Summary from Goodreads:
Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev's band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she's abandoning their plans—and Colby—to start college in the fall.
But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev's already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what's next?
This book is very different from a lot of what I read. Not different in terms of story or themes; different because of how its written. Personally, I don’t think The Disenchantments is really my style, though I still think it’s worth reading. Summertime road-trip books are always fun, and I don’t feel like I wasted my time here.
The thing with The Disenchantments is that it jumps into the story straightaway, and LaCour never really devotes much time to exposition. This novel is very much story-focused and plot-driven. The text is light on characterization, background info, descriptions, etc. As a reader who tends to value the whole picture instead of just the story itself, this type of narrative didn’t work as well for me as it might for other readers.
The Disenchantments covers a week-long road-trip in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington. Our protagonist is Colby, who’s in love with his best friend, Bev, and who’s volunteered to drive Bev and her bandmates, Meg and Alexa, around for a tour. After the tour, Colby and Bev plan on flying to Europe, where they’ll travel and see sights instead of going to college. Except Bev announces that the Europe trip is off, and the week-long tour becomes something very different than what it was originally supposed to be.
The thing is: Colby feels almost like a girl. Now, I don’t think that female authors should only write female characters or anything, but sometimes you can tell that an author hasn’t grasped the mindset of the opposite gender (it happens with male authors/female characters, too). Colby’s character did not feel authentic for me at all, and the fact that the book is narrated in first person definitely didn’t help. I did sort of warm up to him in the middle sections, but overall I think this book would have been much more interesting if it had been four girls on a road-trip as opposed to three girls and a guy on a road-trip.
Nina LaCour does play with some really great themes, especially toward the end of the book. I think The Disenchantments could have been much better had it not been so bare bones. It’s hard for me to feel for a character if I know absolutely nothing about him or her other than how s/he’s acting in this one particular moment in one particular circumstance. I think that the ideas presented here would have been more powerful if I had seen how they affected Colby as an entire person, as opposed to Colby in a short timeframe.
In the end, I thought this book was decent. It wasn’t boring and it wasn’t awful, but I definitely saw areas where it could have been improved upon. Personal preference also comes into play here, since I think this might be very successful with an entirely different audience. But I’m not a member of that audience, so I can’t say for sure. Either way, I wasn’t massively impressed with The Disenchantments.