Saturday, 22 March 2014

Book Review: Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt

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.

This was an odd book because there were quite a few things about it that really annoyed me but I still found myself enjoying it.

There were some great things about it. The writing was really good and the story flowed nicely. The POV swaps between the two main characters (Peyton and Jace) and also switches between the present and the past. Barnholdt handles this really well and I wasn’t once confused. The story was entertaining and well structured; it was a fast read that never bored me.

One of the problems was that I felt this book was trying to be very grown up and mature and that Peyton and Jace were right on the cusp of adulthood and had adult problems, but the characters themselves were extremely immature. Peyton moans, whines and cries a lot, some of it was justified but some of it was just childish. Her mother betrays her (in a way I have never seen in a book before) and Peyton decides that the way to fix this is to run away. The problem is that running from her mother will not fix things because it is the authorities that she is potentially in trouble with and she isn’t going into hiding just moving away so they would find her easily. If she had told her dad it could have all been fixed but instead she tells no-one and even lives with her mother for quite a while and doesn’t confront her.

For the first three quarters of the book I thought Jace was better that Peyton but towards the end of the book I changed my mind. In the past Jace broke up with Peyton because she did not tell him a personal secret about her family that doesn’t affect him at all. He does not even tell her he is breaking up with her, instead he ignores all her calls, messages and pleas to contact her. He has only been in her presence for less than a day and they have only been in contact with each other was a short time and he gets his knickers in a twist because she didn’t share one personal thing about her family that she was not ready to talk about (the secret is nor even a massive deal, it’s not like her dad was a serial killer or something).

Of course Peyton partially blames herself which annoyed me because she did not need to tell a boy she barely knew anything about her life if she didn’t want to. I do not know why this all made me so angry but it did and if I was Peyton I would have not let him back into my life, even if he skipped graduation to drive me across the country (which to be honest he did because he didn’t want to go to graduation). What makes this all worse is that he acts as though it was her that broke his heart, excuse me?! Then calls her behaviour ‘bratty’. He also kisses her even though he has a new girlfriend.

The whole book was building towards this big reveal about why their relationship fell apart the first time round. I was intrigued because they were both moaning about having their hearts broken by each other and Jace was super angry. When the big reveal came and I realised that Jace was a bit of a prat I was disappointed. Honestly if I could have reached into the book and slapped him I would have.

Another issue was the ending, I felt like there needed to be more closure. Peyton and her mum issues are a huge part of this book and there was no conclusion to it at all, I wanted to know what happened because to me that storyline was more interesting than the romance.

Yet despite all my moaning about this book I did enjoy it and I would recommend it, do not think it will annoy people the way it annoyed me.

3 stars

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Published July 9th 2013 by Simon Pulse, ebook ARC, 320 pages

A free copy was provided for review.

Review by Kate Phillips

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