Taylor and Isolde used to be best friends. They grew up visiting each other at Taylor’s home in Queenstown, New Zealand and Isolde’s home in Sydney, Australia. Their families were friends. They were going to be friends forever. That’s what they thought – before THAT FIGHT, 18 months ago. Since then, it’s been radio silence.
Then Taylor emails Isolde to sympathise over a breakup she never saw coming. It was easy to sympathise – he’d had a similar experience after all. Isolde responds, just to be polite. She tried contacting Taylor during their radio silence months, and never heard back. But Taylor had been dealing with his own challenges, including a life-altering accident that slammed the door on his dreams of competing in the Winter Olympics.
When Taylor sends Isolde a heartbreak themed Spotify playlist, any awkwardness between the two seems to disappear. They start talking like they used to, having Skype dates, emailing, texting and Instagramming back and forth. They share their memories from before the fight, more playlists, gifts, stories about their exes. And as Taylor and Isolde start to lean on each other, the distance between them begins to feel not so distant after all… What will happen when they finally meet again?
This is one of those books that makes you feel good. It’s a story about a boy, a girl, and their one-of-a-kind friendship. This book has everything you could want: laugh out loud moments, quiet times of reflection and consideration, some tear-filled conversations, the friends to maybe-more-than-friends romance and even real playlists included so that you can listen along with the characters. With main themes of friendship and family, The Long Distance Playlist really highlights how these relationships can be complicated to navigate. Written primarily through text messages, emails, instant messages and Skype-chats, from both Taylor and Isolde’s points of view, this novel will resonate with young readers who use the same methods to connect with their friends across the world.
Tara Eglington has written a beautiful novel spanning across both Australia and New Zealand. As a reader with heritage in both places, I felt even more connected to the story, but Eglington’s descriptions are near perfect. I can easily see Queenstown being added to many reader’s Bucket Lists. The characters, place and heart in this story all tie together beautifully to create a charming, bubbly and memorable book, perfect for a young adult reader.