Book Reviews

Review: Our Way Back to Always by Nina Moreno

Having absolutely loved Don’t Date Rosa Santos, I knew I had to read Our Way Back to Always. And while I expected to love it, I had no idea how much it would steal my heart. How much I would be emotional, tearing up, and laughing. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


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.


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. Because Lou struggles with figuring out what she wants as she takes on the dreams of her family. All while Sam is trying to decide what his future will be in the wake of his grief.


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Our Way Back to Always is heartfelt. It is heartfelt and emotional, hitting brilliant highs and emotional lows. We cannot live our lives for others and sometimes it just takes a person to say they believe in us, to inspire our own belief. I ended up finishing this one in a few days and I am still so in love with this character work and hilarious and heart warming story. Find Our Way Back to Always on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite YA second chance romance?

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