ARC Review: The Key to Everything by Paula Stokes


*I read this during Huricane Maria: September 22. I read it as an arc. This is my honest opinion.


I love Paula Stokes and her writing. I do not love New Adult books. This review is the result of both things in one.


College senior Oakland Fuller has always believed in signs and soulmates, so when both a therapist and a fortuneteller say that her repeated relationship failures are due to unresolved feelings for her high school boyfriend, Seth, Oakland tries desperately to get back in touch with him. Problem: Seth isn’t responding to her online messages.
To rescue Oakland from a pathetic Christmas break of sitting in front of the computer, her best friend Morgan books the two of them on a guided excursion of Thailand. When the girls meet a pair of American soldiers in Bangkok, Oakland takes Morgan’s advice and engages in a little harmless holiday hooking up. Sergeant Tyson Banks is the perfect mix of sexy and fun. Two weeks with him might just turn out to be the best relationship Oakland has ever had.
Until the day she spots someone familiar across a crowded temple complex—it’s Seth! Somehow the boy she’s been trying to reconnect with is in Bangkok too. If that’s not a sign, then what is?

First off, this story is both well written and well executed. I kept reading and every time I stopped, I returned because I was enjoying the story and plot. Paula Stokes’ characters are always lush and real and this book is no exception.

The story is pretty straightfoward, and being in Oakland’s head is engaging and interesting. I found her very relatable and understood her thought process.

It’s a very real novel.

I don’t like detailed sex in the novels I read, which is why I shy away from New Adult in general. This novel features many pages that I skipped over for that reason.

I did love the friendship in this novel. Oakland and Morgan were friendship goals throughout the novel.

Overall, this book is fun and interesting. It deals with deeper questions while maintaining a light tone.

It’s not my usual kind of book, which is why I give it 3.5 stars, because although it’s good, it’s not the kind of book I’ll read again. It’s an enjoyable ride though, and well worth a read.


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