Cover Image: You Can Go Your Own Way

You Can Go Your Own Way

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Eric Smith's newest is in the same contemporary world as his last release, Don't Read the Comments. There is brief mention of the MCs from DRTC, but it can definitely be read as a standalone. It's a completely unrelated story following Whitney and Adam, ex-best friends fighting a social media war on behalf of their parents. Tropes included enemies to lovers and forced proximity.

This is a solid contemporary YA read with some highly entertaining social media banter, dual POVs (which is always my favorite), and a lot of character growth from beginning to end. I love how social media is taking a bigger role in books coming out as it's more realistic for the current world. I loved how close the community was and that the main setting was in a pinball arcade in Philly, very unique. 

There were pieces I didn't love in this - Whitney's dad, somehow they were never in school even though it was winter?, and the lack of parental supervision. But, they were all fairly minor grievances - something else was lacking in the plot line specifically but it's hard to explain what. 

A solid read, but not one likely to stick with me long term.

**Thank you to Inkyard Press and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review**
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Thanks to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for providing me with an eARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.

Adam and Whitney used to be friends, but now they exchange jabs online. Adam, working at his late father's Pinball Arcade and Whitney managing the social media for her father's gaming cafe. Each of them weighed down with the expectations of their fathers, Adam unable shake himself free from the things that his father loved and Whitney doing her best to garner some attention from hers. 

It only takes one snowstorm, trapping them in the arcade to let go of the past that kept them so firmly at odds and find their futures, possibly together.

This is a friends to adversaries to lovers book, y'all. Just throwing that out there first of all. Second is that when you read a book by Eric Smith, you will learn something. I know way too much about pinball machines between Adam and the little quotes from "Zen and the Art of Pinball Repair" or something similar to that. Which, in fact, is not a real book. I checked. I didn't expect it, but was going to be pleasantly surprised if it was.

Eric mentions in his acknowledgements that this book became something entirely different than the story he set out to tell and it really comes across in the writing, not in a bad way. There is so much depth and personality oozing from the book, you know these characters are an amalgam of experiences, loves, friends and memories. There was so much here that I related to as a millennial, from myself going to the alternative concerts, which the characters went to the second time around. Many of the bands mentioned, I actually saw in the late 90's and early 00's in their prime. And, I just aged myself. 

That said, the feeling behind the novel of growing up, letting go of your past and going your own way, transcends generations. The way that I felt growing up, there was another teenager in the 70's going through the same motions just as there is one here in 2021 that might pick up this book and be introduced to all the great pop culture references. (I need to listen to Fleetwood Mac now and I blame you, Eric.)

As the title states. You Can Go Your Own Way. 

Masterful work, Mr. Smith. I can't wait to read your next book.
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This book is such a good one for this time of year. There are a lot of cozy winter vibes. The romance between the 2 main character is cute. Overall a solid book.
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This was a really cute story about two teenagers who once were friends, but grew apart.

Adam is trying to hold onto the most of his later father as he possible can, which means he puts literally all his time and effort into his father’s old pinball arcade. When a big tech company starts taking over with their chain of gaming cafes, Adam feels like it is his responsibility to keep his arcade running and relevant. 

Whitney is running the social media for her father’s tech company and dealing with the emotional aftermath of a recent breakup and her parents’ divorce. She is stuck, and wondering how she got here, especially considering that she spends most of her time online arguing with Adam (their companies are rivals).

But they used to be friends. They used to bond over music and their all around quirks… but stuff gets in the way. When a snow storm hits and the two of them are stuck inside Adam’s arcade, all that time apart and their hang ups, their responsibilities fall away, making room for the two of them to get back to where they once were. But what happens after? Where will that leave them?

I really enjoyed this book and I loved all the gaming and music talk. It was fun a silly and just an all around good ya contemporary read.
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Adam Stillwater and Whitney Mitchell used to be close friends. But then high school happened, and everything changed. Now it’s their senior year, but Whitney is too busy running the social media accounts for her dad’s chain of successful gaming cafés to do much of anything with her remaining friends and Adam is in over his head trying to keep his late father’s pinball arcade afloat and out of Whitney’s father’s hands. When a giant snowstorm hits and traps Whitney and Adam in the arcade and cut off from everyone else, they must face each other and find some common ground. But will their hearts melt as easily as the snow outside?

