Friday, September 21, 2018

Blog Tour: Unclaimed Baggage by Jen Doll

Unclaimed Baggage 
By Jen Doll 

Read: September 16 - 19, 2018
Published: September 18, 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Source: Galley from Macmillan (Thank you!)
Category: YA, Contemporary, Southern Towns, Secrets, Lost Luggage, Friendship

Book Description: Doris—a lone liberal in a conservative small town—has mostly kept to herself since the terrible waterslide incident a few years ago. Nell had to leave behind her best friends, perfect life, and too-good-to-be-true boyfriend in Chicago to move to Alabama. Grant was the star quarterback and epitome of "Mr. Popular" whose drinking problem has all but destroyed his life. What do these three have in common? A summer job working in a store called Unclaimed Baggage cataloging and selling other people's lost luggage. Together they find that through friendship, they can unpack some of their own emotional baggage and move on into the future.


Unclaimed Baggage is an adorable contemporary YA about three teens brought together by a job at a store called Unclaimed Baggage, that resells - you've guessed it - suitcases and bags that were never claimed at airports. 

First, this store sounds amazing to shop at, and even more fun to work at. Liberal-out-of-water-in-Alabama Doris and her two new hires, recently-moved-from-Chicago Nell and football-star-fallen-from-grace Grant, work in the back of the store, opening and sorting through bags in order to determine what should be sold and what should be tossed. All three of them are feeling a little out of place this summer and they start bonding over all the strange things they find. 

That's the second thing I enjoyed about this book: the friendships. Doris, Nell and Grant aren't exactly three people you'd think to put together. Especially the popular football star and the town liberal, but I had so much fun watching them get to know each other. And as they open up about their lives, they form a close bond. I loved both the hilarious moments in this book, and the deeper, more painful ones as they deal with the tough realities of their lives. This book has both an established and a building romance in it. It's so rare to see an ongoing romance and I appreciated that addition. The other is sweet and slow to see develop, but I was way more interested in the friendship between these three and all the ways they stood up for and supported each other. 

This book is light and fun on the surface, but it - and these characters - deal with some tough stuff. Prejudice and race relations, assault, hypocritical members of the church, town secrets, health issues, addiction, mourning over lost loved ones are just a few topics discussed. Like everyone, Doris, Nell and Grant's lives are complex, and I cheered and laughed and wanted to hug and fight for them. I also appreciate the different ways their parents were involved in their lives. My only wish is that not everyone in the church had been seen as negative and hypocritical, though I can certainly agree with the point that you can find bad people there - and wonderful people not. 

I recommend this friendship centered contemporary YA, and now I really want to attend the balloon festival - and shop in that store. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone


About the Author

Jen Doll has written for The Atlantic, The Atlantic Wire, Cosmopolitan, The Hairpin, New York magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Toast, Topic, Vice, The Village Voice, and The Week, among others. She grew up in Alabama and lives in Brooklyn and upstate New York.

Find Jen Doll: Website | Twitter | Goodreads  

Follow the Tour

BlogDateType of Post
The Bookish Photog9/16/2018Instagram and review
Undeniably {Book} Nerdy9/17/2018Review
The YA Book Traveler9/18/2018Review combined with quirky summer job nightmares
Book Briefs9/18/2018Review
Mary Had A Little Book Blog9/19/2018Quirky summer jobs and Instagram
Miss Print9/20/2018Review
Bookish Beagle9/20/2018Review and summer jobs or my unclaimed baggage item post
Novel Novice9/21/2018"Over packing tips" + review
Love Is Not A Triangle9/21/2018Review

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