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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Review: Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

How do you get over someone when you see him all the time? How do you deal with the heartache? How do you move on?

Title: Two-Way Street
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Pages: 288


There are two sides to every breakup. This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They're even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation. Then Jordan dumps Courtney -- for a girl he met on the Internet. It's too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney's heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la -- this is Courtney pretending not to care. But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot. Turns out, he's got a secret or two that he's not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can't get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.

There are novels that require very vivid descriptions of the setting and character, that when the narrative exceeds more than a couple of pages, it gets boring that you just tend to skim the pages until you get to a part where there’s a conversation going on. And there are those that does not bother with detail, we’re served with a dull, empty story we end up regretting reading it in the first place. Conversations that seem to go nowhere just make a story more annoying.

But for Two Way Street, the conversations and inner monologues work. As a reader, I am treated with first-hand knowledge of what the characters are feeling and thinking.

Courtney Elizabeth McSweeney, the female protagonist and Jordan Richman’s girlfriend of barely four months, when thinking to herself, tends to list reasons for random things. So for this review, I’m adapting her method.=)

What I like about Courtney:
  1. She felt real, like a typical Average Jane, that in the story, she was not written as super-smart, just intelligent and sensible enough to know she needs good grades to get into college. She’s not super-hot that every guy in school drools after he, but attractive enough to catch Jordan Richman’s attention and affection. She’s not written as poor that we should pity her, or not rich that we envy her.
  2. She acknowledged her neurotic/psychotic tendencies when things didn’t go her way.
  3. Like any other girl who’s in loved, she went to great lengths just to show Jordan she really loves him, and when she got her heart broken, tried to prove to herself and Jordan that she’s okay, but despite her best efforts, failed miserably.

What I like about Jordan (besides the name, of course ΓΌ):
  1. Just like Courtney, there’s nothing extra-special about him. He’s a player who met his match in Courtney.
  2. He’s a closet romantic. He told Courtney “I love you” when she least expected (and needed) it – they were broken up. He insisted on driving the two of them to Boston University just to spend more time with her.
  3. He’s more confused and affected with their broken relationship. Proof?
    "Sue me if I need retail therapy. This whole Courtney breakup is driving me insane, and shopping makes me feel better. I’m turning into a girl. Plus I love the feeling I get when my mom’s credit card runs through the machine.”
  4. And how awesome is this? Jordan made the bigger effort to fix their relationship. And though he almost did, never gave up.

Why I think the story rocked:
  1. No unnecessary subplots and complex characters that confuse a reader. The story primarily revolved around Courtney and Jordan. Theirs may be whirlwind romance, but the instant connection between them is so relatable.
  2. Minor characters, a.k.a. friend-support-system, like BJ and Jocelyn have their moments, without actually stealing the spotlight from the main characters. I love it when Courtney thought to herself:
    “The irony of all this is that B. J. and Jocelyn, who should be the poster children for dysfunctional relationships, are going strong. They’re hanging out, cuddling, probably having sex on a beach, while Jordan and I, who NEVER EVEN FOUGHT, are done.”

  3. Roadtrip! It’s one great adventure, especially when you’re going with someone you love. And the alone time that Jordan and Courtney provided the perfect venue what they needed to confront their feelings for each other and to work out the problems between them.
  4. The story switches back and forth with the past and the present time. We get to read about the history of their relationship, at the same time understanding how they ended up with their current situation.Two Way Street is told in alternating views between Courtney and Jordan. I find this effective because, just as Jordan or Courtney get’s to the highlight of her story, it gets cut off, and we read from the other person’s point of view again. It builds up the excitement and curiosity of what happens next.
  5. Two Way Street is told in alternating views between Courtney and Jordan. I find this effective because, just as Jordan or Courtney get’s to the highlight of her story, it gets cut off, and we read from the other person’s point of view again. It builds up the excitement and curiosity of what happens next.

Some points where the story kinda blows:
  1. The story built up a heightened situation, that when everything is about to climax, it fell short, and did not quite satisfy.
  2. The ending felt rushed.
  3. Too much cussing.

But as a whole, the story is great. It has the right amount of drama and humor. I love how Lauren Barnholdt found a creative way to properly end the story. Thought it felt rushed, I find the subtle happily-ever-after fitting. It’s not too in-your-face great, but it’s not too flat either.

Once the door shuts behind her, I pick up my cell phone and take a deep breath. I have to call Lloyd. I have to call my mom, my dad, and Jocelyn. I told Jordan he had to stop protecting me, and now I have to stop protecting myself. I decide to go for it, to jump right into things, to make the hardest call first. I dial my dad’s number at work. The sun is shining through the window, casting stripes of light on the floor.

“Hey,” I say when he answers. “It’s me.”

Lauren Barnholdt’s Two Way Street deserves a 4 out of 5 rating.

Rating: ★★★★☆ : FANTASTIC! - This is a really nice book. I love it!


  1. REALLY AWESOME review! I agree how descriptions can get way too long. I skim a lot through those parts. I like getting to the dialog :) Thanks for this review, I didn't know if I would like it too much when I saw it in the bookstore, but now i'll have to pick it up!

  2. I loved this novel when I read it. It was a really funny, cute, easy read. My husband even decided to check it out and really got into. Thanks for the review!

  3. Hey, hey, hey!

    Stopping by to say you have an award on my blog!

  4. I didnt think there was too much cussing, the environment i live in & the school i go to i hear a curse word between every other word in a single sentence. Its pretty realistic, it's how people live & talk now adays & not just in english. People cuss so much in all languages... anyways great review!!


I love getting comments from my readers and fellow bookworms, and I try my best to respond to all of them. Feel free to give me a piece of your thoughts. Also, this is an award-free blog. I simply don't have the time to highlight them anymore, but thank you for thinking of my blog!

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