Eric Smith’s latest novel is an honest exploration of grief that’s simultaneously full of cute, wintery vibes. All the characters are so developed, and the setting sparkles with charming descriptions. Adam and Whitney are both excellent characters with very real flaws and insecurities, but who also bring out the best in each other. I loved watching their relationship grow and change over the course of the book. I also enjoyed visiting Philadelphia’s Old Town and meeting the eclectic cast of shop owners and employees. Readers can identify with so many fantastic themes in this novel: losing a loved one, growing apart from friends, accepting change, and more. You Can Go Your Own Way is the perfect read for fans of sweet, wintery romances and pinball arcades alike.

(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing us with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.)
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This book is charming and thoughtful and lovely. The protagonists and worldbuilding are well-developed; and the protagonists are so, so relatable even with such specific, unusual circumstances. Grief and mourning are handled beautifully and understandably. I think the pacing was spot on, It's a beautiful take on what could be a tired trope, and any critic of YA should read this book to understand how elevated the genre can be.
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4.75/5 stars

You Can Go Your Own Way is a book about pinball machines, long-term grief, family, friendship, and finding a way to move on from what you’ve always known. Told in dual-POV by Adam and Whitney, this book had me hooked from page one. Adam is trying to hold onto the arcade that was near and dear to his late father’s heart while starting to realize that it’s time to move on. Whitney is running social media for her dad’s arcade that is rivaling Adam’s. When a snowstorm hits Philadelphia, these childhood friends turned enemies turned kind of friends again have a chance to finally sort through the past few years and what caused their rift.

I’ve realized over the past few months that I believe that any book with a romance plotline is instantly made better when multiple POVs are involved. Instant serotonin boat and this book was no different. It was truly a delight to get to see the progression of Adam and Whitney’s relationship throughout this book.

I absolutely loved learning about all of the game, music, and movie/tv shows that were referenced throughout the book. When I was younger I loved going to the arcade and playing this space pinball game. This book had a strong sense of nostalgia and the author’s love for the old games really shined through in their writing. 

I especially appreciated the way that Eric Smith addressed grief and loss being a continual weight even years after losing a loved one. While change is inevitable, I think it’s natural for most people to resist it and cling onto what we’ve known. Adam is holding on so tightly to his dad’s old clothes and games that he doesn’t realize that what once provided comfort in the beginning of his grieving process is now holding him back.

Whitney is also going through a growing pains process as she is relying on running socials for her dad as a way of staying connected with him. She’s also in the process of realizing that many of the people who she befriended after her fallout with Adam aren’t true friends who have her best interests at heart.
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A big thank you to NetGalley and the publishers over at Inkyard Press for allowing me a chance to read this one in exchange for an honest review. You Can Go Your Own Way is a YA contemporary novel about Adam and Whitney. They used to be best friends. Before her father got rich from his eSports Cafes. Now his mom’s arcade business twitter account and her dad’s cafe twitter account battle it out on a daily basis. But during a sudden blizzard they find themselves trapped in the arcade alone and without power. Can these two leave behind the jabs and the memes to find friendship once again? The novel comes out on November 2nd and is available for preorder now.

There was a lot to like in this novel. I found the characters pretty compelling and the settings of a top of the line, hip eSports cafe and a run down arcade were perfect for this story. I also really enjoyed the community of the Old City area. A lot of the side characters there were so vibrant that I’m pretty sure they’re based on people from the author’s real life. And that ending was pretty good. I didn’t expect the ending which is always great and I really like that there was a big display of affection without it turning into a declaration of love. (I mean, give it a little time. They’re just coming off hating each other for years.) I felt like these people and this setting could all be real which is great.

