We’re Never Getting Home | Tracy Badua


Coming April 16th, 2024 from HarperCollins Publishers; 320 pages

Content Warning: Alcohol, drugs

About the Author: “Tracy Badua is an award-winning Filipino American author of books about young people with sunny hearts in a sometimes stormy world. According to her grandmother, Tracy inherited this love of the written word from her great-grandfather, a school teacher in the Philippines. To Tracy, this means writing is in her blood, and she continues this family tradition by telling stories with her own spin in an accessible, heartfelt way. 

“By day, she is an attorney who works in national housing policy and programs, and by night, she squeezes in writing, family time, and bites of her secret stash of candy. School and work brought her from California to Washington, DC, and back, and she now lives in San Diego, California, with her family.

“Tracy served as an Article Editor for the California Real Property Journal, was a Round 8 mentor for Author Mentor Match and 2021 Pitch Wars mentor, and is actively involved in the Filipino American lawyer community. She was awarded the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Sid Fleischman Humor Award, the SCBWI Out from the Margins Award, and a Conference Choice Award at the 2017 San Diego State University Writers’ Conference” (Bio from author’s website).

Find Tracy Badua on the following platforms:

Because, as Maddy said, what lies ahead may be painful and not what we had planned, but still necessary. We can’t stop ourselves or each other from living in glorious color, from growing, even if it means growing apart. And even if this is the last time we do fall asleep in the back of a minivan together, empty Pringles cans digging into my side, I will always love her for this lesson.”

Ever since her mother’s car accident and her sister Jackie’s struggles at college, Jana has felt a pressure to be the “dependable one” in all of her relationships. Now, after a falling out with her best friend, Maddy, dashes Jana’s hopes for the perfect senior year, all she has to look forward to is seeing her favorite band in concert (and then returning home in time to pick her father up from work). However, the universe has other plans. Jana’s night at the music festival is upended when she learns that Maddy and her boyfriend, Tyler, will be accompanying Jana and Nathan, her friend from church, to the festival. Her night takes an even more disastrous turn when Nathan loses the keys to his car, destroying Jana’s chances of getting home in time. As Jana and her group search for the keys throughout the night, restricted cell service, a zany and troublesome group of fellow concertgoers, and interpersonal conflicts and tension stand in the way of their returning home. Despite these difficulties, this night of chaos might be just what Jana needs to confront her often pessimistic outlook on life and the way this perspective has influenced her relationships with others, especially Maddy. 

Aptly titled, We’re Never Getting Home presents a series of obstacles for the teenage group that made their departure from the music festival seem, at many points, impossible. At certain times deeply frustrating or quite amusing, this book kept me engaged throughout, and I was constantly wondering if Jana and her companions would ever make it home. I thought Badua’s portrayal of teenage female friendships, and how insecurities and fears can affect said friendships, was, for the most part, very realistic. Readers of all ages can likely relate to Jana and Maddy’s fear that major life changes will strain or even destroy their friendship. However, I wish the novel had spent a bit more time examining the dynamic between Jana, her parents, and her sister Jackie. It is made clear that Jana’s relationship with others is heavily influenced by the role Jana plays in her family, but readers aren’t really given much information about influential people until very late in the book, making it hard to establish a connection between them and Jana’s behavior. Despite my appreciation of some ways Badua concluded the novel, I also felt like Jackie’s plotline lacked an appropriate resolution for it being such an important part of Jana’s character arc. 

I would recommend this book to young adults undergoing periods of change in their lives who can relate to stories about growing older and the evolving relationships that come with this growth. 

We’re Never Getting Home releases on April 16th, 2024.

Pine Reads Review would like to thank  Books Forward and Quill Tree/HarperCollins for sending us an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change before final publication.

Sam Parker, Pine Reads Review Writer