Not As Good As It's Predecessor
4 March, 2014
The first thing I did when I saw this book was add it to my tbr list, even before I'd read the blurb. I absolutely adored Two Way Street back when I read it. It's one of the books that got me into the YA genre the first time (before I broke up with the genre, and then got back into it), and one that I hold as a YA classic. So when I saw that Right of Way was a companion novel to Two Way Street, I knew I had to read it.
Having read and loved Two Way Street the way I did, I naturally had high expectations for this one. Unfortunately, Right of Way did not live up to them.
Peyton plans to go on a 'trip' to North Carolina (she's running away) with her best friend Brooklyn. Except, at the last minute, when she's at her uncle's wedding, Brooklyn ends up ditching her, and now Peyton is virtually stranded in Florida, with no money and no ride. Enter Jace, Peyton's version of 'hell-on-my-heart', who offers to help her out and take her home to Connecticut. With no other options left, Peyton agrees, but with the intention of tricking him into taking her to North Carolina.
The book alternates between Jace's and Peyton's points of view and is interspersed with flashbacks, which is typical of a Barnholdt book. On any other book, this would probably be confusing and hard to keep up with, but Barnholdt somehow makes it work, and sounds charming as well! It's actually one of my favourite features in her books.
The story is fun and engaging! It's fast paced, so you dont have any page skimming happening out here. Right from the get go, it's obvious that there's some painful history between the two characters, that plays into their present action and decisions. Like with most of Lauren Barnholdt's books, you get really involved in the story and the anticipation builds nicely right from the start.
Despite how much I enjoyed the author's writing, I couldn't quite connect with the characters. I get that they are meant to be natural, faults and all, but I just couldn't see them as characters I could understand and relate to. Peyton is a very girly girl, and as she confesses early on, a bit high maintenance. She's facing a tough time at home, and that pushes her to make some drastic decisions, though not necessarily smart ones. In fact, I actually found some of her actions lacking reason; lile running away for instance. Which is why, when Jace points out the same thing, I took him for a responsible person, only to be let down. Well, okay, he is responsible to an extent, but his attitude towards a couple of things annoyed me. Check this out: You have awesome parents, great friends, and now, you're valedictorian on top of all that! Which sane person would crib about being valedictorian, and be ready to skip graduation because of that? Okay, I get that giving a speech can be nerve wracking, but his entire attitude towards the whole thing was flippant and casual, in my opinion. And they both have the tendency to make a mountain out of a molehill.
Despite all their faults (which can be mostly ignored), both Jace & Peyton are fun characters. They're very much alike, which makes for some humourous instances when they end up having almost identical thoughts. I also liked Jace's overall outlook towards things in general; he's very pragmatic and straightforward in the way he deals with things (except for his graduation, that is). One thing about this book is that it doesn't follow the same route as Two Way Street in terms of the road trip. In fact, at the end of the day there's very little actual 'road tripping' happening. I also wished the ending was more conclusive, though this could just be me being anal.
For those of you who loved Two Way Street and are curious about what role Courtney & Jordan play in this book, they're role is pretty small. They make occasional guest appearances, giving some input here and there. Where Two Way Street is intense and emotional, Right of Way is lighter and funnier.
Bottomline: Fans of Two Way Street will like this one, mostly I think due to some leftover affection for the first book, but dont expect what you got from the former. Still, it is a light, summery read and fun in it's own right.
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