The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on May 3, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384– hardcover & ebook
Format Read: paperback
Rating: 4 stars
In this witty, heart-tugging novel, two teens take a spontaneous road trip across the Southwest to meet three strangers who received the life-saving organs of their late best friend—charting a journey of loss, hope, and love along the way.
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 of out 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.
With hundreds of miles in front of them, a stowaway kitten, and a list of people who are alive because of Ashlyn, Cloudy and Kyle just may find their way to back to her…and to each other.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacted my views and opinions below.
This book is so much more than just a road trip; it’s an emotional journey of two friends trying to find themselves after a tragedy affects their lives. After Ashlyn died, her organs were donated to others in need, and Ashlyn’s mom starts corresponding with some of the organ recipients. Cloudy, Ashlyn’s best friend, stumbles upon these exchanges and decides to go on a road trip with Ashlyn’s boyfriend Kyle to find closure for both of them. I admit that ever since I read the synopsis, I already predicted what half the book was going to be about. However, that did not make it any less enjoyable. I’m a sucker for road trip books, and this is no different!
There are lots of tangled relationships in this book, making for a very interesting dynamic. I won’t spoil… But it’s definitely complicated. This was a notably light read, considering the fact that this book was centered on someone’s death. I actually felt things while reading this – it’s been such a long time since that happened! This was a sad and sorrowful book, of course, but there were also undertones of humor and hilarity which balanced it out really well. I found this to be the perfect read for me.
This book was told in the alternating POVs of Cloudy & Kyle and I equally enjoyed reading both of them. Cloudy was a really strong and sensible (not in the boring sense of the word) protagonist and Kyle was equally as strong. Their dynamic was my favorite thing to read! Their banter and conversations made me laugh out loud. I loved how they both pulled each other out of the proverbial hole they both fell into after Ashlyn’s death. Of course, Cloudy and Kyle weren’t the only ones affected by her death, there was also Matty – Kyle’s cousin – and Zoe – Cloudy’s sister. They were all in this emotional journey together.
I felt like this book was more character-driven than plot-driven, focusing more on the development of the characters, and I actually didn’t find any problem with that. The book was still as easy to read as ever and it was all just really well-balanced. The writing was very conversational & fun and it totally matched the book’s atmosphere. It’s what made this such an amazing read.
Overall, this was an emotional book with undertones of light humor. The characters were enthralling and their dynamic was just as captivating. This story explored the depth of grief & sorrow and love & happiness beautifully.
Rating: 4 fish