The Key to Everything by Paula Stokes
College senior Oakland Fuller has always believed in signs and soulmates, so when both a therapist and a fortuneteller say that her repeated relationship failures are due to unresolved feelings for her high school boyfriend, Seth, Oakland tries desperately to get back in touch with him. Problem: Seth isn’t responding to her online messages.
To rescue Oakland from a pathetic Christmas break of sitting in front of the computer, her best friend Morgan books the two of them on a guided excursion of Thailand. When the girls meet a pair of American soldiers in Bangkok, Oakland takes Morgan’s advice and engages in a little harmless holiday hooking up. Sergeant Tyson Banks is the perfect mix of sexy and fun. Two weeks with him might just turn out to be the best relationship Oakland has ever had.
Until the day she spots someone familiar across a crowded temple complex—it’s Seth! Somehow the boy she’s been trying to reconnect with is in Bangkok too. If that’s not a sign, then what is?
Filled with friendship, romance, bromance, and gorgeous faraway settings, The Key to Everything is a story for anyone who’s ever dreamed of finding love when (or where) they least expected it.
I was really excited to read Paula’s newest, and I jumped in without really looking at the synopsis. THE KEY TO EVERYTHING is very reminiscent to other traveling / romance books, particularly to a more recent novel, I SEE LONDON, I SEE FRANCE. THE KEY TO EVERYTHING follows Oakland and Morgan, both college seniors as they travel to Thailand and meet two soldiers, Tyson and Jed, with whom they hook up and hang out.
Oakland was a pretty relatable character in terms with her personality and her close friendship to Morgan, and her perseverance to contact Seth was respectable but something I couldn’t really connect with on a personal level. However, I did enjoy how the novel and the Seth dilemma wrapped up at the end and I felt it quite fitting to the title of the story.
For some reason, I didn’t realize this was a new adult romance, so there was lots of hot sex which was pretty nice if you like to read that sort of romance. Tyson and Oakland had some pretty palpable chemistry and I loved the classic romance tropes that were played throughout the novel.
Overall, if you want something fluffy and dramatic in your new adult romance, be sure to check this one out! I was put out a bit because of the racial and cultural implications but I hope that there will be a few changes to the final book.
Thanks to Paula for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Alice is an 18 year old college student who loves the oxford comma, television shows, and the company of dogs. She finds writing in the third person odd yet enjoyable. You can find her scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, and forever organizing her shelves on Goodreads.
What’s your favorite Paula Stokes novel? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!