and few surprises. The elements of a classic romance are present — the train, a snowstorm, a meet cute of opposites, a wedding to attend — but the result is a formulaic story with little surprises. There is some light swearing and sexuality, but otherwise appropriate for all teens.
Natalie McCall, Mill Valley Public Library