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Our Way Back to Always

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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 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. Sam is now the golden boy with plenty of friends, while Lou is an introverted romantic who's happy playing video games and writing fan fiction. But it's also the summer before their senior year, and life is knocking on Lou's door. With her older sister having given up a scholarship to Princeton to have a baby and work at the local botanica, all of their mother's expectations are now riding on Lou's shoulders. She's retaking her SAT's, signed up for way too many AP classes, and her sights set on colleges with fancy names like Duke and Vanderbilt. But when she finds the bucket list she and Sam wrote together as kids, before Sam's father was diagnosed with cancer, she's shocked to see that she hasn't accomplished any of the goals she'd set for herself. Go to a party? Nope. Pull the greatest prank of all time? Still no. Learn how to be a really good kisser? Definitely not. Torn between the future that her mother, sister, and younger self planned for her, Lou sets out to finish the list, and in a stroke of destiny or fate, Sam decides to tag along. Still trying to stay afloat amid the grief of losing his father, Sam himself is staring down a future that feels all too close, and is coming far too fast. But with the bucket list to guide them, Sam and Lou might just be able to find a way through the future, and also a way back to each other.


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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 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. Sam is now the golden boy with plenty of friends, while Lou is an introverted romantic who's happy playing video games and writing fan fiction. But it's also the summer before their senior year, and life is knocking on Lou's door. With her older sister having given up a scholarship to Princeton to have a baby and work at the local botanica, all of their mother's expectations are now riding on Lou's shoulders. She's retaking her SAT's, signed up for way too many AP classes, and her sights set on colleges with fancy names like Duke and Vanderbilt. But when she finds the bucket list she and Sam wrote together as kids, before Sam's father was diagnosed with cancer, she's shocked to see that she hasn't accomplished any of the goals she'd set for herself. Go to a party? Nope. Pull the greatest prank of all time? Still no. Learn how to be a really good kisser? Definitely not. Torn between the future that her mother, sister, and younger self planned for her, Lou sets out to finish the list, and in a stroke of destiny or fate, Sam decides to tag along. Still trying to stay afloat amid the grief of losing his father, Sam himself is staring down a future that feels all too close, and is coming far too fast. But with the bucket list to guide them, Sam and Lou might just be able to find a way through the future, and also a way back to each other.

30 review for Our Way Back to Always

  1. 4 out of 5

    sil ♡ the book voyagers

    Soooo. This is an October book and I can't believe I already read this. But tbh I kinda can believe it because I've been waiting for this book since Nina revealed what it was about. I grabbed it and didn't let go until the very last page. I still feel a *umf* in my heart even though I finished it but it's because of the characters, the story that Nina crafted, and just the vibes this book gives you. This story is about Lou and Sam, two childhood besties who fell out years ago. Now in their senior Soooo. This is an October book and I can't believe I already read this. But tbh I kinda can believe it because I've been waiting for this book since Nina revealed what it was about. I grabbed it and didn't let go until the very last page. I still feel a *umf* in my heart even though I finished it but it's because of the characters, the story that Nina crafted, and just the vibes this book gives you. This story is about Lou and Sam, two childhood besties who fell out years ago. Now in their senior year, Lou finds their bucket list from middle school and Sam is ready to help her. I love how this story was written truly. Short chapters~ just how I love my books! Lou and Sam easily made me love them immediately. Their voices were so enchanting and I wanted to keep reading more and more about what was happening with them. I love seeing them get back to their friendship because it's clear they really are meant to be in each other's lives. Neighbors and childhood besties, Lou and Sam have lived together so many moments, and now in their senior year, they find themselves back to that place called home between them. The romance? SUPERB. It's sweet, swoony AF. These two are adorable and I ate this ROMANCE UP. So many cute moments, I swear, my heart grew ten thousand sizes while reading Nina's book. There is also kissing lessons. YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT. I am obsessed, still obsessed, will never get over this scene. It was so great to see Latinx culture so alive in this book. It was like a big warm hug from a member of my family. I saw my life as snapshots in the pages of this book. I laughed because some stuff reminded me of my own experience and it just felt w o n d e r f u l. It's about grief. It's about finding yourself. It's about being afraid. It's about being a teenager in your senior year. Lou and Sam will take you on a ride that will feel like a warm summer day~ PS. I do really need to read Don't Date Rosa Santos at some point. GOSHHHHH!!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    jocelyn

    Nina Moreno gets my love forever and always. WE'RE GOING BACK TO PORT CORAL, PEOPLE. Nina Moreno gets my love forever and always. WE'RE GOING BACK TO PORT CORAL, PEOPLE.

