“Grief doesn’t need much space at all. It’s more like it tightens and squeezes until there’s no more of you left.”
Title: The Way Back to You
Authors: Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott
Publication: May 3rd 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
This is a very special book for two reasons. One: it deals with grief in a way that is both realistic and easy to relate to. Two: I managed to pick this book up at the perfect point in my life. (I finished reading it the day after my younger sister’s eighteenth birthday. May 8th was the thirteenth anniversary of her death). I, of course, had a very difficult time reading this novel – but I managed it, and it made me realize a lot of things about myself. The Way Back to You is special, it is poignant, and it is powerful in a subtle way. It will make you think, it makes you understand what happens when you bottle everything up and push people away – even if you don’t realize you are doing it. It showcases how different people handle their grief in different ways: be it becoming a busy body, a shut in, and or completely blocking it out of you head all together. Besides that, though, it is also a story about love and realizing that you don’t have to sacrifice your own happiness. It is about discovery, it is about friendship, and it is about family. The Way Back to You was the perfect book in the perfect moment, and I am so, so glad I read it.