July 27, 2013

Review: Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

Title: Two-Way Street
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Release Date: June 26th, 2007
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page Count: 288
Source: Read on PulseIt
Rating: Some of my favorite road trip shenanigans to date.
There are two sides to every breakup.

This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They're even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.

Then Jordan dumps Courtney -- for a girl he met on the Internet.

It's too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney's heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la -- this is Courtney pretending not to care.

But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.

Turns out, he's got a secret or two that he's not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can't get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Jordan dumps Courtney for a girl he met online a couple of weeks before the pair are set to road trip up to college (the college I went to, for the record). But because Courtney's parents have some kind of agenda, they make Courtney drive up with Jordan despite the break up. So road trip they must. But, like, obviously there's a lot more to this story than Jordan breaking up with Courtney for some chick he met online. And that's where the amazingness that is this book comes in.

Let's break this down:

Okay, so obviously I loved this one because my college popped up. Even if I'd hated my university, I'm the kind of girl who'll defend the university she hates on incessantly because only SHE'S the only one (along with 16,000 undergrad and an untold number of grad students) allowed to pick on her university. But I really did like my university, SO EVEN MORE SO. Even more so.

Anyway, what else did I love about this book besides the destination of the road trip? Well, Courtney and Jordan, to start. I think this one of those books that REALLY utilizes the dual POV. It's done so well I didn't even have a preference for whose chapter I was, I just wanted to plow through to the end (which is good because I read the e-version of this book on Pulse It and I only had a night before S&S took the book down). I loved the pacing and the flow and I felt like the whole thing was absolutely perfect.

But I obviously didn't just love the POV. I loved their relationship. Yeah, the way they get together is a little weird because Courtney's pining after her best friend, but Jordan's desperation is so real and so key-board-slamming-upsetting that you can't even be mad at him for his motives. And then what they have together just seems... I dunno, right? For no reason, either. It's not like they have a ton of things in common or have similar life goals. They're just happy together. Which is nice to see sometimes, y'know?

My other complaint about this book aside from the way Courtney and Jordan get together is that the REAL reason Jordan breaks up with Courtney is kind of obvious from pretty early on. But I don't even hate this because this book (like many of the books I love) isn't about the big reveal, it's about the journey the characters take. I mean, yeah, my heart was in my throat for Jordan the entire book (UGH, SERIOUSLY, THIS BOY CANNOT CATCH A BREAK), but it wasn't a suspense thing. It was a: Please let me hug you and pet you and take care of you until the end of time kind of thing.

So aside from our two protagonists, I also really love everyone else in this book. Courtney and Jordan's BFFs are also dating and they're awesome comic relief. Even Courtney and Jordan's SUPER INFURIATING FAMILIES work for me. They behave like people and they're present. Which is great, because there's nothing I hate more than families that don't behave like people and aren't present. Those don't have a place in YA. Really.

The long and short of it?

Plot: An angst-y road trip plot I found entirely addicting.
World Building: Families that behave like families? Check. Teens who road trip to college? I buy it. Miscommunication, assumptions and hiding shit? Smells like teen spirit to me.
Character Development: I love the way Courtney and Jordan come to understand how much their lives are changing. It's not just the shift to college, it's the entire shift of their family structures. There's no easy answer or good way for them to deal with what's happening, but they make do, and they somehow manage to make do together.
Prose: A really easy read that had me smiling, crying and raging for all the right reasons.
Would I Recommend This Book?: If you like road trip contemporary novels with quite a bit of angst/general emotional turmoil, I would tell you to drop everything and read this book. Seriously.

Who wants to road trip with a cute boy? Everyone? Yeah? Okay, tell me about it in the comments below.


  1. I listened to this one on audio and it was okay .... probably not my favourite road trip book, but not bad. I think the problem for me was that it really wasn't that memorable. But I still want to try some more of Lauren Barnholdt's work!

  2. Great review! I've been looking for some realistic YA-fiction for sometime, and don't get me wrong there's no shortage BUT this book intrigues in romantic side aha so thank you for that!

    Anyways, i've been looking at your blog reviews and basically just posted 8 new "to-reads" on good reads!

    You should come over to my blog @ http://straightfromthereadersmouth.blogspot.com
    I'm a new to the blogosphere and really appreciate the followers!

  3. Great review Gabby *adds to wish list*

  4. I have never read anything by this author before but I think I'll need to start with this one! And a college road trip sounds amazing!

  5. I'm a sucker for a road trip, as almost everyone knows. So it's really not a surprise that I'm curious about this one! It sounds deliciously angsty and utterly real and I could use more of that in my reading choices :)

  6. Okay, okay. I get it. I really need to read this book :P


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