  3. 4 out of 5

    aarya

    2021 Fall Bingo (#FallInLoveBingo🍂): Latinx MC 4.5 stars Content Notes: (view spoiler)[parental death from cancer (months before the book starts); on-page car crash with non-life threatening injuries (hide spoiler)] This is wonderful. Nina Moreno is so good at the precarious balancing act between grief, romance, and comedy. It's been years since I applied to college (undergraduate), but my mirror neurons must've been working overtime. My anxiety was spiking through the roof! A+ practice kissing 2021 Fall Bingo (#FallInLoveBingo🍂): Latinx MC 4.5 stars Content Notes: (view spoiler)[parental death from cancer (months before the book starts); on-page car crash with non-life threatening injuries (hide spoiler)] This is wonderful. Nina Moreno is so good at the precarious balancing act between grief, romance, and comedy. It's been years since I applied to college (undergraduate), but my mirror neurons must've been working overtime. My anxiety was spiking through the roof! A+ practice kissing scene between ex-best friends. The book lived up to all the tropes listed in the marketing and blurb. Read via audio. Disclaimer: I received a free ALC (audiobook listening copy) from Libro.fm in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    book bruin

    Overall 4 stars Performance 4.5 stars Story 3.5 stars 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 wil Overall 4 stars Performance 4.5 stars Story 3.5 stars 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. CW: death of parent, grief, ADHD, teen pregnancy (secondary character), secondary character hit by car (on page, non-life threatening injuries) *I voluntarily listened to a review copy of this book*

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cande

    This book was everything I was hoping for and more. A story about love, growing up and giving second chances to your friends, to your family and even yourself. It’s about finding your path after high school. And about grief, the constant moments of sadness and joy. Ultimately, Our Way Back to Always is a story about love. Two latinx kids that get all the best rom-com moments; “i’m not in love with my childhood best friend”, practice kissing, rivalry, pranks, parties, forehead kisses, “we can’t be This book was everything I was hoping for and more. A story about love, growing up and giving second chances to your friends, to your family and even yourself. It’s about finding your path after high school. And about grief, the constant moments of sadness and joy. Ultimately, Our Way Back to Always is a story about love. Two latinx kids that get all the best rom-com moments; “i’m not in love with my childhood best friend”, practice kissing, rivalry, pranks, parties, forehead kisses, “we can’t be vulnerable and talk about feelings”, and some swoon-worthy dialogue. It feels like such a celebration; an incredible hopeful and romantic journey. With an anxious Colombian-American girl and a soft Cuban-American boy at the center. Full review to come. Favorite character? The very minor side-character named after me!!! Love you, Port Coral Cande <3

  6. 4 out of 5

    nitya

    The only thing better than best friends to lovers? ESTRANGED best friends to lovers with mutual pining 🤩 (and kissing lessons, ahem) And I LOVED the Rosa character cameos!!! Content warning: death of a parent (off page)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Micaela

    When Harry Met Sally (one of the best rom-coms ever) + reminiscent of Sarah Dessen (one of the best YA contemporary writers ever) + literary bucket list = CAN I HAVE THIS YESTERDAY PLEASE

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Oh my lord was this adorable and fun. I think I liked this even more than Don't Date Rosa Santos. Such a cute romcom, seriously. Oh my lord was this adorable and fun. I think I liked this even more than Don't Date Rosa Santos. Such a cute romcom, seriously.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marianne (Boricuan Bookworms)

    Pure excellence. Childhood best friends to strangers to friends to lovers slowburn. Practice kissing scenes, explorations of grief and trauma, figuring yourself out once you graduate high school... this book had it all. Nina Moreno excellence.

