Monday, July 8, 2013

Right of Way ~ Lauren Barnholdt (earc) review

Right of Way
Simon Pulse
July 9, 2013
320 pages
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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…
Right of Way starts out the way a great companion novel should: we find out how the new main character or characters are linked to those from the previous novel and what their story is. Here Peyton is Courtney's cousin and we learn, as the story continues, different ways Courtney and Jordan are also part of Jace's life.

It's also very similar in tone to Two-Way Street with the characters not on good terms, keeping secrets from each other, but one caring for the other more (at least than is apparent) and trying ot make things better. There are also the same great road trip stops that seem to ease things in their (hopeful) reconciliation along.

The story is told in both 'the trip' and 'before' each coming from either Jace or Peyton's point-of-view and giving us some interesting views of the current situation -- and the other character -- but also some important insight into past events.

It's pretty easy to see that, despite their animosity, the two characters can be a very good fit. These are two characters it's very easy to root for. I loved Two-Way Street and having even that minimal appearance from those old characters was not only fun, but also reinforced some ideas about Jace and Peyton. The closer it got to the end, the more worried I was for the two of them as it seemed they had so much to work through, so much to conquer, with so little of the book left.

That they seem like they could so work, makes one hope that they can get their differences worked out and that their secrets - whatever they may be -will be revealed so that they can work through whatever is troubling them and perhaps really be together.

And that's where the spoilers that I just abhor will come just a bit into this review. I've been thinking on this book - and review - since I finished it in April and decided a) I can't leave this out and b) I'm not sure I can do it without any spoilers, so . . . .

I loved the book until the ending. Until really, the last page, actually. I've been thinking about this since I finished reading it in April -- whether I was just being too picky or not. Yet, I feel (then and now) strongly enough about the ending that it warrants mentioning in the review.

(If it's a tiny bit spoiler-y, I apologize profusely!)

The first ninety-eight percent of the novel seemed to be Jace, the story, and Jace and Peyton working to get Peyton to stop running away from her problem. Even when he didn't know what it was. Even when he only thought that was what she was doing. I know that it was to get her to literally stop running away but thought that it was figuratively as well.

The closer and closer it got to the end, the more I worried there wasn't enough time for a full resolution. And I don't feel that there was. Peyton's side of things was wrapped up too neatly, too quickly. She never really had to deal with things and the way her conflict was handled at the end sent a wrong message as far as I'm concerned.

Maybe I was looking for the wrong thing from the book and/or the character at the end, but I was disappointed in how it came together and what she did -- or didn't do.

Taking away that last page (or perhaps adding in some more), I very much enjoyed both the characters, the similarities in style to Two-Way Street and their road trip.

Rating: 6/10

thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for me egalley for review

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