I did have a bit of trouble with the pacing for this one. There are 23 chapters in this novel and we don’t even get to chapter 12 until 66% of the way through the book. It does make for a pretty fast pace at the end of the novel. But the beginning and the middle of the novel were so much slower. It just felt like I was trudging to get through chapters at first. And I really think it’s just because of how long the chapters are and how much work the chapters have to do to set up this established friends to enemies that happened before the start of the novel. I do feel like once the snowstorm hit the adventure with the main characters gets a little meandering. It makes me wonder if the novel was going to head in a less PG rated direction and the editors or the author decided they shouldn’t go that route in a YA novel. I did appreciate their mini-rescue of Coco the senior aged dog, however.

Overall, I think this is a solid YA Rom-Com style novel with some enemies to friends to lovers going on. If this is your favorite genre or favorite trope then definitely pick this one up when it comes out in a few weeks.
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As you grow older and life throws new challenges your way it can be difficult to navigate, but a life that fulfills you is possible, if you’re willing to accept the challenge of pursuing it, in Eric Smith’s You Can Go Your Own Way.

Adam is determined to keep his late father’s pinball arcade alive as a local Philadelphia tech mogul, and father of his erstwhile best friend Whitney, pressures Adam’s mother to sell it so it can become another of his successful gaming cafés. Whitney runs the social media account for her father’s West Philly gaming café but seems to be losing other meaningful things in her life – her parents’ marriage, her friends, and her boyfriend – but at least her father appreciates, and notices, her hard work, right? Adam and Whitney, whose paths diverged in high school when they both adopted new personality traits to cope with their respective life-altering events, are still in touch, if perhaps a little tense, as they banter through their businesses social media accounts, which blows up after Whitney’s brother damages one of Adam’s pinball machines. As they are thrown back into each others lives, digitally and in person, both reevaluate and confront why they grew apart and frustrated by one another, especially during the evening when they get trapped in the arcade during a snowstorm. Once the snow melts and they emerge, things are going to change, and hopefully for the better.

A cutesy, relatable, and generally fun, referenced-filled read, this dual point of view narrated story explores how friendships require appropriate tending as well as how people work on managing their grief of life-changing experiences. The characters, their emotional journeys, and dynamics were well-portrayed and handled in a thoughtful manner; however, the rift between Adam and Whitney felt as if it could have been explored further with more direct discussion with one another for a greater sense of catharsis and to better flesh out the romance aspect. While I received an advance copy that may refine how it appears when published (or I may just be getting too old and out of touch with social media), the conversations presented that took place on Twitter and via DMs were difficult to differentiate between on the page and I had to pause to sort out if it was public or private. Throughout the story there’s an evident love in Smith’s writing for Philadelphia and the myriad of small businesses that provide a unique experience and sense of community in such a large city; as someone who lives in Philly and has spent plenty of time around some establishments referenced in the story, it was fun to envision these settings. For those who’ve read Don’t Read the Comments, there’s a quick and cute cameo in the gaming café that had me stop and say “HEY!” but it was cool that these stories are all in the same universe. Also, the title of this book got me immediately starting to sing “You Can Go Your Own Way” to myself each time I picked it up, putting a smile on my face.

Overall, I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This was such a good ya book, something I would definitely recommend to the students I work with. This really touched something inside of me and I wish it was something I was introduced to as I was reading. I ended up loving this a lot more then expected and of course. Again one of the easiest 5 out of 5 stars I’ve given!
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You Can Go Your Own Way is a YA novel by Eric Smith whom I’ve previously read from before. Like, in Don’t Read the Comments this book is set in the world of gaming but focuses on pinball and e-sport games. World City Pinball (one of the main settings of the novel) sounds like the coziest arcade to visit and I love that its charm is that it’s filled with classic pinball games. The only downside is that the pinball games are expensive to replace and Adam’s family business is having a hard time financially. On the other hand, his ex-best friend Whitney’s family has an e-sport cafe that is booming. Since her dad has acquired the shop everything changed between them and she feels the only way to salvage their relationship is to work at the cafe.

I really enjoyed reading You Can Go Your Own Way. The banter between friends and family and the realistic characters make up a contemporary story that you can really get behind. I also enjoyed the references to gaming culture embedded in the novel. I think that this novel was very soothing and cozy. I appreciated that while touched on difficult topics it balances them with mini light-hearted and fun memorable moments. Is it a story about romance but it’s also a story about how painful friendship breakups can be and what happens when you lose a good friend and how to try to reconnect from the rift.

