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

Title: The Way Back to You

Authors: Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott

Published by: Harper Collins and Katherine Tegen Books | 03 May 2016 arch 2016

Date Read: 10 April 2016

Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

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REVIEW

*ARC kindly provided by Harper Collins and Katherine Tegen Books thru Edelweiss for review*

Where to start? Where to start? I finished this book at exactly 1:47am and it’s quite hard to gush about it in silence. I wanted to squeal so loud but I can’t because it’s almost 2 in the morning and my parents are asleep next room. Lol.

I have always been in love with road trip stories. So it was actually no surprise that I’m eager to pick this book up. However, The Way Back To You is not just about the road-trip. It’s a heartwarming story about life, love, friendship, family, acceptance and healing.

“Grief doesn’t need much space at all. It’s more like it tightens and squeezes until there’s no more of you left.”

The Best friend. The Boyfriend.

Cloudy and Kyle lose Ashlyn to an accident that left them both very devastated.

Ashlyn is the kind of person who deeply cared. She loves animals, athletic – member of the cheer team, outgoing, opinionated and loves helping people. It was her choice to register as an organ donor. She always thought that though she might have lost her life but still she might save others.

Knowing this – Aslyn being and organ donor – leads Cloudy and Kyle to a road trip on the Southwest to meet the people who have received Ashlyn’s organ. Maybe it might help them both deal with the grief and loss. And maybe find something more. With each other.

Cloudy is the ideal best friend to have. She’s kind, nice and loyal. Losing Ashlyn is not just losing her best friend. She lost a sister who she grows up with and does almost everything with.

Kyle is the ideal boyfriend to have. He’s a gentleman, cool, respectful and loyal. Losing Ashlyn is not just losing his girlfriend. He lost a half of his own because he did loved her.

The set of characters that this book has are all so awesome. From Cloudy to Kyle – to awesome Matty and adorable Zoe and of course let’s not forget the cuddly ARM. *meow* I loved them all! They all became a huge part of the story.

“My eyes move to him and the sign, the cars zooming by on the street behind him, the palm trees fanning out above us. And I’m so present. Grounded on this sidewalk, with Kyle, on a trip that Ashlyn is leading us on.”

Along the way on their journey, there are awkward silences, awkward playlists, gummy worms, mints, old friends, red rocks, cliff jumping. It’s a very healing journey for both Kyle and Cloudy who’s really having a hard time dealing with the loss and grief.

The plot line was simple yet very well written. It was heartfelt and emotionally straight to the feels. The road-trip part was a bit short but it did serve its purpose for both Cloudy and Kyle. In addition to it, I love the element added that though Ashlyn was already dead, she still did play a huge part in the story. I love how flashbacks of her come in snippets in each chapter from Cloudy and Kyle’s point of views. I really like how despite her being dead, her memory still lives on.

Meeting the organ recipients – Ethan, Fredie and Sonia – made a huge impact to Cloudy and Kyle. It gave them a peace of mind that though they have lost Ashlyn, there are still parts of her that is still above earth.

“Eventually, the happier will come easier than the suckiness. It has too.”

In all, The Way Back To You is one heart-tugging story that left me happy and fulfilled. I get to know the characters so well and the journey they have all be through. I loved how everything wrapped up nicely with a pretty bow on the top. Kudos to the awesome authors. Thank you so much for sharing this story.

PS. I need a printed copy now please. I’m so excited for May to come. *SQUEE*

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