Monday, December 20, 2010

Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

Title: Two-Way Street
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Published: June 26, 2007 by Simon Pulse
(288 pages, paperback)
Summary: 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. 

My thoughts: Two-Way Street was funny, cute, and realistic. I absolutely loved Jordan from the very start, and I loved the way Barholdt made him seem so realistic and his half of the writing felt like a guy's. Courtney got on my nerves a little, since she seems so convinced that Jordan is a jerk and couldn't care less about her, although I guess I would feel the same way if my boyfriend dumped me for a girl he's never even met. The sparks between the characters were undeniable and their banter made me laugh out loud a few times. Barnholdt really knows how teenage relationships work and their relationship certainly did work.
The idea of the story (a girl stuck going on a three-day-long road trip with her ex--who dumped her) was what first intrigued me, and it was interesting how the characters coped with the awkward and unavoidable tension between them. Courtney deals with it, well, by not dealing with it, and Jordan is a sweetheart and tries to keep Courtney from being uncomfortable. I really liked the flashbacks to before the trip, and how Barnholdt introduced each chapter by saying whether it was the trip (and what time it was) or before the trip (and how long before the trip it was). The writing for both characters felt like teenagers, and I appreciated how Barnholdt didn't hold back from using some bad language, like teenagers do, but she didn't drench the story in obscenities like she could have.
One of my small complaints was that sometimes the Jordan from before seemed a lot different from the Jordan during the trip. But I know people change, so I forgive him for being a jerk with Courtney sometimes and a sweetheart at others. Courtney was a little whiny for me, but it was understandable, since she was in a strange and uncomfortable position. My main problem was that neither characters said any of what they wanted to say to each other until the end of the novel, and since I like characters who speak their minds, this frustrated me a lot. But it was, again, understandable, since Jordan couldn't say what he wanted to, and Courtney didn't think Jordan wanted to hear what she had to say. I would've liked some more communication, but it was cute the way Barnholdt wrote it.
There weren't all that many secondary characters, but I adored the small spinets of B.J. and Jocelyn's twisted relationship. They were hilarious and oh so very realistic, since I've had friends that have had that exact relationship. Lloyd seemed like a jerk to me from his first appearance and Jordan's view of him seemed the most realistic, even though Courntey had known him way longer. I liked how Barnholdt dealt with that whole situation. I also liked how Jordan and Courtney's views of the same thing were sometimes totally different and sometimes exactly the same. It was nice to see both sides of things, making the characters' feelings obvious and their differences (uh, again with this word) understandable. The ending was great, and I really enjoyed how some things were left up in the air, but it still had a strong resolution.
Overall, Two-Way Street was cute, funny, different, and realistic. The characters were well-developed and the story line was well-paced, and overall, a great teen read. I'm not sure this book is chick-lit, even though it's totally a romance, but it was great if it was, and it was great if it wasn't. There were a few problems I had with it, but in the big picture, they didn't matter much. Jordan and Courtney are perfect for each other, even if only the readers realize it at first, and their mottled relationship's status made for a great read, especially with a road trip tossed in.
Cover: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4 stars


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