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The Way Back Home

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  364 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Zoe Bird is going nowhere fast. She’s angry and lonely, and her only true friend is her granny, whose Alzheimer’s is worsening. When her parents put Granny in a home, Zoe decides now is the time to break free. She smuggles Granny out and together they hit the tracks on a cross-country trip to find Zoe’s long-lost uncle. But there will be some home truths along the way. . . ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 4th 2017 by Andersen
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  364 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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May 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
General Rating: ★
Diversity rating: ★★ (LGBT+: transgender; mental illness: alzheimer’s)

The Way Back Home is a story about a girl whose grandmother with Alzheimer’s is sent to a care home. And since you’re reading this review and I’m assuming after this you won’t read this book, my review will contain some spoilers.

First things first, do not read this book. Unless you hate yourself, then be my guest, read this book.

Second, the main character is a horrible brat wi
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely YA novel that straddles the perspectives of youth and old age beautifully. It is complex but easy to read and engage with at the same time.
Kirsty Hanson
Grab your tissues, because you're seriously going to be taken on an emotional rollercoaster ride with this book. I found this particularly difficult to read because it hit very very close to home with the character of the Granny. I got half way and I just didn't think I could read anymore because it was getting too personal, but I ploughed through it and I'm really glad that I did.

Zoe Bird is going nowhere fast. She’s angry and lonely, and her only true friend is her granny, whose Alzheim/>Zoe
Nov 17, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish

DNF @ p. 50 (ish)

I really wanted to like this. I picked it up because it was nominated for the Governor General Award for Young People's Literature this year and I enjoyed Stratton's mystery/horror novel THE DOGS a few years ago.

The first 50 pages was comprised almost entirely of dialogue. This isn't a bad thing in of and itself, but the way the characters spoke was very forced, stilted and unnatural. I wish I could provide some examples, but I've already returned my library copy. I
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a short and sweet read. You get through it super fast, but the storyline is perfect. There is nothing more the author could have added. I loved the character development, the plot development, etc. Everything was perfect about the book. I liked how it talked about family disputes, LGBTQ+ community, mental illness, etc. There's a girl whose very close with her grandma. Her grandma is going to be sent to a senior home because she has Alzhemiers, so she forgets everything. Her memory is ge ...more
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Janay Brazier
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked it but I didn't love it. I had my Kindle of text-to-speech reading it too me most of the time. I liked the idea of it and the writing was pretty good but I didn't gel with the characters like I wanted to. I felt for her when she was being bullied but overall I didn't feel much. Maybe I'll reread it at some point to try again because reading a new book after ACOWAR was never going to feel amazing.
Jun 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: physical
I liked the relationship between Zoe and her Granny; they really cared for each other. I also liked how the story dealt with Alzheimers and how hard it can be for a family.

I did not really like Zoe. I thought she was very bratty throughout the story and it was hard to relate to her.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I finished this I felt like I'd just finished a love story. Very sweet, emotional and quite touching.
Mar 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
I don’t like this book at all. Zoe is so rude to her parents. And Madi is even worse.
Miriam Smith
May 04, 2017 added it
Shelves: giveaways
Won in the Goodreads Giveaways - not read, passed on.
Jessica O'Reilly
This book was a really fast read, which can be a good or bad thing depending on the story being told. In this case, I think it resulted in watering down the story a bit, as things seemed to develop too quickly and it wasn't quite the story I was expecting. That's not to say I didn't still enjoy it, because I did, but I think it could have been better. It needed some things to be expanded on to feel a little more natural and organic in the story, as opposed to feeling kind of rushed and "what can ...more
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, and I felt, as someone Zoe’s age, that it was relatable. Zoe is sometimes a little bit unreasonable, but aren’t all teenagers sometimes? That is why I related to it all the more because I know sometimes I feel like she does, and I think what she does, even if it is unreasonable to think and say. The end was so bittersweet, but I loved it. I loved the twist and hated Madi.

I would definitely recommend this book!
Bruce Gargoyle
I received a copy of this title for review from the publisher via Netgalley.

DNF at 36%

Ten Second Synopsis:
Zoe's loves her grandmother dearly and is devastated and rage-filled when her granny is put in an old folks' home after her dementia becomes apparent.

This could have been a good read, but I could not get past the immature, repellent protagonist or her immature, repellent relatives. In fact, everyone in this book seemed aggravatingly immature except for the gran
Ben Reffell
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: red-maple-2017
This book is an occasionally heartfelt train wreck.

This is another Red Maple 2017 book I read. I haven’t read them all yet, but this one might be the worst.

For starters; the main character, Zoe, is an over-angsty, sometimes sociopathic teenager.
I’m not exaggerating. It’s told in the first-person, and within the first few chapters, she’s already voiced several fantasies of her parent’s deaths. Maybe it was supposed to be funny? It was really troubling to read.
Eve beinguniquebooks
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Zoe is misunderstood by her parents and bullied by her vile cousin whom films an extreme case of threat against Zoe as they find it hilarious making Zoe beg for her life, literally.

Her gran suffers with Alzheimer's and is getting slowly worse and more forgetful as well as being prone to going want ring alone with her confusion getting herself into dangerous situations.

Her gran though, wishes to not be stuck in a home and so Zoe takes on the task of
Louise Douglas
Mar 19, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
Urgh. I don’t know if I’m just way older than the target demographic for this book, but I just could not get along with it. I’m guessing it was aimed at teenagers who may be able to relate to the main character, Zoe, but I just found her a whiny brat throughout the whole book and it completely spoilt it for me.

