The Way Back to You
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.
Firstly, the writing pair decided to tell their story from two different perspectives, Kyle, Ashlyn’s ex-boyfriend, and Cloudy, Ashlyn’s ex-best friend. Much like the book benefitting from having two authors, it also benefits from having two narrators. Both Kyle and Cloudy have experienced the same loss, but their relationship to Ashlyn and how they have dealt with their grief is unique to each person. As a result, readers have double the chance to relate to the characters, especially those who have found themselves in similar circumstances. Additionally, as Kyle and Cloudy develop feelings for one another, it is interesting as the reader to know the inner-thoughts of each and to compare them with what the other is assuming. Often times what Cloudy thinks is true of Kyle is not and vice-versa. Therefore, it is a good reminder to not jump to conclusions, but rather, to seek out the truth.
Secondly, though this novel is about the aftermath of a tragedy and genuinely displays that in an open and honest way, it also does not dwell there. It equally celebrates the joy of life, evoking wanderlust with a fun and unexpected road trip. Those who have ever considered jumping in the car with their friends and exploring the world will be inspired to do just that after reading this book and alternatively, those who have ever been on a road trip before will have a serious case of nostalgia. Moreover, Andreani and Scott have a great sense of humor. There were many times that I laughed out loud or found myself chuckling at the witty dialogue. For as sad as the book made me, it made me equally just as happy.
Overall, I really loved this book. I was, however, hoping for a stronger ending. The authors chose to leave the story a bit open-ended and ambiguous. Though they hint at a happy outcome, I wanted a little more closure and perhaps, a more concrete relationship between Cloudy and Kyle. Outside of that, THE WAY BACK TO YOU is not only a testament to true friendship, but also a wonderful tale of finding hope after loss.