Unfortunately, this book was not for me!
Don't get me wrong, I loved the idea of back packing through Europe and I really enjoyed reading about the different towns that Colleen visited. It took me back to my time in Europe and my experiences which are always fun to reminisce about. I also enjoyed the view of Berlin right after the fall of the wall. I haven't read many stories set in that time period so that was new for me. Unfortunately, that's where my good feelings stopped. Even though I enjoyed the different places she went, I felt like the descriptions of the town were general and just information rather than really describing them and helping the reader picture what that town is really like. Even when I've actually been there it was hard to imagine! I also felt that a lot of the book was filler and not needed. There were random conversations that didn't make sense and didn't add anything to story.
I could even forgive all of that and still enjoy the story but what really ruined this book for me were the characters. In general, I need to connect with the characters to really enjoy a story so this book didn't have much of a chance with me. I can connect with the characters because I hate them, because I can relate to them, because they are inspiring or impressive, just about anything, but if I don't connect in some way, I'm not going to enjoy the book. I really couldn't connect with Colleen. I didn't like her much either. I thought she was a very naive traveler which makes for a very dangerous vacation. I thought she made stupid decisions that led to bad outcomes that could have easily been avoided. I couldn't connect with Florian because I knew NOTHING about him. I couldn't connect with Alsion because I thought her drug addiction was more convenient for the story line than actually thought out. I just didn't like them and couldn't find redeeming qualities.
I also hated the fact that this was a "love story." I may have missed the part where either Colleen or Flo exhibited any kind of romantic feelings or relationship prior to "falling in love." It didn't seem legitimate and definitely didn't warrant a life changing year long journey to reconnect. I felt like something was missing.