Estelle: Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt

Right of Way by Lauren BarnholdtRight of Way by Lauren Barnholdt ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: July 9, 2013
Publisher: Simon Teen
Pages: 320
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: family secrets, divorce, love/hate relationship, road trip
Format read: eBook from Publisher via Edelweiss! (Thanks!)

Summary: After a whirlwind romance and breakup, Peyton and Jace are not excited to see each other at an upcoming family function. But when Peyton’s plan of running away ends up with her stranded in Florida and no way to get to her destination, Jace is the only one who can help her.

I can’t help it. Ever since Pacey and Joey, I’ve been a fan of sparring couples.

The chemistry! The tension!

While Right of Way definitely succeeded in those two qualities when it came to Peyton and Jace, the story was just too much of a mirror of the earlier Two-Way Street and seemed a bit under developed. Peyton feels utterly betrayed by her mother and needs to get away so she uses the family wedding in Florida as a jumping off point for a summer of freedom with her best friend, Brooklyn. Unfortunately, Brooklyn’s mom finds out about their plans, grounds Brooklyn, and leaves Peyton stranded in Florida with no way to get home. (After a disaster of a night with her ex, Jace, too.) Despite Jace’s disappointment in Peyton’s past actions he can’t resist her when she needs his help. (Even if he’s going to act like he could care less.)

Cue the road trip!

Even though their circumstances were different than Courtney and Jordan’s from Two-Way Street (these characters make plenty of cameos in this book), it just felt too much of the same story. I would have loved to see Peyton’s best friend have more of a role in the story, for them to actually end up in North Carolina, and then Jace somehow appear? It would have felt like a different kind of road trip because the amount of pages I read, the amount of stories I was taking in, didn’t even seem to match up with the distance they were driving. (This is coming from a girl who has driven 17 hours straight to Florida.)

Despite my reservations, the book still managed to be fast-paced and addicting. Barnholdt really knows how to stretch out the mysterious parts of her books, and that kept me going. Plus, I found myself really liking Jace over Peyton (something that also happened to me in TWS) and some of the supporting characters were funny. Unfortunately, though, the end snuck up on me and I finished the book with a “that’s it?!” I liked Peyton and Jace together but I’m not sure they managed to outgrow their immature, and impulsive natures enough to make this relationship work. Most importantly, the pressing family issues that spurred Peyton’s original scheme were not given any kind of resolution and I felt there really needed to be one — good or bad.

If you are looking for some great opposites attract road trip stories, I strongly suggest you put Two-Way Street and Ex-Mas by Kate Brian at the top of your list.

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12 thoughts on “Estelle: Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt

  1. Rachel says:

    I have been waiting for this review since you told me you finished it. I had VERY different feelings, but I think I’ve figured out why. First off, I didn’t read the other book, so I felt like I was reading something new. I read the plot summary for that one and they sounds EXACTLY the same, so I would definitely not read that one. That obviously makes a huge difference since I had nothing to compare it to. The other reason why I think our opinions differed is that I looked at this as more of a character exploration and a look into communication (or the lack of), rather than expecting anything to actually happen. I thought it was interesting to see how I’m not the only one that has a difficult time communicating my feelings, but over time Jace and Peyton worked through it and they worked through their issues together. I also loved the ending, but that’s because I love endings that are wide open for me to imagine whatever I want.

  2. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    Sadly, I couldn’t finish this one. I had high hopes since I was a fan of Two-way Street, but this one just didn’t deliver in the same way. I was really turned off by Peyton’s character. The rich spoiled girl routine has been done a lot in YA. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it just annoys me. In this story, it definitely annoyed me.

  3. Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life says:

    Aww, I’m sorry that this didn’t really work out for you Estelle! It sucks that it was SO close to the first book of this companion/series, which I would definitely found annoying. A lot of this also seems unrealistic as well. Like, how could everything get resolved so quickly? Plus, not even everything gets resolved, which is a huge bummer. :/

    I’m sorry this didn’t impress you Estelle! Thanks for such an honest and lovely review, though. <3

  4. Alexa Y. says:

    I haven’t read the first one, but even so, both books sound very similar based on their summaries! I am quite a sucker for a road trip book though, so I might eventually have to check one of these two books out for fun.

  5. Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader says:

    I’m happy to hear I wasn’t the only one who was forever affected by the wonder that was Pacey and Joey! Between them and Logan and Veronica, witty banter and arguments are essentially a prerequisite for a truly great couple that I’ll root for. All joking aside, I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy Right of Way, although I can’t say I’m particularly surprised. I’ve seen a series of tepid reviews for this sequel recently and the overarching opinion seems to be that it simply didn’t need to be written. It sounds like it re-hashes the same issues as the first novel, Two-Way Street (Which I haven’t read but hear is great!) without adding anything new to the narrative. It’s unfortunate given how popular Barnholdt’s other novel was as I think it has left a bad taste in more than a few reader’s mouths. There are few things I enjoy more than a road trip story, but I think this is one that I’ll have to pass on.

  6. Sharon @ The Book Barbies says:

    Sad that you didn’t like this one. :/ I love Pacey and Joey, too, but I don’t always love the sparring couples. It’s a fine line for me, between awesome banter and awkward/hurtful fighting.

    I still need to read Two Way Street, though!

  7. Taylor @ Reading is the Thing says:

    I read and enjoyed Two-Way Street, but I was definitely worried about how similarly Right of Way would end up. I’m sorry to see that it was just too much the same for your tastes. I haven’t read Ex-Mas yet though, so maybe I’ll give that one a shot (probably closer to Christmas!) to satisfy my craving for two exes on a road trip! Great review!

  8. Molli says:

    Hmmmm, Lauren is one of those authors I’ve been meaning to read for some time and haven’t. I’m going to add one of her earlier books, but it’ll just depend on if I find one for sale or something as to which I actually end up reading first.

    Man, I hate it when a book just stinks, especially when you’re hoping to like another book from an author you’ve enjoyed in the past. It sounds like the author could have done more to differentiate this one from Two Way Street.

  9. Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) says:

    Aaah, so this is one that I’ve been wondering about but it seemed like I read somewhere that this was a sequel or a companion or something, so I didn’t pursue it. And you sorta/kinda validate that for me. I’ve actually also never read anything by this author but Ginger was kind enough to send me The Thing About The Truth so I’m thinking that I’ll probably read that one when I’m feeling the itch to check her out. Love this review because my little eyes caught the words “North Carolina” in there, which means nothing at all. <3

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