Estelle: Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

Two-Way Street by Lauren BarnholdtTwo-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
Publication Date: 1/27/2007
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 288
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: road trips, ex-relationships
Format read: Borrowed from library.

Summary: Two weeks after Jordan dumps Courtney, they are due to drive to college on a road trip the two had planned beforehand. Courtney’s trying to pretend she doesn’t care about him anymore, and Jordan is crazy from hanging on to his own secrets. Will these two make it to Boston in one piece?

A fast paced read about two exes on a road trip to college together! What could be more deliciously disastrous?!

As the third Lauren Barnholdt book that I’ve read, I’d rank this one in between Sometimes It Happens (which I loved) and One Night That Changes Everything (superficial bordering on ridiculous). You can’t deny the chemistry between Courtney and Jordan, who couldn’t be more different. Courtney’s sort of a “goodie two-shoes” (I could relate) and Jordan is a former playboy, a fan of rap music and good looking ladies.

We get a taste of their current situation (not good) and the backstory of their meeting (interesting). Barnholdt did a great job of weaving the stories in and out and having them meet in the middle. This is one of the rare YAs I’ve read where we get just as much of the guy’s perspective as we do the girl’s. And I liked that. Dare I say, I liked Jordan as a character so much more. He may be a total flirt and lover of cheerleaders but I liked discovering his softer side, a side it seems that he didn’t even know he possessed.

Barnholdt also used a great comedic technique a few times where the character would think one thing, and then express that same exact thought out loud. It seems simple and isn’t revolutionary but I found that very funny.

Be prepared because this book’s driving force is miscommunication, but for some reason, it didn’t aggravate me as it would in some other books. What did bug me was the reveal of a certain secret WAY too early in the story. I don’t want to give too much away, but REALLY? I guessed Jordan’s secret way before I had to and I wish the author would have trusted her readers a little bit more.

Two-Way Street may not be life altering, and that’s okay. It is the perfect escape from a hectic day at work, or even a great way to enjoy a weekend in the sunshine.

Psst. Lauren Barnholdt’s companion to this book, Right of Way, comes out on July 9!

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Estelle: Ex-Mas by Kate Brian

Ex-Mas by Kate BrianEx-Mas by Kate Brian ( @ Twitter )Sparklejollytwinklejingley Holiday Winter Book Reviews
Note: Kate Brian is the pseudonym of author Kieran Scott. Familar? 🙂
Publication Date: October 6, 2009
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 224
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: Christmas, popularity, exes, siblings, road trip
Format read: Bought used online.

Summary: Lila has been prepping to through the biggest winter break party forever, in hopes of securing her position as the most popular in the high school hierarchy. But when her parents catch on about about the party from her noisy little brother, her plans go down the drain. As if her brother didn’t ruin her life enough already, he disappears with his best friend and the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she’s pretty much written off completely.

At first sight, I really disliked Lila. All she cared about was showing everyone just how popular she was, so proud of how she ditched her uber-curly hair, her love of singing, and ratty wardrobe for all the beautiful things. I was pretty much muttering to myself how this book was doomed if Lila didn’t buck up a little bit. A whole 200 pages of her queen bee personality was going to send me over the edge, even if it was a holiday-themed book.

But in an almost Scrooge-like twist, we got to see the true Lila, even if it took a few detours to get there. Thanks to the crazy antics of her brother and his best friend, who also happened to be the brother of her ex-boyfriend, Beau. Beau la la. (Get it?) A Loner musician type with muscles! Way back when, Lila and Beau were best friends who fell in love. Unfortunately, their relationship took a nosedive when Lila’s reputation to be the coolest, awesomest gal in town started to take precedence over everything. She started dating an upperclassman turned college boy, landed a best friend in the popular crowd, and said goodbye to everything Beau meant to her.

In a Pacey and Joey-like scenario, two people who want nothing to do with each other are forced in a car together, looking for their brothers, two kids who would do anything to save Santa Claus — even run away from home. Though Lila and Beau make a pretty terrible team in the beginning, there’s still a hint of something between them… and it’s a whole lot of fun and havoc watching it all pan out.

Just like the Let it Snow short story collection did for me last year, Ex-Mas was adorable and funny and got me rightfully pumped for the magic and romance of the holidays. And despite its fluffy nature, it still does a great job of tying up loose ends and working through all the minor plotlines. A bonus!

And if Santa made all dreams come true… this book would be on its way to being a feature flick on ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas! Someone get on it! (And I guess if that doesn’t happen… I’ll just have to re-read it again next year.)

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Sparklejollytwinklejingley Holiday Winter Book Reviews Song Pick

I have two for this Ex-Mas… I always liked Bette Midler’s version of Winter Wonderland because she bases it in L.A. + also for a fun romantic Christmas song, I’m obsessed with Huckapoo’s Wild Christmas and have been for about 10 years now. (Ignore the Miley Cyrus montage.)