  10. 5 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    Pitched as When Harry Met Sally by way of Sarah Dessen, the contemporary YA romance follows two next-door neighbors and ex-best friends—gamer, fanfic-writer Luisa and drummer, golden boy Sam—whose paths collide during senior year of high school when they rediscover their childhood bucket list and set out to complete it before graduation. bucket lists, fanfic, childhood-friends-to-enemies-to-lovers and Nina Moreno? sign me up Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram Pitched as When Harry Met Sally by way of Sarah Dessen, the contemporary YA romance follows two next-door neighbors and ex-best friends—gamer, fanfic-writer Luisa and drummer, golden boy Sam—whose paths collide during senior year of high school when they rediscover their childhood bucket list and set out to complete it before graduation. bucket lists, fanfic, childhood-friends-to-enemies-to-lovers and Nina Moreno? sign me up Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emma Reid

    I'm a sucker for friendships being rekindled, especially when they lead to something more... Sam is grieving the death of his father while Lou is struggling to make up for lost time in her pursuit of college. The idea of this rekindling being done for a bucket list is adorable, especially when you consider some of the entries (cue the smooching!!). This book focuses on themes of finding yourself and family, which still hit home with me (a non high-schooler). Even though you know they'll end up t I'm a sucker for friendships being rekindled, especially when they lead to something more... Sam is grieving the death of his father while Lou is struggling to make up for lost time in her pursuit of college. The idea of this rekindling being done for a bucket list is adorable, especially when you consider some of the entries (cue the smooching!!). This book focuses on themes of finding yourself and family, which still hit home with me (a non high-schooler). Even though you know they'll end up together, the journey was still one to watch. In the audio, they have dual narrators and nail the voices of Lou and Sam, with Sam's narrator even doing a killer Abuela. I loved the incorporation of Spanish into the audio, especially in that it didn't directly translate it after, leaving it to the reader to pick up with context clues. The characters, the culture, the charm, this book really serves everything. *Thank you to Hachette Audio for the ALC in exchange for my honest review*

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andi (Andi's ABCs)

    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 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.

  13. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    From the beginning I was absolutely obsessed with the premise of Our Way Back to Always. Friends to lovers, second chances, and all in that fraught moment before graduation. The strength of Our Way Back to Always is the characters. It's in the way Lou charms our heart with her determination, with her tendency to jump, while also balanced by her love for her family. And it's in Sam's experiences with his grief, with him coming to terms with the past, and his new family constellation. Our Way Back From the beginning I was absolutely obsessed with the premise of Our Way Back to Always. Friends to lovers, second chances, and all in that fraught moment before graduation. The strength of Our Way Back to Always is the characters. It's in the way Lou charms our heart with her determination, with her tendency to jump, while also balanced by her love for her family. And it's in Sam's experiences with his grief, with him coming to terms with the past, and his new family constellation. Our Way Back to Always being dual POV is pure *chefs kiss* because we're able to see the tension (un)raveling. The differences in opinions, misunderstandings, and expectations between Lou and Sam. This friends to lovers is done so beautifully. Combined with this second chance romance, Moreno takes us on an emotional journey of forgiveness and bravery. full review; https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    Amazing book

  15. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    OUR WAY BACK TO ALWAYS is a beautiful YA contemporary romance about two best friends, Sam and Lou. After a truly embarrassing incident in middle school, Sam and Lou stopped talking, but as they are now about to be seniors in high school, Lou has unearthed their bucket list from middle school of all the things they wanted to do before they graduated, and she has decided to work on them. To accomplish the first thing on the list, she'll need Sam's help. Although she insists it will be a one time th OUR WAY BACK TO ALWAYS is a beautiful YA contemporary romance about two best friends, Sam and Lou. After a truly embarrassing incident in middle school, Sam and Lou stopped talking, but as they are now about to be seniors in high school, Lou has unearthed their bucket list from middle school of all the things they wanted to do before they graduated, and she has decided to work on them. To accomplish the first thing on the list, she'll need Sam's help. Although she insists it will be a one time thing, she cannot help but fall back into Sam's orbit, and this time, he is determined to do everything better. What I loved: Sam and Lou were both incredible characters with their own stories, and the book is told between their two perspectives. Sam has been reeling since his father died from cancer about a year ago, and his whole life and expectations for the future have changed. He knows he wants to take care of his family, his mother and little sister as well his abuela who now lives with them and puts everything into the dryer (including his now very shrunken swimtrunks). He has given up his dream of college, but as he works on the bucket list and experiences new things, he realizes that he may be able to give himself the space to find a new dream - one that will fulfill him. Grief is not a linear process, and Sam is still going through it, but the other side begins to seem possible. Lou (Luisa) has a lot of hopes and expectations for herself. After her older sister gave up her spot at Princeton when she found out she was pregnant, Lou has felt extra pressure to go to a good school out of state. She wants to have a respectable career, but between her ADHD that makes school difficult and her passion for games and apps, the weight of such a future feels crushing at times. In many ways like Sam, Lou is trying to find herself amidst all the change and figure out how to live her life for herself. With her passion for rescuing cats, creating an app that will shine, and her knitting club with the viejitos, as well as the quest of the bucket list with Sam, Lou's life is changing in ways she did not anticipate. In addition to these two great stories with lessons about finding yourself, reaching for your own goals, and determining your personal best paths, the romance here was lovely. Sam and Lou were perfect for each other, and the only people who didn't know it were Sam and Lou. With support from their friends and a community I would love to be a part of, this was a book that really shone. Intriguing themes, best friend romance, bucket lists, humor, community, and love all made this such a fantastic YA contemporary read. Final verdict: A compelling and charming coming-of-age story, OUR WAY BACK TO ALWAYS is a stunning read about love, community, and finding your own way. Highly recommend picking up this excellent read. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Zizzy W

