Monday, October 5, 2020

#AmReading: One Way or Another - Kara McDowell

One Way or Another

Kara McDowell
Age/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The average person makes 35,000 decisions every single day. That's about 34,999 too many for Paige Collins, who lives in debilitating fear of making the wrong choice. The simple act of picking an art elective is enough to send her into a spiral of what-ifs. What if she's destined to be a famous ceramicist but wastes her talent in drama club? What if there's a carbon monoxide leak in the ceramics studio and everyone drops dead? (Grim, but possible!)

That's why when Paige is presented with two last-minute options for Christmas vacation, she's paralyzed by indecision. Should she go with her best friend (and longtime crush) Fitz to his family's romantic mountain cabin? Or should she accompany her mom to New York, a city Paige has spent her whole life dreaming about?

Just when it seems like Paige will crack from the pressure of choosing, fate steps in -- in the form of a slippery grocery store floor -- and Paige's life splits into two very different parallel paths. One path leads to New York where Paige falls for the city . . . and the charms of her unexpected tour guide. The other leads to the mountains where Paige might finally get her chance with Fitz . . . until her anxiety threatens to ruin everything.

However, before Paige gets her happy ending in either destiny, she'll have to face the truth about her struggle with anxiety -- and learn that you don't have to be "perfect" to deserve true love.
There was nothing that made Paige more anxious than making decisions. When faced with THE BIG CHRISTMAS DECISION - go to New York with her mother or spend the holiday with her longtime crush, she found herself at her wits' end. Well, that was until the universe got involved and allowed her to live out both possibilities. Now the question was, will Paige get her HEA in either or both of these universes?

I hate when I read a book that I LOVED, but revealing some of the most fabulous parts would betray my no-spoiler loving self. Therefore, I am going to try and highlight a few things I simply adored about this book and hope you get to discover the rest, when you read ONE WAY OR ANOTHER

It's an adorable rom-com

This story was sweet and fun and funny, and it just made me smile. I loved that Fitz was this H U G E rom-com fan, who was in love with love. He was the king of grand gestures, and it was easy to understand why Paige was pining for him. There were over-the-top moments, tender moments, swoony moments, and all of them fueled my desire to see these two make a love connection. 

It was a great dose of holiday cheer

I actually don't read a lot of holiday themed books, though, I don't know why, because they never fail to lift my spirits. The family, presents, SNOW, and general holiday cheer in this book put me in a great mood. I got to frolic in New York City AND experience the holiday traditions in the mountain town of Williams, Arizona. At one point, I was ready to don my ugly sweater and make some eggnog, just so I could keep the jubilant energy going. 

It wasn't just fluff

As much as I love a good, fluffy rom-com, I also like it to have some depth. I got that from this book via Paige's struggle with anxiety. McDowell handled it so well, and it was great to see the multiple ways Paige dealt with her disorder. There was no anti-anything, as pharmaceutical and talk therapy, as well as relaxation strategies and cognitive behavioral therapies were discussed. It was also wonderful to see how supportive her family and friends were, which is such a vital thing for anyone with an illness. 

It had a such a great ending

I honestly smiled from beginning to end as I read this book. It was a delight to watch destiny take its course as I grinned, laughed, and swooned. As amazing as the story was for me, it got EVEN BETTER. At about 90%, things started happening which left me extra giddy and filled with glee. Really, I couldn't think of any way to make it better. 

Overall, this book was an utter joy to read. I cannot wait for everyone to take this journey with Paige as she explores her possibilities, learns new things about herself, and gets her happily ever after. 

**ARC received in exchange for an honest review. 

Do you enjoy books set during the holidays?
Let us know in the comments!

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