The Way Back to You
By Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
Average Rating: 4.01
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Death, Road Trip
POV: First Person Dual POV
Cover Love: Super cute. Love the road sign arrows!
Rating: 4.5/5 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.
I’m starting to love not reading the blurbs before reading the books because sometimes going in blind makes for a richer reading experience. It’s the best when it turns out super well! I don’t remember how I came across this novel but I knew the bare minimum walking in. All I knew about The Way Back to You is that when Cloudy’s best friend and Kyle’s girlfriend dies, both go on a road trip to see her organ recipients in hopes of healing the hole in their hearts since her death. Oh, and there’s a kitten involved.
Road trip novels are one of my favourite and guilty pleasure tropes, and I haven’t found another good one in a while. This reaches and exceeds most of my expectations. There’s romance, healing, and A KITTEN. ❤
Road trip. Coping with grief. Love. Kitten. That’s all I need.
“I’m fine,” I tell him. Auto-reply: on. “Just getting a pen and paper so I won’t forget I can’t say ‘Chlamydia.'” -Cloudy
Cloudy was a character that was very easy to like and relate to. She’s independent, athletic, and sassy. I like Cloudy’s particular journey in dealing with her best friend’s death. She deals with a lot of guilt and needs an enormous amount of closure for having feelings for her best friend’s boyfriend. Cloudy believes these feelings make her a horrible friend, and with Ashlyn dead, having no idea about it, you understand the basis of Cloudy’s conflict. She gets some great character development which I can only appreciate.
Kyle was also a character that was very easy to like. This whole book had an undertone of humour which was brought out in the characters. Kyle is soft; he’s sensitive and he’s freaking hilarious. BBF material let me tell you!! I love his interactions with the black kitten he finds and how he finds an immediate connection to Ashlyn. Through Kyle, we explore the possibility of reincarnation and the kitten is his way of coping with his grief. He’s so adorable, I just want to hug him!!
I rub the kitten between her ears. Her glossy black fur is softer than it looks. She responds by butting her head against my hand, flicking her tail, and opening her eyes…She blinks at me and I blink right back. -Kyle
The beginning was very slow!!! I had to tell myself to keep on going and that it will get better…and it did! There was a steady pace, however I had initially rated The Way Back to You five stars but then I couldn’t ignore the slow beginning and some parts of the novel where they completely lost me.
On the other hand, the whole story was uplifting and it was a nice take on death and coping with grief. The authors did a great job illustrating the healing process through the road trip and through Kyle and Cloudy’s relationship. It was nice to feel like I was healing with them and I think that was very crucial in the engagement of this novel. You have to feel engaged to fully enjoy this novel and although there was so difficulties all the way through, the authors did a decent job at keeping the flow with lots of elements like the fun and sassy banter, Cloudy’s sister making me laugh with her random facts, (I think she would make a great protagonist if a sequel was in the future) and the kitten.
I stand there as my teammates crowd around me in an eager rush of congratulations and hugs, and all I can do is remind myself to breathe. It’s all about breathing. -Cloudy
As always I love dual POV and it also played an important part at keeping my interest. Seeing two different sides of the healing process and their relationship with Ashlyn helped me understand Ashlyn and her impact after her death even more!
Romance was slow. It was done nicely and wasn’t the focus of the novel (thank god). I saw that Cloudy and Kyle’s romantic relationship was a nice way to symbolize their healing over Ashlyn’s death and I really like how it also expressed the ability to love again after the death of a loved one. Especially when this can be a hard subject for people to read. I believe it was addressed very well in a cheerful manner, yet with maturity and seriousness of death. This book had a lot of truthful elements scattered throughout and it was a perfect balance for the subject matter.
Honestly, the kitten was the best part of this book and so freaking CUTE!! I was just swooning when Kyle handled her. Just. So. Damn. Cute. I’m pretty sure I was swooning over the kitten more than Kyle. Hahaha, okay, I definitely was.
The Way Back to You is a cute, quick read that sends a message of life and love. With difficulties of engagement, this book still managed to bring out amazing characters, and a sweet, honest storyline. This contemporary novel is relaxing and will definitely bring out the feel-me-good moments, making for an enjoyable story.
Keep calm and just keep reading,