One Way Or Another // Book Review

Author: Kara McDowell
Published: 2020
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Holiday
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Synopsis
Sliding Doors meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in a sweet, smart holiday romance about a girl who decides to stop letting her anxiety stand in the way of true love.


I saw this book in stores last holiday season, and the cover intrigued me. I went into the book completely blind, since all I knew was that it is a YA contemporary that’s set at Christmas time. But, this book threw me for a loop. We jump straight into the plot from the get go, and learn all about the main character, Paige. She is an extreme worrier, who is paranoid to make a decision. She overthinks every choice, and gets anxiety when thinking about the effects her choices can have on her life.

In the book, we follow Paige as she spend Christmas with her best friend, and long time crush, Fitz. However, we also follow her to New York where she spends the holiday with her mom. The book showcases alternating time lines where the reader gets to see the outcome of both choices. At first, I was completely confused, because she was on a plane to New York. Then suddenly, Fitz was picking her up so she could spend Christmas at his family cabin.

As the book went on, I got use to the dual storylines. It was a cool concept, and with such an indecisive main character, I understood why the author chose to go this route. Still, I didn’t feel like the whole dual timeline works in a book. I have seen movies with this type of plot, and prefer it in films and shows rather than books. Yet, even in live-action, the lines between both paths can become blurry.

This was supposed to be a friends-to-lovers story, which I think got lost along the way. At one point, I was rooting for her to end up with another potential love interest. Paige was way too invested in Fitz, which was slightly annoying. Her crush wasn’t subtle or cute, but obsessive and desperate. She was pining so hard for her best friend, who was a serial dater. We do learn a lot about Fitz and the reason behind his relationship habits, but by then, I already wasn’t a fan of his character.

Something that the author did remarkably well was the mental health representation. Like Paige, I suffer from mental health disorders, anxiety being one of them. I completely understood her thoughts and worries in a way that only someone who also feels that way can. She thought that her brain was broken, and was scared that her illness was a burden to those around her.

“Rabbit holes are my specialty. I live and breathe in them.”

There are many times when I have felt the exact same way. It took me a long time to understand that my brain isn’t broken, but it does work differently than others. If anything, this is a self love story about coming to terms with your mental health struggles, and realizing you don’t have to let them control your life.

As for the two time lines, I’m not sure which one I enjoyed more, but I did find the ending thought provoking. It begs the question that all things will ultimately turn out the way they’re supposed to, no matter the path to you chose. It’s an interesting concept. One really has to wonder if fate does play a big part in our lives and decisions.

As a whole, the characters and plot weren’t my favorite, but I wouldn’t categorize the book as a disappointment. Have you read this book? Do you like alternating timeline plots? If you are a fan of reviews, give this post a like and a share. And make sure to follow the blog for all my post notifications.

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny