Hi everyone, today I’m honoured to be part of the US blog tour for THE WAY BACK TO YOU by Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott! I’ve got a review and giveaway for you – check it out, then visit some of the other tour stops for more fun on this cute contemporary!The Way Back to You Buy It: Indigo.ca | Amazon.com | The Book Depository | iBooks | Google Books | Audible
For fans of Jenny Han and Morgan Matson, a witty, poignant novel about second chances, letting go, and the unbreakable bonds of friendship.
Six months ago, Ashlyn Montiel died in a bike accident. Her best friend, Cloudy, is keeping it together, at least on the outside. Cloudy’s insides are a different story: tangled, confused, heartbroken.
Kyle is falling apart, and everyone can tell. Ashlyn was his girlfriend, and when she died, a part of him went with her. Maybe the only part he cares about anymore.
As the two people who loved Ashlyn best, Cloudy and Kyle should be able to lean on each other. But after a terrible mistake last year, they’re barely speaking. So when Cloudy discovers that Ashlyn’s organs were donated after her death and the Montiel family has been in touch with three of the recipients, she does something a little bit crazy and a lot out of character: she steals the letters and convinces Kyle to go on a winter break road trip with her, from Oregon to California to Arizona to Nevada. Maybe if they see the recipients—the people whose lives were saved by Ashlyn’s death—the world will open up again.
Or maybe it will be a huge mistake.
Review: The Way Back to You
The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott is a book about holding in your feelings. It’s about what happens when you don’t talk about the things that are hurting you, until the point that you have to do something drastic in order to deal with them.
For Claudia ‘Cloudy’ Marlowe, this started even before her best friend, Ashlyn was tragically killed in a cycling accident. Cloudy has always been a sunny, positive sport, but she was hiding her feelings for Kyle, Ashlyn’s boyfriend, for a very long time. After Ashlyn’s death, she does so even more, burying herself in her school and cheerleading to feel normal. Kyle, on the other hand, has also become adept at bottling up his feelings, becoming stoic and silent at school.
When Cloudy discovers that Ashlyn’s mom has made contact with some of the recipients of Ashlyn’s donor organs, Cloudy takes off from their hometown in Oregon, convincing Kyle that maybe the best way for them to get over Ashlyn’s death is to see the people she’s given life to.
On paper, The Way Back To You had everything going for it. I knew it was going to be an emotional read, I love road trip books, there was even a kitten and a cheerleader. But for some reason, I didn’t quite connect to the characters the way I should have. I think they were so closed off and so accustomed to brushing off everything as fine that I just couldn’t get a grasp on them.
For me, that characterization was tied to a feeling that the writing wasn’t quite flowing like it should. The writing seemed to move haphazardly, where as soon as we would get to a moment, I would abruptly be pulled away – and not in a good way. Because of that, the characters also seemed inauthentic at times.
In fact, it was only just shy of the 200 page mark when I finally started to see them open up. I pushed through initially because I liked the premise, which, while far-fetched, kind of worked for me. I could also see glimmers of sassiness, especially in Cloudy. But at a certain point, the barriers started to come down, and the VERY SLOW BURN romance finally got moving.
The thing is, for me, as the book went on, it became less and less about the romance and more and more about seeing these characters finally grow and change. The Way Back to You does not give you either easily. But there are pockets of wisdom and cuteness here, little tufts of moments that sit side-by-side, lightness and darkness that bloom just when you’re getting frustrated. And that’s what kept me going in the end.
Cheerleading As Sport: What’s that, you say? Another bonus where I talk about how great it is to see cheerleading recognized as a sport in a book, and how hard cheerleaders work? H-E-L-L Y-E-S! Check out the video below if you don’t believe me.
It’s About Family: I didn’t talk about it a lot in my review, but this book has a really strong representation of how much family can do for you while dealing with loss. It was especially refreshing to see some of the parents in this book acting, you know, like good parents.
Realistic Road Trip: My favorite part of this road trip is that it doesn’t cover a ton of ground – because these are TEENAGERS, and they need lots of breaks to see people and stuff. Also, people keep checking in and they find out immediately that Cloudy and Kyle have taken off because, again, TEENAGERS. =)
Book Theme Song:
This song is featured in this book, not only as a song that encapsulates what Cloudy and Kyle are holding onto, but also what they have to move on from.
Amongst the vending machines and year-old magazines
In a place where we only say goodbye
It stung like a violent wind that our memories depend
On a faulty camera in our minds
And I knew that you were a truth I would rather lose
Than to have never lain beside at all
The Final Word:
The Way Back to You is a sweet, contemporary romance with a vein of tragedy in it. I couldn’t get over the disconnect I had with the main characters in the front half of the book enough to say that I really liked it, but the back half has a lot of moments that made it worth a read. This isn’t one I would buy for my own shelf, but if you’re interested in the premise and you like road-trip novels, give it a borrow.
THE WAY BACK TO YOU just came out yesterday, and Harper Teen/Irish Banana Tours is generously offering three copies to US readers for giveaway! Go sign up, and don’t forget to visit the rest of the tour stops!
THE WAY BACK TO YOU Tour Schedule: