You Can Go Your Own Way
Published November 2, 2021
About You Can Go Your Own Way
Adam Stillwater is in over his head. At least, that’s what his best friend would say. And his mom. And the guy who runs the hardware store down the street. But this pinball arcade is the only piece of his dad that Adam has left, and he’s determined to protect it from Philadelphia’s newest tech mogul, who wants to turn it into another one of his cold, lifeless gaming cafés.
Whitney Mitchell doesn’t know how she got here. Her parents split up. She lost all her friends. Her boyfriend dumped her. And now she’s spending her senior year running social media for her dad’s chain of super successful gaming cafés—which mostly consists of trading insults with that decrepit old pinball arcade across town.
But when a huge snowstorm hits, Adam and Whitney suddenly find themselves trapped inside the arcade. Cut off from their families, their worlds, and their responsibilities, the tension between them seems to melt away, leaving something else in its place. But what happens when the storm stops?
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is the nostalgic feel of Adam’s chapters. It’s a contemporary novel, set in the present day (minus covid), but Adam has a lot of love for bands his dad loved and for the vintage pinball machines his dad was obsessed with before he died. I haven’t played a lot of pinball in my life, but I felt like the descriptions of the game play and the machines made perfect sense and was really engaging. I also couldn’t help connecting with Adam and his complex, unresolved grief with all his nerdy amazingness.
Whitney is super different than Adam is. She’s sleek, cool, and incredibly driven, and yet I felt an instant connection with her, too. I really appreciated her wit and tenacity. She is definitely one of those characters who acts tough and has a soft heart underneath, and I love those!
In addition to all of that, there are some very fun social media situations and conversations, plus a community of indie business owners who all show up for each other. If you know me, you know community is another thing that I tend to adore in the books I read. It just feels so real, and makes the characters feel like part of a real world, you know?
YOU CAN GO YOUR OWN WAY is the first book by Eric Smith that I’ve read, though I’m pretty sure I own his others! Reading this made me really want to read everything he’s written. I felt like the relationships were super real and the characters were really easy to connect with. I think readers who enjoy contemporary romance will have a lot to love in this book.
I suppose my only complaint is the ear worm that constantly happens to me every time I read the title. Every. Time. I guess I can live with a little music in my head. Ha!
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Adam’s dad is Sicilian and his mom is Palestinian.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used fairly frequently.
Kissing between boy and girl. References to making out.
Adam tries to clean up glass from a broken pinball game and cuts his hand. A storm breaks some windows, causing some damage.
Whitney attends a party at her boyfriend’s house where kids are drinking alcohol.
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