One Way Or Another by Kara McDowell | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

One Way Or Another by Kara McDowell | Book ReviewOne Way or Another by Kara McDowell
Published by Scholastic Inc. on October 6, 2020
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Social Themes, Mental Illness, Holidays & Celebrations
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781338654554
Goodreads
three-half-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.

One Way Or Another by Kara McDowell is a bit of a belated Christmas read sort of book. You all know how much I love the holiday season. So, this book seemed right up my alley. Plus, it’s got a multiverse storyline which is always pretty interesting. After seeing Andi tweet positively about this book, I knew I wanted to give it a chance ASAP. With its arrival in my mailbox, it felt like a serendipitous time to pick it up.

Paige Collins struggles with decision making. Her anxiety makes it so that she is always questioning the butterfly effect of her decisions. If she chooses one way, will she end up with so many regrets and with everything going wrong? And so, Paige has to make a big decision. Will she stay at her best friend Fitz’s cabin where they are sure to get snow for Christmas break or will she go with her mom to New York City?

With the help of a Magic 8 app, Paige begins to make decisions based upon what the app says. Oh and did I mention that Paige is in love with her best friend Fitz, but he is a bit of a Casanova with the ladies. In both scenarios, she has written Fitz a letter detailing her love for him and how much she also finds herself hating that love. He accidentally has the letter and she is consumed with getting it before he can open it and read it and their friendship destroyed.

One Way Or Another is a thoughtful exploration of what it is like to have generalized anxiety disorder. I thought that Paige seemed quite realistic. She truly is stymied by the different choices she is presented with. Honestly, it is to the point of having panic attacks. I loved that when she has these attacks, Fitz utilizes an actual coping technique to help Paige through it. Also? I love that we see utilization of therapy and SSRI medication. Treatment is not demonized in this YA book and that’s kind of a huge deal.

As for the romance and parallel storylines, I liked that in certain aspects events within the parallel storylines were the same. In both storylines or fates as the book calls it, Paige is in love with Fitz. So, in the New York City one, however, there is another possibility for romance for Paige. In the cabin storyline, we see that Paige is fighting her feelings so hard with such fear of what will happen if Fitz finds out and she loses one of her best friends.

Overall, McDowell’s One Way Or Another is a very fast read. At times Paige can be frustrating, but honestly, I chalk that up to her being young and not yet having the skills needed to navigate her anxiety. I think though, kids who do have anxiety will see themselves in Paige. That is valuable in itself. Plus, y’all, there’s lots of baking and holiday scenarios which on my end, I loved.


three-half-stars
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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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