ARC Review: The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott

Title: The Way Back to You
Author: Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016
Pages: Kindle, 384
My Rating: 4 Stars

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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 was given an ARC by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 

"What matters is that she found her way back. Just like we're all trying to do."

When I first read the synopsis of The Way Back to You last year, I immediately wanted to read it. I love romances filled with tension, and this seemed like the perfect book! I became wary of reading this book because I saw only so-so ratings from my friends in Goodreads, but I'm so glad that I read it anyway because I really enjoyed it! I used to hate road trip romance novels, but it seems like I've been having a lot of luck with them lately. 
"And everyone here, looking the opposite way. We're all staring out to the ocean like the answers are in front of us when, really, the whole world is at our backs. Waiting for us, hoping we'll take notice."

The Way Back to You is so much more than just a romance novel, but for once I actually want to focus on the romance aspect because I just loved it! This is my favorite kind of romance - one that progresses slowly, one that has history, one filled with tension. Cloudy and Kyle's attraction to each other wasn't a spur of the moment thing in the middle of the road trip. Nope, they both were already actually attracted to each other long before, and seeing how it blossomed within the road trip just gave me so much feels! Ah, I just loved it!
"I think we can believe whatever it takes to get us through."

Of course, more than that, the healing processes of Cloudy and Kyle were also amazing. Oh, did I mention that this book is a dual POV? Cloudy and Kyle took the same trip to start their individual healing processes, but their own methods were different. Where Kyle loved meeting the organ recipients, Cloudy dreaded them. Where Kyle hid in his bedroom, Cloudy was all smiles in front of everyone. This just shows that despite people having different healing processes, people can heal all the same. And what's amazing is how in the end, Cloudy was only beginning to heal, not already completely healed. Both Kyle and Cloudy realized their strengths and weaknesses, and were both willing to work towards becoming better.

"This is what I can do now: I can make it through the day, even when it sucks. Especially when it sucks. ... I'll fight for this new kind of life. And I'll face what's up ahead."

I know that there are a lot of books out there dealing with deaths of friends, and there are also a lot of books where two teenagers go on a road trip together, but I can't help but feel that this one is unique. I really enjoyed reading it, and it took me on an emotional roller coaster ride. The Way Back to You is definitely a book that I recommend.

4 fulfilling stars

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