Rating: 5 Stars
Purchase: Back to You
Synopsis taken from Goodreads
Or that it would end so painfully.
Eight years later, when Lauren begins her new job at Learn and Grow Day Care, Michael is the last person she expects to see. Refusing to revisit the hurt and confusion of their past, Lauren vows to keep her distance from him. But staying away from Michael proves to be more difficult than she thought, despite her lingering grief and her instincts for self-preservation.
As Lauren and Michael recall the friendship that changed them forever and the events that tore them apart, will they finally be able to heal? Or will the ghosts of Michael’s past prove to be too much to overcome?
When I picked up Back to You by Priscilla Glenn, it came recommended by Mollie over at Tough Critic Reviews. I had heard great things about it but I was completely unprepared for this book that was catching the blog world by storm. This story is just beautifully brilliant, I started this book and just could not put it down! Tosha, what were your initial thoughts when you first started this book?
I had just received Back to You to read for TIB when I began noticing Mollie and everybody going crazy about it. It made me more excited to get started. It captured me from the get go. There are so many things I can go on and on about, I'm not even sure where to start. I think first, I was amazed how Priscilla Glenn was able to alternate present to past and the incredible job of portraying both POVs. For this being her debut novel, I was astonished. I am pretty picky when a POV is being done by the opposite sex. She nailed it. It's incredible how she was able to deliver two different stories and had me wanting to keep reading both. Stephenie, what are your thoughts on past/present and alternate POV, and how well do you think Priscilla did?
Tosha, I think you are absolutely right, Priscilla absolutely nailed it! I can get confused when switching back and forth from past to present but Priscilla handled this effortlessly and I never found myself wondering what time I was supposed to be reading about or whose POV I was reading. She is honestly gifted with a magical style of writing that just makes you want to continue reading. Priscilla created these amazing characters that I just loved. Her character development with Lauren and Michael was so unpredictable but beautiful at the same time. What were your thoughts on the characters and how she developed them over a span of over a decade?
OMG!! You're so right about amazing characters. When I think of Lauren and Michael I can't stop smiling. Lauren is such a great character. She is considered a straight-lace type of girl, but there is so much more to her character that I absolutely love. Her depth of seeing people and their pain is beautiful. There is one example I love and it is what Lauren sees when she looks into Michaels eyes. Lauren recalls a class trip she'd taken in fifth grade and how they came across a pond that was completely serene, as smooth and still as a sheet of glass, but when they inserted a tiny camera just beneath the surface, it revealed this unrestrained, tumultuous world of fish and plants and organisms whirling and crashing and spinning out of control, totally hidden beneath the deceptively unruffled exterior —that pond; Michael's eyes. That description kills me.
My heart aches when I think about what Michael has gone through. I know he's considered a badass, but he was such a lovable character. His smart mouth and the way he cares for Lauren had me swooning.
A decade later and Michael still had me swooning at the type of man he became. Steph, tell me what you liked most about their friendship...
Oh my goodness! I freaking loved their friendship, Tosha. This is one of the main reasons I love YA literature. The characters are likely experiencing their firsts and the feelings they experience are intense. It's wonderful to read about that time in someone's life, especially when it's done as beautifully as it is in Back to You. Ms. Glenn has created a beautiful friendship between two amazing characters that is built on trust. Michael and Lauren depend on each other and they don't take their friendship for granted. One of my favorite lines in the book is "And she couldn't help but smile at the irony of the fact that the baddest boy in school could somehow always make her feel like the world was good.”I just loved that line! It was just such a simple statement that had so much meaning behind it. It's still in my head. So I guess what I loved most about their friendship is how mutual the respect was and how much trust they shared.
I think we've all been in a friendship where their could've been more and it broke my heart to know how little Michael thought of himself and why. His life has been hard and he just doesn't think he's good enough. I struggled reading about why he thinks so little of himself, my heart broke for him. Were there any scenes that you struggled through because they were so emotional?
Steph, I am all about angst. There are a few places that really got to me. I don't know how to say much more and not have any spoilers. I do know that Priscilla delivers it well and nothing came off as out of character. Which I find sometimes when an author is trying to put some turmoil into their novel.
Steph, lets finish this up with one sentence on how we would describe this book.
The most beautiful story of true friendship filled with angst, just what I love.
An amazing love story and I loved every moment of it!