    Yes please, give me all the Poral Coral stories!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pine Reads Review

    “‘Some doors aren’t ours to open, but every single one of those rejections and struggles are steps to something more. Something that is yours and deserving of you.’” 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. “‘Some doors aren’t ours to open, but every single one of those rejections and struggles are steps to something more. Something that is yours and deserving of you.’” 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.) Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @pinereadsreview and check out our website at www.pinereadsreview.com for reviews, author interviews, blogs, podcast episodes, and more!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    damn, maybe i do like friends to lovers. and THIS, them being estranged friends, the PINING...swoooooon! (also, sidenote, i absolutely ADORE this cover). this was SO sweet! the characters are really earnest and endearing. both Sam and Lou basically struggle with some of the same things, like dealing with grief and loss and giving second chances, but manifested in different ways under different circumstances. both of them are really compelling and i liked that we got both of their POVs. I really, damn, maybe i do like friends to lovers. and THIS, them being estranged friends, the PINING...swoooooon! (also, sidenote, i absolutely ADORE this cover). this was SO sweet! the characters are really earnest and endearing. both Sam and Lou basically struggle with some of the same things, like dealing with grief and loss and giving second chances, but manifested in different ways under different circumstances. both of them are really compelling and i liked that we got both of their POVs. I really, really liked Lou. she's relatable and funny and believable. she sort of brought me back to being a senior in high school and. having major anxiety about everything. even the side characters were a lot of fun too. i loved the setting of this as well. a port town in Florida full of life and culture. it was as if I could feel the love from the community. the latinx representation was perfect and certainly needed for the YA genre. it was a bit choppy in parts, plot wise, but i really, really enjoyed this and will definitely be reading more of Nina Moreno's work. fave lines: “Lou is leaning back against the door, the open window making the curls around her face dance in the wind. A bright smile blooms on her face, and when she offers it to me, all I can think is, Found you.” “She picks up a pair of drumsticks and taps them against my dresser for a beat before moving onto my mug of pens. She uncaps one and scribbles her signature on the edge of a scrap piece of paper. I make a mental note to keep it. I hold my hands in my lap so I don’t reach for her.” “I did not. I struggled with him and the second season, but he was always hot.” She picks up my camera and snaps a picture of me. She smiles down at it, and I feel myself crumbling because I’m desperate to know if she thinks that I’m hot. My head’s a mess.” “Between the two of them, we have a hundred new stories about Dad. I don’t have an altar and hadn’t found him in prayer, but today I heard his wild laugh in the growl of an old car and traced my finger across a map to the place my story began.”

