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Friday, June 7, 2013

Blog Tour: A Way Back to You by Emily Gray Clawson

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a way back Title: A Way Back to You

Author: Emily Gray Clawson

Publisher: Deseret Book Company

Published: 2013

ISBN: 1609075218

FTC FYI: Received an eCopy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Deseret Book | Amazon



Book Description:

What would you do if you were given a second chance? Annabelle, whom nearly everyone calls Anne, has been stuck in the past for two years. Numbed by grief over her husband's unexpected death and overwhelmed with the responsibility of raising their three young children alone, Anne agrees to let a friend take the kids for the weekend while she tries to get some much-needed rest at her parent's home. But when Anne wakes up the next morning, she is suddenly sixteen again. And it just happens to be the worst day she spent as a teenager. High school the second time around brings unforeseen changes and frustrations, but remembering that her future husband, Mitch, has just returned from a mission and is living on the other side of town gives Anne hope. Getting Mitch's attention (for the second time) is more complicated than she could have imagined, but Anne discovers she is stronger than she believed possible—and there just might be a future for her after all.

Review:

A Way Back to You is such a great book! I didn't really know what to expect, but I was immediately pulled in by opening scene about taking care of a sick child in the middle of the night. Anne's exhaustion was so relatable. Then realizing that she is a young widow and has to deal with all of the struggles of parenting all alone endeared her to me. Her situation was heartbreaking, especially because she was still in the depths of grief over losing the love of her life. I was crying by chapter two!

The idea of waking up in your past isn't a new idea, but I love how Clawson told this story. Although Anne was focused on figuring out what she needed to do to get back to her kids, I loved how her life experience made her handle her teenage dilemmas. If only we could always have such clarity to realize that our current situation might not be so bad. Or that our words and actions with our family members today can make a huge difference with those relationships in the future.

I was intrigued by not knowing if Anne was dreaming or if her actions could change the future she had already experienced.

The end was wonderful! I wouldn't have minded knowing more, but it was really sweet, and the happily ever after idea brought a smile to my face.

This book is published by an LDS publisher, and there are some religious aspects, but it's not a huge part of the story. Those outside of the LDS faith could definitely enjoy the story without being overwhelmed by religious aspects.

Excerpt:

He led me into Mr. Allan’s office, a place where we all frequently hung out. There were a couple of other kids in there on a couch in the corner, sophomores just digging their lunches out of their backpacks, but Sam, with the power of his senior status, just pointed to the door and they scrambled to their feet and out the door. He closed it softly behind us. I was completely intimidated.

I’m thirty-eight years old. I have three kids and a mortgage and a dead husband whom I miss more than I can possibly express. I am not intimidated by a seventeen-year-old kid I’m never going to see after I get married, I thought.

“I’m actually eighteen. Last week,” Sam said as he passed me to sit down on the couch.

My jaw dropped open. Had I actually said that out loud? Did it really matter? This was a dream. I was more sure of that fact than I had been before. This was the most dreamlike part of my day so far. I stared at him, allowing myself to drink in the sight of his broad chest and deep brown eyes while I considered my options.

Okay, I thought, careful to keep silent this time, if this is a dream, then it must be my subconscious trying to tell me something or work through an unresolved problem. I thought about the conversation with my mother in the car. I had told her how sorry I was for hurting her, something I hadn’t done in reality, and it had felt really good. Now I was faced with another opportunity to right a wrong. This must be what my dream was for. Making the connection took a lot of weight off my mind. I knew what I had to do. I followed Sam, feeling a little more confident, and sat down on the opposite end of the couch, as far away as the cushions would permit.

“Look, Sam, I owe you an apology. We were friends . . . sort of . . . and you always knew that I had a huge crush on you, practically since I was twelve. There’s no way you couldn’t know it. I mean, could I have been more obvious?” I laughed, a short sarcastic sound, and then cleared my throat to continue.

“It was just a teenage crush, though. Still, I know that it had to be pretty disturbing to have some girl threatening to kill herself and laying the responsibility on you. That wasn’t fair, and I don’t know what I was thinking. I guess we could chalk it up to immaturity and a desperate plea for attention.”

This was horrible. Had I thought I could explain this in a way that would make sense? I soldiered on, just needing to be done with it.

“Really, though, it’s not your fault, and I was never in danger of actually committing suicide. In fact, I have lived a very happy life without you, and I wish the same for you. You are a very nice boy, and I’m sure you are going to have great success in the Air Force and meet someone great and have some kids, and that will be that. So please don’t worry about me. I’m just fine. I won’t chase after you or write you letters or drive by your house on the way home from the store or call and hang up when you answer or any of that other bizarre teenage girl behavior anymore. You have my word.”

That should do it. I had closure now, right? I was ready to wake up. I closed my eyes and tried to picture myself waking up on The Rack in my thirty-eight-year-old body, complete with lines on my face and a few stray gray hairs that I had missed in my last hunt-and-pluck session.

The room was completely quiet. I opened my eyes, and Sam was staring at me with a half grin on his face.

About the Author:

emily Emily Gray Clawson describes herself as an author, mother, and youth mentor. Born and raised in Utah, she is passionate about her faith and great books and will share her love of both with anyone who will listen. Emily began writing at the age of seven, creating homemade picture books that she peddled from door to door. She self-published her first novel, Things Hope For, and is collaborating with Jennifer Graves on a book entitled A Sister’s Witness: The Powell Family Tragedy. With her husband, Richard, Emily founded two youth leadership programs, Handmaidens of Virtue and Mastering Knighthood. Trained in vocal performance in college, she has enjoyed including aspects of her training in this book. Emily and Richard are the parents of four children and live in Taylorsville, Utah.


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