Book Review: Meet Me In Paradise by Libby Hubscher

Quick Summary:

Meet Me In Paradise by Libby Hubscher is the story of two sisters, Marin and Sadie, who couldn’t be any more different. Sadie is the adventurous wild child, a traveling photographer with a lust for adrenaline and trying new things. Marin is the older sister who is a massive ball of anxiety and prefers to stay within the safe confines of her home and of her home state of Tennessee. Marin has never travelled anywhere, contrary to Sadie who has been everywhere. Sadie takes after their mom, a former traveling writer/reporter. Marin and Sadie lost their mom when they were young, pushing Marin to take the role of guardian for Sadie – a role she took very seriously. Marin always focused on taking care of Sadie, without even considering taking care of herself.

Plot Overview:

Marin, satisfied with staying within the safe confines of her regular corporate job, and her house in Tennessee, she is focused on grounding Sadie to the same level of safety. However, Sadie has zero interest in agreeing with Marin’s proposal of a desk job. When Sadie returns from a trip to China, she gives Marin a proposal of her own: a sisters tropical getaway with the goal of having Marin finally get on the plane, see the ocean and have an adventure for the first time. Marin reluctantly agrees to go on the trip as a way to use this as a bargaining chip to have Sadie take the desk job.
Things go sideways almost immediately when Marin gets to the airport. Sadie is nowhere to be found as the flight is about to take off. Marin later realizes that Sadie isn’t coming. On the plane, she meets the very good looking Lucas Tsai, who ends up being her seat mate. After a rough flight and a detour, Marin ends up on her own adventure with Lucas – much to her chagrin.

Common Themes + Opinions:

Meet Me In Paradise is not your run of the mill romance novel. The romance sort of takes a back seat as the focus is on Marin and Sadie’s relationship. After essentially being parentified due to losing their mom, Marin sacrificed herself in exchange for creating a safe space for Sadie. She wanted to make sure Sadie always had someone to come home to, and Sadie focused on living her life to the fullest at every single opportunity. For Sadie, it was challenging watching Marin become content with “safe” and often encouraged her to take risks. Marin and Sadie remained incredibly close, despite their polar opposite personalities – something that makes me think of the relationship my sister and I have.
The overarching theme within this story is grief. Marin and Sadie lost their mom young, which obviously hit them hard. This caused Marin to enclose herself in the name of safety, given that their mom died in a helicopter accident abroad, which held her back from wanting to travel or do anything remotely risky. While on her tropical vacation with Lucas, she learns he had lost his father. They both connected on the fact that they both lost a parent and found that as a way to bond. Further in the book, things get complicated where loss happens once again, pushing Marin in a whole new direction in her life.

Final Thoughts + Ratings:

Meet Me In Paradise was more heartbreaking than it was romantic. It’s a dual POV of Marin and Sadie, which I found confusing and at some points annoying because it felt like Sadie was interrupting Marin’s story. It wasn’t until later in the book that their dual POV clicked. I also found Marin’s actions and behavior due to anxiety sometimes annoying. I can identify with Marin as I also experience anxiety though I did not think it could push someone to the point of never wanting to travel or take a calculated risk in the name of safety; it felt extreme. I do know that this is very much a possibility for some, though it was difficult for me to read knowing this.
This was a tough one for me to get through but because I identified with the sisters aspect, I pushed through. If you’re fully focused on wanting romance, I would skip this one as it’s not the center focus of this story. Despite this, it was redeeming to see Marin and Sadie’s journey. I give Meet Me In Paradise four stars.
Have you read Meet Me In Paradise? Let me know what you think!
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