I think it’s supposed to be played as Zoe the wild child going on this grand adventure and somehow reuniting the family and making everything right in the world, but all I coul
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This YA novel by the author of The Dogs didn't give me the best first impression, but it certainly grew on me.

Zoe has a very close relationship with Granny, but that's about the only good relationship she has in her life. Her parents wish she was more like her cousin, Madi, who has secretly bullied her and blamed her for things for several years without getting into trouble. She is only allowed to hang around with people of whom Madi approves, and isn't very happy with her life. (I have a hard
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Overall pretty good, and better than I bargained. I was looking for an easy read (it is) since I had stopped reading for awhile (life and death and crises intervened), and it worked for that, but there were gems, there was hope, there was insight, there was growth.

(view spoiler) ...more
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canlit-pub-2017
Anyone who has a relative with Alzheimer's will be able to relate to Zoe's struggle as she watches her Granny deteriorate and be placed in a nursing home against her will. Zoe also struggles with bullies at school and parents who cannot seem support her in a positive way. Zoe begins to make some drastic decisions that will lead her and Granny down a dark path.
Stratton creates characters masterfully. Zoe is particularly realistic since the reader is gifted with not only what she is saying b
Isabelle Li
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Way Back Home by Allan Stratton was a beautifully written story, with all components of a great book present. Surprisingly, the plot had quite a lot of action and excitement. I especially liked the contrasting personalities of the characters, and how each of them were slowly introduced as the story progressed. I enjoyed the first-person narration which added emotion, and the relationship between the protagonist and her grandmother, and how much they cared for each other. Even though she woul ...more
Masha  Taratorina
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is called "The Way back Home" which was written by Allan Stratton. This book is about Zoe birds and her favourite grandmother. The book starts with Zoe telling us about her family and her school life. The only person that she truly ever loved is her grandmother. Zoe's parents have always thought that granny was crazy and had to always be cared of after her husbands death. Zoe's grandmother alway collects different items from the street, and brings them to her home, which is why Zoe's p ...more
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
The way back home by Allan Stratton.
This book is about a girl named Zoe and she loves her grandmother very much, but her grandmother has Alzheimer and it's getting worse. Her parents decide that it's best that her grandmother be sent away to a home where she will be taken care of but Zoe isn't too happy about it. She breaks her granny out and heads out on an adventure to Toronto to find her long lost uncle.A long the way she discovers family secrets she never knew.
Like all books the
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I get that a lot of people didn't like this book, and I can see why, but I really enjoyed it. It's a quick read. Some people say that they can't relate to the characters and that the characters are awful people, but I think that sometimes it's nice to read a book with characters that aren't perfect. I mean, Zoe does a lot of stupid things in the book, but at the end, she kind of learned that she shouldn't do that kind of stuff.

Well, the book wasn't perfect, but I don't regret reading
Susan Marshall
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked up The Way Back Home and almost put it right back down, the family relationships were instantly jarring and the sights and smells were seriously off-putting. Am I ever glad I stuck it out to witness the feisty, foul-mouthed and often falsely blamed teen Zoe fight,on behalf of her increasingly confused grandmother, to remain in her beloved ‘Bird’ house. An excellent, bittersweet story of a profound grandmother-granddaughter bond.
Apr 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Mixed feelings. Rating: 3.5 stars. I did like this book though it was nothing special. Some things I thought were really well done such as dealing with mental illness, and transgender society. I would probably of liked it more if it was easier to identify with my own life. Though I'm not crazy about some things in the book and I'm not going to go crazy telling people to read it I do recommend giving it a read.
Sylvia McNicoll
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My mom lived with and eventually died of Alzheimer's and I was not the most patient person.Going back I wish I could have been a Zoe Bird. I love how she and her grandmother get along. How she intuitively knows what upsets her grandmother. The mom and daughter dynamics, while antagonistic, felt real and realized. The parents struggling financially felt both humorous and sad.
I loved The Way Back Home.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not my favourite book. I loved the determination throughout the story. The characters had personality, but lacked like-ability. The main character acted foolish, was ignorant and blunt. These traits were so powerful it outweighed any good traits. Which made the book hard to read as it was in her point of view. Through the story I was confused whether to feel sorry for her or to feel like she deserved what was happening because they were the consequences of her stupid decisions.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-readers
I won this book a couple of months ago in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

A good book, but one of those books that i could take or leave. I have since passed this book on to my eldest granddaughter, as I'm sure she will love this story. Especially as my granddaughter was very close to my late mother, who had Alzheimer's.

Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book weaves you through a series of world-related issues, told through the protagonist Zoe. When she and her Granny run away from home, they seek the key to their families long lost uncle, Uncle Teddy. With a long journey ahead, and a petite budget at hand, Zoe and her Granny are as close as ever. What may they find out?
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ALLAN STRATTON is the internationally acclaimed author of CHANDA'S SECRETS, winner of the American Library Association's Michael L. Printz Honor Book, the Children's Africana Book Award, and ALA Booklist's Editor's Choice among others. His first YA novel was the ALA Best Book LESLIE'S JOURNAL. His latest, CHANDA'S WARS, a Junior Library Guild selection, won the Canadian Library Association's Young ...more