Review: One Way or Another by Kara McDowell

Review: One Way or Another by Kara McDowell

One Way or Another by Kara McDowell is a Christmas book about destiny and self-acceptance. I enjoyed the discussions of mental health, which is pretty rare in holiday reads, and Paige’s character transforms throughout the book. One of my favourite parts is how both of her Christmas vacation options are depicted. This is such a cute holiday read that fans of Hallmark movies will love.

Review: One Way or Another by Kara McDowellTitle: One Way or Another
Author: Kara McDowell
Also by this author: Just For Clicks
Publisher: Scholastic
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
Rating: four-stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

Sliding Doors meets To All the Boys I've Loved Before in a sweet, smart holiday romance about a girl who decides to stop letting her anxiety stand in the way of true love.

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.

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❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃

Review: One Way or Another by Kara McDowell

This book tells the story of a girl who has difficulty making decisions and feels daunted by the two options she has for the holidays. When she slips and hits her head, she gets to see both of her fates–a trip to New York with her mother and a trip to the mountains with her best friend (who she is also in love with). This book has a great mix of fun and heavier topics, and it was interesting to see a holiday book that discusses mental health so prominently. While I did find a lot of the book pretty dramatic, I also thought this was such a cute read, and the ending is everything I could have hoped for.

❀ Realistic Main Character

Paige is a realistic main character who really transforms throughout the book. Decisions are difficult for her, and she deals with a lot of anxiety. However, she begins to accept herself and leave her comfort zone. I also really liked Fitz and how supportive he is of Paige. He is understanding and always there to help calm her down during panic attacks. I can’t comment on the representation of anxiety, but I felt like the author dealt with the topic very well.

❀ A cool concept

The best part of the novel is its structure–it’s almost like reading two books in one. I loved the alternating fates and the opportunity to see what Paige might have missed in the other timeline. The reader also gains a deeper knowledge of both Paige’s mother and Fitz’s family because of the two locations. It was really interesting to see the same main events in both realities and how Paige’s different reactions in each timeline affected the plot. This is such a cool concept that I would love to see more of.

❀ Adorable Holiday Rom-com

One Way or Another by Kara McDowell is an adorable novel with a good mix of light and heavy topics. The main character learns to accept herself, and the novel’s alternating fates are an inventive idea. This is a great book for those looking for a fresh take on holiday rom-coms.

About Kara McDowell

Image of Kara McDowell

Born in the mountains and raised in the desert, Kara McDowell spent her childhood swimming, boating, and making up stories in her head. As the middle of five children, Kara entertained her family on long road trips by reading short mystery stories out loud and forcing everyone to guess the conclusion. After graduating from Arizona State University with a BA in English Literature, Kara worked as a freelance writer. Now she writes young adult novels from her home in Arizona, where she lives with her husband and three young sons.

JUST FOR CLICKS is Kara's debut novel.

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About The Candid Cover

Olivia ❀ YA book blogger, Starbucks lover, novice New Yorker, & professional bibliophile.

22 thoughts on “Review: One Way or Another by Kara McDowell

  1. Debbie P says:

    A Christmas book that as mental health issues in the story sounds very interesting. This sounds like really good read and I am looking forward to it.

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