Cover Image: Our Way Back to Always

Our Way Back to Always

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Member Reviews

Another sweet, fun, heartfelt romance from Nina Moreno. I loved reading the relationships between characters here and returning to her cozy world. Lots of depth to characters arcs and fun romantic tension throughout!
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Two olds friends find their way back to each other -- and their way through grief, the future, and family. 

This was a really sweet and enjoyable read. I wish it would have included more of the old-school memories -- flashbacks, maybe? -- to establish the history of Lou and Sam, but overall, I love a friends to lovers story, and I thought this was touching and fun to read.

Thank you to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for the ebook in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
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Luisa (Lou) Patterson grew up across the street from Sam Alvarez in the small, quirky town of Port Coral. They used to be inseparable–spending every holiday together, shooting silly YouTube videos, and rescuing stray cats. But then middle school happened, including the most disastrous (and embarrassing) serenade ever, and Lou and Sam haven’t talked in the four years since.  I loved reading about Lou and Sam! This is the perfect summer romance.
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This was a great young adult coming of age story. The narration by Natalia del Riego and Adan Rocha was really wonderful and they fit the characters so well. Natalia del Riego was especially amazing as Lou and her performance was quite emotional. I thought the depiction of grief was really well done and my heart broke for Sam as he struggled to reconcile his feelings and recalibrate his life after the loss of his father. I think many readers will relate to the different themes in the novel, like living in a sibling's shadow, the ups and downs of High School, the sting of rejection, and the magic of first love. I do wish that Sam and Lou's falling out/past would have been addressed a bit more, but I really enjoyed seeing them reconnect and navigate their renewed friendship and relationship. Both Sam and Lou have fulfilling character arcs and my heart was left happy and hopeful in the end.
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This book was everything I wanted it to be and more! Our Way Back to Always is captivating from beginning to end; full of great tropes, swoon-worthy romance, and Latinx culture. This story was the perfect balance between romance, comedy, and grief. Nina Moreno really captured the various feelings of senior year: excitement, dread, worry, and joy. It’s bittersweet growing up, and this book really shows that. 

Check out this book if you like the following:

Friends to ex-friends to friends to lovers
A bucket list full of fun tasks
Romance
Real, authentic characters
Latinx culture

One of my favorite things about this book is how real it is. This book tackles some heavy subjects such as the death of a parent, the weight of a parent’s expectations, finding yourself, and following your passion. Life is messy and full of highs and lows, and this book reflects that very well. Needless to say, I highly recommend this book! It’s such a fresh, fun read about two teens who find their way back to each other.
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The format here is pretty standard - old friends driven apart by circumstance who find themselves thrown together again and facing their mutual attraction. There's no real surprises in the main plot. SOme of the side elements are more interesting. Both characters have complex relationships with their culture and extended family. BOth have high expectations for themselves. Entertaining enough for a single read but probably lacking in staying power.
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Really fun book. I toyed between 3.5 stars and 4 stars but in the end it made me smile and I loved Lou and Sam so 4 stars it is. If I had one minor complaint it's that Sam and Lou never really dealt with their past. They kind of brushed it under the rug and there was so much more to it. But I did love Sam's grief was dealt with and explained how it will never really go away, it is just something you live with. And I love that Lou learned that it is okay not to be her sister and to be Lou. All in all I enjoyed it more than Don't Date Rosa Sanchez.
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Neighbors Louisa (Lou) and Sam have been best friends for what seems like their whole life. That is until an incident in middle school caused them to part ways. Lou has grown into a computer gaming, fanfiction-loving introvert in her time away from Sam, while Sam has blossomed into the Port Coral’s well-loved, drum-playing band boy. While trying to enjoy the summer before senior year, Lou finds the bucket list that she and Sam made together, vowing to herself that she will finish it before she graduates. When her pregnant older sister leaves her stranded without the car, she runs across the street and orders Sam to give her a ride. After all, they are going to the same place: Senior Beach Day. Sam finds the list and commits to completing it with her. But with college applications due and graduation approaching, can they complete the list in time while staying on good terms? 

Nina Moreno has artfully created a story about friendship, love, and culture. I have never felt more seen than while reading this book. Both Lou and Sam are half Latino and half white, and so am I. They deal with things like living in a Spanish-speaking community, but hardly speaking Spanish, and eating ethnic food mixed with American cuisine. Moreno describes the difficulties and nuances of being a mixed kid perfectly. She also did a really great job of describing grief and how each person deals with it differently. The friendships that Lou and Sam make in this book are so fun and lively that it makes me nostalgic for my high school days. They are great examples of teenagers coming into their own and discovering their paths in life. Pick up Our Way Back to Always if you want a friends-to-strangers-to-friends-to-lovers book full of culture and family. 

