Thursday, August 4, 2022

Mini Contemporary Reviews Pt. I: Vacationland by Meg Mitchell Moore

I had two contemporary reads show up at my house some months ago, and although I don't tend to read a lot of contemporary, I decided to give them a go and had a lot of fun with them! The first of my mini reviews will be for Vacationland, below, and I'll be sharing the second one sometime in the next couple weeks. These are perfect summer reads!


Vacationland by Meg Mitchell Moore
William Morrow & Company
Publication: June 14th, 2022
Hardcover. 384 pages.

About Vacationland:
"Louisa has come to her parents' house in Maine this summer with all three of her kids, a barely written book, and a trunkful of resentment. Left behind in Brooklyn is her husband, who has promised that after this final round of fundraising at his startup he will once again pick up his share of the household responsibilities. Louisa is hoping that the crisp breeze off Penobscot Bay will blow away the irritation she is feeling with her life choices and replace it with enthusiasm for both her family and her work. 

But all isn't well in Maine. Louisa's father, a retired judge and pillar of the community, is suffering from Alzheimer's. Louisa's mother is alternately pretending everything is fine and not pretending at all. And one of Louisa's children happens upon a very confusing and heartfelt letter referring to something Louisa doesn't think her father could possibly have done. 

Louisa's not the only one searching for something in Maine this summer. Kristie took the Greyhound bus from Pennsylvania with one small suitcase, $761, and a lot of baggage. She's got a past she's trying to outrun, a secret she's trying to unpack, and a new boyfriend who's so impossibly kind she can't figure out what she did to deserve him. But she can't keep her various lives from colliding forever. 

As June turns to July turns to August, secrets will be unearthed, betrayals will come to light, and both Louisa and Kristie will ask themselves what they are owed and what they owe others."

Vacationland is a great summer read full of family dramas, secrets, and people who are just trying to live their lives as best as they can. In Vacationland, we follow Louisa, a stressed mother of three and Professor currently on sabbatical, and Kristie, a young woman trying to leave her past behind while also uncovering some secrets of her own, as they both arrive in Maine for the summer. The two woman have vastly different lives and reasons for being in Maine, but both will find their lives intersect in surprising ways. 

What I liked: This book splits POVs between Louisa and Kristie, and I really appreciated getting a glimpse into two vastly different lives and two people who are as similar as they are dissimilar. Moore really dives deep into her characters thoughts, emotions, motivation, hopes, grief, ands o much more, to the extent that by the end of the story I felt as though I could really connect with them. Additionally, Moore's descriptions of Maine were so vivid and through Louisa's familiar memories and Kristie's new discoveries of the area I was instantly transported to this relaxed summer setting and enjoyed myself quite a lot. Everything felt so peaceful as a backdrop to the private struggles of each of our main characters, and I appreciated how Moore balanced all of this into a compelling family drama that was full of surprises, but also full of heart and made for a thoughtful and engaging story. 

What I didn't like: As with a lot of these family drama stories, I found quite a few of the major plot points a bit predictable overall, but in all honestly this didn't make too much of a negative impact since I was still engaged with the characters. I also found some aspects of Louisa's relationships with her husband and family (particularly her parents) a bit disjointed at times and didn't feel as resolved as I might've expected at the end of the book. Outside of these things, I really didn't have any major dislikes. This was a great relaxing read to wind down from the day with. (Also, this affects the plot in no way at all, but where was the dog for most of this book that we were introduced to in the beginning? I always want offhand comments about what the dog is doing.)

Overall, this was a very satisfying and thoughtful, well-written family drama that kept me hooked and would be a great choice to lounge around with this summer. 

*I received a copy of Vacationland courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Buy the book: Amazon |


  1. I don't read a lot of contemps lately but this looks so fun! Sounds like a perfect summer read. That cover's doesn't hurt either!

  2. This sounds pretty good, but that's funny about the dog, lol. Where did he go?? 🤣