Book Review

Book Review: One Way or Another by Kara McDowell

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Kara McDowell
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: October 6th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


The average person makes 35,000 decisions every single day. That’s about 34,999 too many for Paige Collins, who lives in debilitating fear of making the wrong choice. The simple act of picking an art elective is enough to send her into a spiral of what-ifs. What if she’s destined to be a famous ceramicist but wastes her talent in drama club? What if there’s a carbon monoxide leak in the ceramics studio and everyone drops dead? (Grim, but possible!)

That’s why when Paige is presented with two last-minute options for Christmas vacation, she’s paralyzed by indecision. Should she go with her best friend (and longtime crush) Fitz to his family’s romantic mountain cabin? Or should she accompany her mom to New York, a city Paige has spent her whole life dreaming about?

Just when it seems like Paige will crack from the pressure of choosing, fate steps in — in the form of a slippery grocery store floor — and Paige’s life splits into two very different parallel paths. One path leads to New York where Paige falls for the city . . . and the charms of her unexpected tour guide. The other leads to the mountains where Paige might finally get her chance with Fitz . . . until her anxiety threatens to ruin everything.

However, before Paige gets her happy ending in either destiny, she’ll have to face the truth about her struggle with anxiety — and learn that you don’t have to be “perfect” to deserve true love. 


This was a nice quick holiday read.

I liked the anxiety rep in here. Even though it stressed me out (because I would have some of the exact same thoughts as Paige), it was relatable in a way I could really feel. I appreciated her journey and finding safety and help from her loved ones as she recognized its impact on her life.

Fitz was sweet. I liked him much more towards the end. I didn’t like the dual timeline aspect. It made some of the drama (and love triangle) feel a bit forced. I guess there might not have been enough without it, though I can see that this could have been a great novella length read too.

The Christmastime vibes were there and its a good, true young adult book. Not overall note worthy, but it fit that spirit of the season I was looking for.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: head injuries
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: many depictions of severe anxiety

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