Review: Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt

Title:  Right of Way
Author:  Lauren Barnholdt
Series:  Standalone companion to Two-Way Street
Publisher: Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
Publication Date:  July 9, 2013
Pages:  308 (ARC)
Format/Source:  ARC/Received from publisher
Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Contemporary

Can a road trip repair a romance gone wrong? Find out in this standalone companion to Lauren Barnholdt’s Two-way Street.

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…(Cover and synopsis from Goodreads)

A Light, Summery Read…

I’ve grown to enjoy YA contemporaries a lot more in the past couple of years, so I was excited when Simon Pulse sent me a copy of Right of Way. And while it is a book made for the summertime (beaches and summer weddings and road trips), it didn’t really wow me.

I’ve found that, for some reason, I often have to suspend my disbelief more with contemporaries than with science fiction and fantasy novels.  Let me explain.  With science fiction and fantasy novels, they’re not realistic.  The characters need to be realistic and the situations may be realistic, but there is a certain part of the story, whether a small part or a huge part, that is completely different than the world we live in.  So I just kind of go with it. But with contemporary novels, they’re supposed to be based in our reality, and so I find myself thinking, “That would never happen!” or “That’s so unrealistic!” as I read.  And yes, I know that sometimes I just have to overlook those things.  But unfortunately with Right of Way, there were maybe just a few too many of those instances for me to be able to just overlook them.

But there were several things I enjoyed about this book as well.  I liked the dual narrators, and I liked the fact that these two characters had very different voices.  However, not only were there two POVs, there were also flashbacks to “Before”, which meant that I got confused.  A lot.  I was constantly having to remind myself whether I was reading a “Before” section or not, and because the characters had been in a few big arguments, it was hard to keep the story straight at times.

As far as the characters go, I didn’t really love them, but I didn’t hate them either.  But I really enjoyed the fact that when it was, say, Peyton’s POV, the way she would interpret what Jace said and did wouldn’t necessarily be correct and you’d find out in Jace’s POV chapters, and vice versa.  But Peyton was pretty annoying and Jace was kind of sexist at times.  And Jace’s reason for breaking up with her before was pretty ridiculous.  BUT, when they finally kiss in the book, I was rooting for them.  I did want them to be together eventually.

Nice Quotes…

Here are a few of my favorite quotes* from Right of Way:

“Apparently this has become my thing. Shrugging without anyone there to see it.  I am now shrugging for my own benefit.”

“And this time, I delete the text. As soon as it disappears from the screen, I’m filled with regret. I shouldn’t have done that. Now how am I going to read it over and over?”

“Don’t they say that once you hook up with a guy, your hormones take over, making you emotionally attached to him? It’s, like, the curse of being a woman.”

My rating for Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt:

3 stars.  It was a quick, light read, but not necessarily my cup of tea.
Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Simon & Schuster

Disclaimer:  I received an ARC of this book from the publisher (Thanks, Simon Pulse!) in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way for this review.

*All quotes are from the ARC.  They may be different in the final version.


  1. fakesteph

    July 4, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    I'm sorry to hear that you didn't love this one. I love contemporary and I've been meaning to read the first one for ever!

  2. Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books

    July 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    I pretty much suspend belief in all books I read, including contemporary. Even though it's based in our world, its not realistic in the real world, if that makes sense. Though there are a lot of times that I think a contemporary book is too unrealistic, but I have no idea how to explain that!

    I read another review of this that said the same thing, there were just too many unrealistic things going on. Sorry you didn't love this one :(

  3. Kate Midnight Book Girl

    July 6, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    I'm not a huge contemporary fan, so I think I'll skip this one since I don't already own it. Seriously, it's going to take a awesome-must-have-it-now kind of book for me to buy it this summer. I'm trying to be good. Trying! ;)

  4. Bittner

    July 17, 2013 at 2:26 am

    I love contemporary (I mean, Hi…have we met?) But I do agree that sometimes the unrealisticness of the characters or situations makes me roll my eyes. But when you find those good ones that are realistic and thoughtful, those books can be amazing!

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