Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Teen/YA Review: One Way or Another

I recently finished listening to a YA novel, One Way or Another by Kara McDowell, which seems to be her second novel. I enjoyed this fun rom-com with a twist that also tackles a serious issue.


Seventeen-year-old Paige struggles with anxiety and is in love with her best friend, Fitz, but he's always dating someone else. Now, as much as she hates even trivial decisions, she has a big one to make: go with Fitz to his family's mountain cabin for a Christmas worthy of a Hallmark holiday movie (and Fitz just broke up with his latest girlfriend) or go to New York City with her mother for her dream trip of a lifetime. Paige wants to be a travel writer someday, and she’s never left her hometown in Arizona before, so the New York trip (which her mom won free) is a big deal. As she's walking with her friend in a store, agonizing over the choice, Paige slips and hits her head. From then on, the novel splits into two different storylines: on one path, Paige goes to the cabin with Fitz and his family, and on the other path, she goes to New York with her mom. Both paths have elements of the picture-perfect holiday Paige dreamed of, though her anxiety follows her no matter where she goes.


I love novels that play with time—time travel, time shifting, alternate timelines, etc.—so this one was right up my alley. Paige’s anxiety and inability to make a decision affect every aspect of her life, and the author dealt with that difficult topic with honesty and sensitivity. At the same time, both timelines have a sweet, rom-com feel to them, as Paige compares her experiences to every holiday movie (and rom-com) she’s ever loved. There is plenty of humor here, too. The audio was very well-done with narrator Erin Spencer hitting the teen voice perfectly. I enjoyed this novel and like that it is fun, with the alternate timelines and rom-com vibes, but that it also tackles the serious issue of Paige's crippling anxiety and self-doubt in a very real way.


336 pages, Scholastic Press


Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. My review is my own opinion and is not influenced by my relationship with the publisher or author.


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Listen to a sample of the audiobook here and/or download it from Audible.


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  1. This sounds like a great combination of dealing with the serious problem of anxieties and a fun rom com. Interesting to have the dual timeline.