There’s a strong sense of community that in the Old City neighborhood in Philly where the story was set. Readers get to see how these businesses come together not only for the festival but in times of need. The main characters felt very real and even when they make some decisions that are frustrating because they’re meddling in affairs they still are characters you can root for. The way that Adam and Whitney go about repairing the relationship was really heartwarming and I like that the pacing of the relationship was not rushed as they go about repairing their rift.
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'You Can Go Your Own Way' follows Adam, pinball lover and son of a pinball arcade owner, and Whitney, social media exoert for her father's gaming cafe business who is hell-bent on buying out Adam's family, on their path to preparing for the town's winter festival and navigating buried feelings they have for each other from when they used to be best friends. 

This book pleasantly surprised me! I was expecting it to be just another teen/YA rom-com, but this novel had a lot of substance and really touched on some important subjects. Adam and his inner battle of being ready to let his father's pinball arcade go after his death was really touching. Same goes for Whitney and her relationships with her divorced parents, which is something I can really relate to personally. The close-proximity trope in this was kind of unexpected, but readily welcomed and it worked fantastically! 

A lot of the conflict was sort of 'he said, she said' or general misunderstandings which is common in a lot of teen/YA novels, but can get a bit tiring at times. I also found the path to Adam and Whitney reconnecting to be a bit drawn out and then their time together cut a little bit short. If more focus had been put on them solving their differences and re-kindling their friendship then I think I would have enjoyed it just a tad more.

Definitely a nice, easy, short read for those who might be wanting a bit of a break from more serious stories. Also absolutely loved all the current bookish nods to popular books from around when this book would have been written, as well as some nods to current video game trends. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for the eARC in return for my thoughts on the book. All opinions are 100% my own!
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You Can Go Your Own Way is everything I thought it’d be, and more. It’s a love letter to pinball machines, an exploration of grief, a story of friendship and community, and a story about two lost kids who are simply trying to figure themselves, and their world out. Told in a dual POV, You Can Go Your Own Way follows Adam Stillwater and Whitney Mitchell — childhood best friends turned social-media-rivals. After losing his dad, Adam’s determined to cling onto the last thing he has of him: the pinball arcade. He dedicates most of his time to the pinball arcade, trying to fix broken machines, reading about them, and trying to protect the arcade from being bought and turned into a gaming cafe. Whitney, on the other hand, is just trying to hold everything together after her parents’ split, breaking away from her toxic friend group, and being dumped by her boyfriend. After a series of events, Adam and Whitney find themselves trapped in the pinball arcade during a snowstorm, leading them to confront things they’ve ignored for far too long.

	There were so many things that  I enjoyed about You Can Go Your Own Way, but one of my favorite things was Adam and his grief. Adam’s grief is such a tangible thing. Adam’s father — and his grief, by extension — are just as big a part of him as his heart, his wit, his talent, and his passion about pinball. For me, personally, grief stories are very hit or miss — either they really resonate with me, or they don’t. Something that really stood out to me was not just how Adam’s grief seeped through his every action and thought, but how it impacted his relationships around him, how hard it is for him to let people in, how he latches onto anything he has left of his dad, and how hard it is for him to move on. From the get go, I was invested in Adam and his journey to finding himself and the right path for him. Adam realizing that he had to live his life for himself, and not his father, was something that just really resonated with me. 

While Adam is trying to come  to terms with the possibility that they’ll have to sell the arcade, Whitney’s trying to keep everything together by taking on social media responsibilities for her father’s business, and cleaning up her brother’s mess. In a manner that reminds me of Pepper from Tweet Cute, Whitney has taken on the role of social media manager for her father’s business so she can spend time with him. Watching Whitney struggle and feel like she had to fight for her father’s attention broke my heart a little. I love how Smith tackles familial relationships with such care and complexity, whether it’s Adam, trying to live up to his father’s legacy, or Whitney, who is dealing with the aftermath of parents’ divorce. I just really wanted to give Adam and Whitney a big hug. For Whitney, in particular, she’s also dealing with unhealthy friendships, and what makes a good friend. Learning that who she is with her “friends” isn’t someone she’s proud of is such an awful feeling, and I truly felt for her. High school is such a tumultuous time, with the added difficulties of their family situations, and everything else they had going on. 

