The Vacation (aka Welcome to Wherever You Are) by John Marrs #BookReview

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How far would you run to escape your past?

Venice Beach, Los Angeles. A paradise on earth.

Tourists flock to the golden coast and the promise of Hollywood.

But for eight strangers at a beach front hostel, there is far more on their mind than an extended vacation.

All of them are running from something. And they all have secrets they’d kill to keep . . .

Originally published as Welcome to Wherever You Are, this is a re-edited release perfect for fans of T. M. Logan.

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A classic John Marrs, do I need to say more? It doesn’t matter if you read his debut first or last, it’s as brilliant as the rest of them. It is set up in the same way as The One and The Passengers with multiple characters so if you enjoyed those you’ll enjoy The Vacation too.

Welcome to Wherever You Are was the only novel of his that I hadn’t read yet. It is his very first novel, published in 2015 if I’m not mistaken and re-published in 2021, and I kept it for a special day where I absolutely needed an absorbing read, but suddenly the wait for Keep It In The Family became too long. It’s been published on October 18, 2022 meanwhile so I’ll probably postpone reading this at least a few months. I know, women readers, don’t try to understand :-).

So this story follows a number of lodgers at the Venice Beach Hotel: Tommy who went backpacking with his friend Sean, Savannah who fled her home and is now looking over her shoulder all the time, Declan and Matty who had their reasons to go on a world tour from Ireland, Nicole and her friend Eric on a special mission and Jake who tries very hard to just blend in.

They all have their own personal stories and secrets I hadn’t expected and with the short alternating chapters I wanted to keep on reading. I was genuinely flabbergasted so many times! I loved and felt for Tommy because of his family history. He’s sort of the string between all of the characters since he’s the receptionist at the backpacker’s hostel but he also builds friendships (and perhaps a little more) with the other occupants. There were a few other heartbreaking moments too though with one that nearly brought tears to my eyes.

I can’t applaud this author enough, he’s able to draw me in and have me hooked in a matter of a few chapters, which is quite an accomplishment when you have so many characters, and he finds the perfect balance in all of his novels. I wish I could say more about the twists and turns but you’d want to find these out on your own, so all I can say is that they’re very very good.

This book was awesome, so if you’re also wanting to be surprised, this one’s definitely for the list.

I bought a copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

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15 thoughts on “The Vacation (aka Welcome to Wherever You Are) by John Marrs #BookReview

      • I have When You Disappeared left to read; no particular reason why this one is last other than that I somehow read the other backlist titles first. 😉
        Which version did you read, The Vacation or Welcome To Wherever You are? I read the second as I had a kindle copy, and wondered if the newer version was any different.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I read Welcome to Wherever You Are too so I can’t tell if it’s different. I like the title best too tbh, The Vacation sounds like an uplifting beach read and it’s much more sinister and thrilling. When You Disappeared is a bit of the odd man out in his books I think. I’m not so keen on family histories and such but he did punch me in the gut with this one, that much I can remember. I hope you like it when you get to it!

        Liked by 1 person

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