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Arter

    Lou and Sam were best friends in middle school and created a bucket list together, hoping to achieve the goals before they graduated high school. But after a middle school mistake, the friendship ends. Four years later, Lou finds the bucket list and decides she wants to finish it. In the process of checking one item of the list, she and Sam collide, giving him the chance to tag along with Lou This book was so adorable and such an easy read. I would’ve flown through it if I had more time to read. Lou and Sam were best friends in middle school and created a bucket list together, hoping to achieve the goals before they graduated high school. But after a middle school mistake, the friendship ends. Four years later, Lou finds the bucket list and decides she wants to finish it. In the process of checking one item of the list, she and Sam collide, giving him the chance to tag along with Lou This book was so adorable and such an easy read. I would’ve flown through it if I had more time to read. I don’t know what I was expecting the middle school mistake to be but Sam serenading Lou at school wasn’t it. I actually laughed at the fact that that was the reason they stopped being friends. It’s such a middle school reaction and I know that I probably would’ve reacted the same way that Lou did 😂 Both of the main characters in this book are dealing with their own troubles that they have to work through throughout the novel. Luisa feels the stress of living up to her mother’s expectations and Sam is still healing from the grief of losing his dad. I really connected with Lou as she was trying to fulfill expectations. I remember when I was in high school, I really felt like I had to do all of these different things and be this person that I wasn’t just to impress others. I felt Lou’s burden like it was my own. Sam on the other hand was dealing with something completely different. I’ve never lost a parent so I can’t really say much on his character but I felt like Nina did a good job at showing how death will affect life, especially when there are kids involved I overall really enjoyed this book. You can tell it’s a young adult novel but it’s a very easy read. If you’re in a reading slump, I suggest taking a look at it and giving it a go!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Parke-Marriner

    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 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. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Caylie Ratzlaff

    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 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...(view 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 (hide 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.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Frank Chillura (OhYouRead)

    As a Floridian, finding an author who can beautifully depict a place that gets so much hate from the media, albeit in a made up city, is so incredible to see. I was recommended to read Don’t Date Rosa Santos last year and immediately fell in love with Nina Moreno’s writing. Our Way Back To Always was a beautiful story about lost friendship, budding second chance romance, family, and the bucket list that started it all. Lou and Sam are best friends who had a falling out in middle school. After 6 As a Floridian, finding an author who can beautifully depict a place that gets so much hate from the media, albeit in a made up city, is so incredible to see. I was recommended to read Don’t Date Rosa Santos last year and immediately fell in love with Nina Moreno’s writing. Our Way Back To Always was a beautiful story about lost friendship, budding second chance romance, family, and the bucket list that started it all. Lou and Sam are best friends who had a falling out in middle school. After 6 years and the beginning of their senior year, the bucket list they wrote together when they were kids brings them back together. We also find ourselves back in Port Coral, which I fell in love with in Nina’s first book. Her stories definitely bring in bits of her Cuban & Colombian heritage, so I’m always here for that! I can never get enough of great representation!! If you are looking for a feel good YA RomCom, this is definitely the book for you! I got choked up in parts, I laughed out loud in parts, and I smiled the entire book! I will buy any and every book Nina Moreno writes! She is Unicorn and everything she writes is Magical!!!!🦄 Thank You to The NOVL for sending me a copy of Our Way Back to Always in return for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katie Akerman

    This was just the book I needed to start off my summer. I was hoping for something light and romantic to deal with all the stress in my life and ended up with something more that was exactly what I needed. I laughed, I cried and it was definitely steamy. I really enjoyed the authors use of untranslated Spanish in the book. I don't know Spanish but the climate in the book gave hints and I was very happy to look up translations for parts I didn't understand. I was intellectually stimulated by all t This was just the book I needed to start off my summer. I was hoping for something light and romantic to deal with all the stress in my life and ended up with something more that was exactly what I needed. I laughed, I cried and it was definitely steamy. I really enjoyed the authors use of untranslated Spanish in the book. I don't know Spanish but the climate in the book gave hints and I was very happy to look up translations for parts I didn't understand. I was intellectually stimulated by all the culture that the author brought into several of the different families and the Town from the book. Even with this being contemporary I still feel like I learned new things about several different cultures. The importance of family and sacrifice was touching and very enlightening. I love that even though the romance part of the book was a star factor that it didn't take away from either of the main characters individual struggles and that the support from each other was able to help them overcome without the other needing to intervene. I would love to see where Sam and Lou are in the future and what else they cross off their list.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    Louisa and Sam were the best of friends until middle school. Now it's their senior year and even though they live across from each other, they haven't talked in years. But when Louisa finds their joint middle school bucket list, she decides to finish as much as she can before graduation. Soon, she and Sam have reconnected and they start working on the list together. There are so many things going on this book and they're all done well. We have grief, expectations, friendship, romance... The jour Louisa and Sam were the best of friends until middle school. Now it's their senior year and even though they live across from each other, they haven't talked in years. But when Louisa finds their joint middle school bucket list, she decides to finish as much as she can before graduation. Soon, she and Sam have reconnected and they start working on the list together. There are so many things going on this book and they're all done well. We have grief, expectations, friendship, romance... The journey is wonderful and this was a fantastic read. I super enjoyed how this wasn't yet another book about high school kids who all aim to get into an Ivey at any cost. I loved how we even have one character who is NOT planning on college and it's realistically shown as everyone doubting him, but he rightly sticks to what he knows is right for him.