The close proximity, trapped-in situation felt like something out of fanfiction, or a very tropey romance movie, and I loved it. The cozy, winter-weather vibes in You Can Go Your Own Way were immaculate, and the vibrant community Smith describes makes it all the better. Where Whitney fails to have a strong community, Adam thrives — the other employees and neighboring store owners, his friends, and his dad’s friends, were all so supportive and wholesome. The backdrop of the winter festival, and small businesses working together and supporting one another was so heart-warming, and so neighborly.

Although I really enjoyed You Can Go Your Own Way, I felt like the storyline with Whitney’s boyfriend felt unnecessary, and made me question how much Whitney cared for him, if she was able to move on for Adam so quickly. I also wished that there were more dialogue between Adam and Whitney, as I felt like they would’ve been a stronger pairing if they had talked out what had happened while they stopped being friends, or just talked more in general. There were also a couple of timeskips, or moments that happened off-page, that I wished we got to see! That being said, I really did enjoy Whitney and Adam’s banter, and their dynamics overall. 

Overall, I really enjoyed You Can Go Your Own Way, and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, cozy read!
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A cute young adult novel with a classic enemies-to-couple plot. This was a cute read. I was hoping for more of the romance, it felt like it came late in the story. I really loved the supporting characters in this story, they were the highlight. And, of course, as a lifelong Philadelphian, I appreciated the author's dedication to showing off the city. A book perfect for a snowy winter evening (and maybe a game of pinball after).
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Inkyard Press this is the type of Young Adult story I absolutely love to read! 

You Can Go Your Own Way by Eric Smith was flipping amazing. 
It was funny, A tear jerker and all around a very heartfelt book! 
The way this book has a way that can connect you with these characters is honestly something amazing.
The way these two connected with each other by the end of the book was amazing and made my heart melt.
I adored, loved and couldn't get enough of this outstanding story!

Thank you so much for the opportunity to read it.
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Snow storm? Trapped inside an arcade? Sign me up please! 
You Can Go Your Own Way by Eric Smith checked a lot of boxes for me!
Loved the friendship and connection between Whitney and Adam.
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This book was everything I ever wanted and more. I originally requested this book because I grew up near Philly and wanted something to remind me of home. But man did this book not disappoint.

From the wide range of references that made me chuckle to the heart wrenching storyline, Go Your Own Way is sure to give you as many tears as it makes you laugh.
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Eric Smith is an author I've heard a lot about and I was excited to read one of his book, but I simply didn't connect with either of the main characters in this one and had to dnf it. I still recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA contemporaries, it simply was not for me. 

Thank you for this arc.
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I enjoyed this book a lot overall! I felt like it was lacking in a few spots - I felt like Whitney and Adam's friendship/budding romance came about pretty quickly after being enemies for so long. I also wasn't totally happy with the ending - after the misunderstanding, it seemed like they just suddenly decided to be over it and we didn't see much of the thought processes involved. As a whole, some of the writing wasn't really for me, particularly how it got into so much detail about engineering and how to make pinball machines, and even Whitney's plants. It felt like too much information on topics I didn't need to know about. But overall, I liked the story and the characters and did enjoy it.
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You Can Go Your Own Way, was such a fun read! Being from the Philly area really made me invested in this story as it takes place in the city. All of the little nods to Philadelphia culture were spot on. The story goes back and forth between two points of view, Adam and Whitney who used to be childhood best friends. These days Adam and Whitney have a strained relationship because her father wants to turn Adam’s family pinball arcade into one of their high tech e-cafes. After many tense Twitter exchanges with each other, the two have a run in and end up getting snowed in together during a blizzard. Adam and Whitney start to reminisce about the days they were friends, only this time around there might be a little something more there! A wonderful read about two arcade loving teens coming together and setting their differences aside in the beautiful city of Philadelphia.
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