​​(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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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC of this. 5/5 stars. Chefs kiss. I binged this in an entire evening because I couldn't put it down. ALL OF THE SWOONS. OH MY GOD. 

I need a Sam in my life. Golden boy. Musician. Band geek. SWEET. and SENSITIVE. oh my god. Look, this is an october release, but this is the perfect YA feel good romcom for any time of the year with summer vibes, winter vibes, all the way to their graduation. Lou is an amazing representation of latinx with ADHD (which she talks about in detail and I love that it's not a part of the plot but it still is mentioned and is who she is) and Sam is representing the grief cycle and the burden of intergenerational trauma (well, both of them are). 

But the SWOONS. I am a sucker for a good "we used to be friends but now we don't talk" story, but I wasn't expecting it to be like "oh we haven't talked in 5 years but now I'm going to have forced proximity to him in his truck because I need a ride and we're neighbors" and by that point...which wasn't even further than chapter 1 in the book...I was hooked. 

AND THEN WE GET TO THE BUCKET LIST. AND THEN THE ONE ITEM ON THE BUCKET LIST...<spoiler> YOU KNOW where Lou is like oh wow I've never been kissed so we should practice and then his heart is beating and then they make out and I'm like b r u h we still have like 3/4 of the book to go so I know the angst is going to be real </spoiler>

And of course, we have the YA Angst but honestly...like...I couldn't put it down. I laughed. I was like the SWOONS. And I cried. It's a good one y'all.
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In Our Way Back to Always, Nina Moreno brings us another Port Coral story. I did not read the first book in this series, but it did not inhibit my enjoyment of the book in any way. It can definitely be read as a standalone. I always like a second chance story, whether it be a love story or just the reunion of old friends, but the event that caused the fallout between our two main characters just didn't ring true enough for me. It seems like something that might have them mad at each other for a few days, but not four years. 

Other than that, I thought the story was beautifully done. Watching Lou and Sam gradually rekindle their friendship as they work through their childhood bucket list was heartwarming and made me smile. I am thankful that the author used Lou's sister's teen pregnancy to point out that college doesn't have to be a path for everyone, and that you can be happy and have a good life even if you don't go to Princeton. I also appreciated that Moreno uses the death of Sam's father to show how drastically such an event can alter one's vision of their future.  

It was great to see a vibrant Latinx culture represented in this book. I loved the viejitos, they always made me laugh. And the descriptions of the food made me so hungry!! One possible issue is that although it was lovely to see so much Spanish being spoken, it forces the non-Spanish speaker to rely on context clues to know what is being said. Fortunately my college Spanish was adequate enough to get me through.  

Overall, I recommend this book if you're interested in a quick YA read that has realistic characters, a fun plot, and a lot of heart.
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I went into this one not having read Don't Date Rosa Santos, although we do have it in my library. Now that I've knocked out Our Way Back to Always, I am definitely going to have to pick it up!

This story had great layers for our main characters that put this one beyond a typical rom-com. My romance lovers will eat this up, especially those younger YAs. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy!
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This was a YA romance I just wanted to HUG! The characters of Lou and Sam are three-dimensional and authentic- I found myself cheering for Sam when he finally drove his dad's car, grimacing when Lou got another rejection, and gasping when they "practiced kissing." The secondary characters of both their families are lovable. I especially loved their delightful little hometown- it reminded me of Stars Hollow. Utterly charming YA romance with PG-13 content.
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First, thanks to the publisher for a review copy! 

This was, however, not the book for me. 
I loved Moreno's previous book but reading this one felt much different. 
I will say this is more of a younger YA book so while I am not the intended target, as a homeschool teacher, middle grade teens would probably live this one. 

Another thing is that I felt the sentences that incorporated Spanish into them felt too forced but that could also be me and the way I interpreted it. (I am fluent in Spanish) 

Keeping my fingers crossed for the next read from this author because I did really enjoy her writing on her first novel!
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This is the perfect book to perk you up, give you a nice therapeutic cry, and also make you feel all of the ooey-gooey love! I love how both characters dealt with their fears, grief, and the weight of parental (and societal) expectations. I did want to give Lou a nice solid smack a couple of times but I also related to her grumpy porcupine nature and caution when learning to trust Sam, again, after they had grown apart! Lol

Would definitely recommend this as a nice read with summer vibes but also all of the feels!
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