Reviewed by Isabelle Liew Bi Xuan
After Ashlyn Montiel passed away unexpectedly, her best friend, Cloudy, and boyfriend, Kyle, went through a period of immense emotional turmoil.
Ashlyn’s organs were donated after her death, and when Cloudy found out who the organ recipients were, she rashly stole their information. In a last-ditch attempt to reassemble the broken fragments of their pasts, Cloudy and Kyle embarked on a reckless and impulsive journey to track down the people living with parts of Ashlyn in them.
This book takes you through a rollercoaster of emotions – it encompasses the essence of what it means to lose someone and how to muster up the courage to face the void they left.
“The only parts of her that are still alive on this planet are inside of the recipients. They’re here because she isn’t; they’re with their friends and families, and she’s not. I’ll never be with her again.”
– p. 121
Although the storyline was unique, the blossoming romance between Cloudy and Kyle was a tad cliché. However, the dialogue was incredibly realistic and it accurately conveyed the characters’ longing, anguish and hope. Its candor allows readers of all ages to identify with and learn from the characters.
Cloudy’s growth could be clearly seen throughout the book. Initially masking her anguish and avoiding the fact that Ashlyn was gone, she refused to reveal how lost and shaken she was; but over the course of her journey, she developed the willpower to accept the truth and braved obstacles with wisdom.
Likewise, Kyle was going through a dark period of confusion and despair – so much so that he even quit baseball, his favourite sport, as he felt that there was no point to it. However, thanks to Cloudy and her spontaneity, he was able to pick himself back up.
The Way Back To You was a unique, enjoyable and easy read – it had parts that were lighthearted and fun shining amidst the bleakness of loss, with characters that maintained a positive outlook through the stages of moving on. This book will leave readers with a bittersweet closure and an ache in their hearts.