Review: Maps by Nash Summers

Maps (Life According o Maps #1) by Nash SummersRating: 5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novella

Author Nash Summers was my choice for self-published writer in this week’s Self Published Book challenge category. I have read only one other story by this gifted author and I am thrilled to be indulging in another of her works. This story, Maps is the first in her Life According to Maps trilogy and I can tell you right now I will be scooping up books two and three immediately. Summers has that singular gift of being able to craft incredible depth of character and plot into a mere novella length story. Maps could be read just by itself and as any good writing should do, it would leave you wanting to know the next chapter in the lives of these high school boys because it is that compete in one sense. There are no dangling plot points; you are given a chapter in Map and Lane’s lives and are able to delight in it and feel as though you did much more than just scratch the surface of these characters. That is clever and richly detailed writing and you should expect nothing less from this gifted author.

challenge month 2017 copyOur story opens with Maps bemoaning the fact that his best friend Benji is moving away—not far, just a few blocks– but that means no best friend right next door where Maps can literally see him from his bedroom window. It also means strangers and Maps does not like change or strangers so essentially he is an unhappy camper. Maps is a scientist at heart and spends much of his time devising ways to discover answers to those pesky questions that rock about in his scattered brain. He is also fairly brilliant and rather the odd man out. I could hazard a guess here and say that Maps seems to have aspergers (a very high functioning form of autism), but that would only be a stab at defining someone who defies any sense of definition. He is Maps—and he is adorable. What Maps doesn’t plan for is the appearance of the equally cute jock, Lane, who is his new neighbor. Normally Lane would hardly register on Maps’ radar, but something peculiar happens to his stomach every time Lane smiles at him and, before long, Maps understands that odd feeling is tied directly to his heart.

To say that Maps was a quirky character with a unique personality and voice is making an understatement. He is more than different and describing his intellectual curiosity as simply nerdish behavior is to really underrate both his smarts and his tenacity.   This is where Nash Summers’ clever writing ability really shines. You see we are given crumbs of clues here and there by Maps himself that so often there are things his brain fixates on—questions or puzzles that make him almost itch to unravel and until he does, his mind cannot let it go. It’s these moments when Maps stops being this whirling dervish of energy mentally and we see glimpses of the sensitive young man hiding inside this seemingly unruffled exterior. It’s just these tiny sparks that make you fall in love with Maps. He’s not just some science nerd who overanalyzes most things and both reacts and speaks like someone years beyond his own age, he is a boy on the cusp of adulthood who is scared of things he doesn’t understand, a sexuality that surprised even himself, and who hides his yearning to be liked by the new boy next door very deeply. Maps is, in a word, gorgeous. You want to wrap him up and keep him safe much like Lane does himself.

This story was just so much fun to read. It is most assuredly a YA novel, but Nash Summers creates a boy that will resonate with so many readers. His world is not always a safe one. He alludes to fear of bullying when he sees that certain look on Lane’s face that he misinterprets as the one that many get right before they want to punch poor Maps. While there is one incident in the book where Nash is actually bullied, it is very quick and fairly downplayed in the interest of moving to a more important moment in the story, so if you’re thinking that this novella is dealing with some darker theme you are wrong—it is lighthearted, sweet and really well done. I thoroughly enjoyed Maps by Nash Summers and highly recommend it to you.

This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for Self Published Book Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win one of seven fabulous prize packs from an amazing group of self published authors. Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press (a loaded Kindle fire filled with DSP books!). You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on Self Published Book Week here, including a list of all the prizes being offered this week. And check out our prize post for more details about the awesome prizes offered this month!

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  1. This is one of the works I read this week. Like you, Sammy, I also enjoyed it. Lane was a wonderful character, too, and creative in his gift giving. I’d happily read more.

  2. I’m so glad you loved it, Sammy. I ADORE Maps, both the character and the book(s). Thanks for sharing your thoughts and enthusiasm for this one.

  3. Since I have these in my TBR pile, I think that I’ll be bumping them up in the reading order. I’ve also read one book from this author and agree with the reviewer about the strength of the writing.

  4. I’ll need to look for this!

  5. Oh, I already own this one! Suhweeeeet.

  6. Sounds really good. Thank you for the great review, Sammy. Another addition to my TBR list

  7. I LOVE Nash Summers!! And I’m happy that you finally start reading this quirky series. It’s always been joy for me to read about Maps (I picture him as a younger version of Sheldon Cooper haha) and at times I admire Lane for his patience. But these boys are lovable and I hope Summers continue the series after book #3. Alas, no news about it yet (sad face)

  8. Thanks for a great review. I have this one already on my kindle will get to it soon!

  9. Thank you for your review. I already have the first two books of this serie on my reader but for some reason never got to reading them. I did read Arrows through Archer by this author and loved it so i know i love the writing style. Now i just have to move this serie to the top of my tbr list (like so many others these past few weeks LOL).

  10. This sounds intriguing, but may not be my cup of tea right now. Mood is a huge influence on what I choose to read and when I choose to read it. I also don’t normally read YA, but I am always interested in unique characters and unique POVs. I will keep it in mind for a time I need something sweet.

  11. I love the author. I really don’t know why I haven’t read this one yet but I surely will be reading it soon.

  12. Bronwyn Heeley says:

    I’ve never seen this book before. It’s ….just… okay give me a moment I’m going to buy it. I love YA based books that deal with quirky teens. or are just quirky in general. Def going to be a weekend read for me 

  13. Thanks for your review, I have part of this series in my TBR. May be time to dust it off & get it read.

  14. I normally don’t read YA, but based on your review I will give this book a try. Thank you.

  15. Great review. I’m sold. 🙂

  16. Thank you for the review. I actually have the book but never got around to it. I really wish I had more time in the day or could read super super fast. The book sound stellar.

  17. Purple Reader says:

    Thanks for the good review, Sammy. I just got this and it’s definitely moving up on my tbr list. I like what you said of its tight plot, strong character development and clever writing.

  18. Thanks for the review. I’ve been lucky to read other books from the author and loved them all, her writing is quite unique.

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