Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt Simon Pulse, 320 Pages
Expected US Release Date: July 9, 2013
Format/Source: Print ARC, via Around the World ARC Tours - thank you!
Challenges: Contemporary Challenge
Can a road trip repair a romance gone wrong? Find out in this standalone companion to Lauren Barnholdt’s Two-way Street.
Here are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal.
Unless it isn’t. Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on.
Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind. And neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead…
But I read a very smart thing in a self-help book (don't judge--they can actually be very comforting) about how sometimes the people you don't spend that much time with are actually the ones you can end up getting the most hurt by, because you can get attached to the idea of them, as opposed to what they really are. You don't get enough time to really get to know them and their flaws, which is why you can sort of create this fantasy of who they are, and therefore indulge all your hopes and dreams of who you wanted them to be.
So, I’ll put this out there: I haven’t read Two-Way Street yet. I KNOW. I’m horrible. How can I claim to love contemporary road trip novels and not have read that?! I know, I know. I’m getting there.
I will say that if you haven’t read Two Way Street and DON’T want to be spoiled, DO NOT read Right of Way. It’s there. They appear. And while I don’t think it’s any surprise, if you can’t stand any sort of hint/clue/whatever, don’t even think about trying to read Right Of Way.
But if you’re like me, where you pretty much know (not just because you can guess, but because multiple have told you since they assume you have read it) and don’t mind knowing for certain what happens, go right ahead and dig into Right of Way. I don’t know if I missed any sort of relation between the two books, but it can totally stand on it’s own.
How much do I love dual narratives? So much. So, so much. I love getting two perspectives from the same situations, I love differing character voices, I love getting to know the thoughts and feelings of each character. And Right of Way was fantastic about that. I also loved the additional element of making the narratives from before their trip and during the trip. It was a great insight into their pasts and really opened up their personalities into who they really could be. However, I have been known to skip reading chapter titles – don’t do that! I definitely got confused a few times over because I didn’t realize we were reading about the past.
While Right of Way is a really good, solid contemporary to add to any YA shelf , I have to say that sometimes I felt like not much was really happening. The story had a straightforward plot, but nothing that was too exciting or too forward with the movement. The story, the timeline, everything is belieivable – it’s just a little underwhelming and I was itching for just a bit more passion and action. (Not THAT kind of action, you dirty readers! Well…I mean…)
I was also surprised how the characters turned out for me. I knew I was supposed to love Jace, and while I really did like him…it was definitely not as much as I could have. He was a little predictable and totally typical. But Peyton? Really loved her! I thought she was going to be whiny, bratty and annoying – and the funny part? She totally is, but not at all in an unlikeable way! Maybe it’s the girl in me, but I was with her every emotional step and actually applauded her at trying to keep her head straight even when she was making really dumb choices.
Two small things to wrap this up: 1) Hector the dog? Love him. So adorable. I want him, dirty mitts and all. 2) Peyton’s mom and what she does to her? Horrible. I hated that there’s no real resolution to that whole situation, but I like to think she gets what’s coming to her.