Rating: 4.5 / 5
I was lucky to win a giveaway on Instagram for a copy of this new release novel. Thank you to Michelle @nurse_bookie and the author Jeffrey Eng!
NEVER GO FULL PAI begins with Charlie. In the wake of losing his father, Charlie has gained a new passion for photography and he decides to set out to see some of the world with his camera lens. Though he must contend with permanent mobility challenges due to a leg injury in his youth, he bravely takes on the life of a backpacker in southeast Asia where he knows no one and doesn’t understand the language.
Alternating with Charlie’s POV, we also get to know Ace. Ace is a seasoned backpacker and an even more seasoned partier. Ace takes Charlie under his wing and teaches him the city. Though Ace seems very cavalier, there is much more to Ace’s story lurking beneath his surface cheer and his chapters take us back in time to explore his history and what has brought him here today.
I really loved this coming of age novel! There was a buddy read with the author going on which was already underway when I received my copy of the book, so I worried a bit about being able to catch up, but once I started the book it was easy to sink into the story and keep reading.
I especially loved Charlie as a character. He is taking on this huge adventure which is far outside of his comfort zone, but he is adaptable and willing to push his own boundaries. Ace gives him a lot of encouragement to embrace the fun of being a true backpacker, but Charlie really blossoms and takes on more and more on his own. I struggled at times with Ace. He’s a fun character to read about, but someone who would drive me up the wall in real life. The more we got into his backstory, the more I really felt connected to Ace and while not all of his present day antics were good choices, I could see more where he was coming from.
This novel speaks a lot to being present in the moment and taking on new challenges and I really enjoyed the reading experience and the chance to chat with fellow readers and the author. I would highly recommend you add this to your TBR!