  25. 5 out of 5

    3.5 stars* this is the story about former best friends reuniting that I’ve always wanted to read. it’s definitely a cute book, and it’s ya contemporary. the cultural aspects were great, as was the latin american community in florida. the arc version had some spelling errors in spanish, but nothing unbearable. lou was headstrong, sam living with grief. I liked their friendship and connection, but I don’t think anything would have worked out between them if sam wouldn’t have been so forgiving. the re 3.5 stars* this is the story about former best friends reuniting that I’ve always wanted to read. it’s definitely a cute book, and it’s ya contemporary. the cultural aspects were great, as was the latin american community in florida. the arc version had some spelling errors in spanish, but nothing unbearable. lou was headstrong, sam living with grief. I liked their friendship and connection, but I don’t think anything would have worked out between them if sam wouldn’t have been so forgiving. the reason of their fall-out was meh, then a lot of times lou was rather impatient with sam. thus, I’m not fully a fan of their *situation*ship! the plot kept my interest. the premise sounded great and it honestly wasn’t what I expected! I’m not disappointed. it was creative and nice to read about. thank you to edelweiss and the publisher for providing this arc!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Catalina

    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) Kee 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!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This was great! I love a best friends/childhood friends to lovers story, and the grief, uncertainty and bucket list elements incorporated in here made for the perfect story. I loved seeing Lou and Sam work through their individual roadblocks and come out better and more hopeful on the other side. My only wish is that we heard a little more about what went wrong with Lou and Sam the first time. We get a glimpse, but I felt like that could have been explained more thoroughly to make their relation This was great! I love a best friends/childhood friends to lovers story, and the grief, uncertainty and bucket list elements incorporated in here made for the perfect story. I loved seeing Lou and Sam work through their individual roadblocks and come out better and more hopeful on the other side. My only wish is that we heard a little more about what went wrong with Lou and Sam the first time. We get a glimpse, but I felt like that could have been explained more thoroughly to make their relationship and reconnection now even stronger. But overall this was a great one that I see myself returning to again!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    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 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!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shelby Loren

    I won an ARC from The NOVL! This was such a cute contemporary to end my pile of unread summery books! I love the friends to lovers trope and Nina just slayed with this one! So many great references, my fave being 10 Things I Hate About You!! I'm so bad at non-spoilery reviews, so I'll stop here lol! I fell in love with her debut, Don't Date Rosa Santos, and Our Way Back to Always does not disappoint! I won an ARC from The NOVL! This was such a cute contemporary to end my pile of unread summery books! I love the friends to lovers trope and Nina just slayed with this one! So many great references, my fave being 10 Things I Hate About You!! I'm so bad at non-spoilery reviews, so I'll stop here lol! I fell in love with her debut, Don't Date Rosa Santos, and Our Way Back to Always does not disappoint!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Wren

    I loved how real and grounded this romance felt to me. From losing a parent to dealing with a teen pregnancy in the family, there was so much that could have weighed down the MCs. But they persevered and had faith in themselves–and each other. Little things like Sam's abuela living with his family and Lou not working on an app felt so authentic. I loved it. Now I have to read more by this author! I loved how real and grounded this romance felt to me. From losing a parent to dealing with a teen pregnancy in the family, there was so much that could have weighed down the MCs. But they persevered and had faith in themselves–and each other. Little things like Sam's abuela living with his family and Lou not working on an app felt so authentic. I loved it. Now I have to read more by this author!

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