Alyssa's Reviews > Two-Way Street

Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
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's review
Mar 30, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: must-get-asap, own, highly-anticipated, not-even-okay, really-excited-for, ya-romance, 2011-read, rom-com, me-and-my-dirty-mouth-review, multiple-povs, on-the-road-again
Recommended for: If you can think for yourself, knock yourself out. Not for the incredibly impressionable.
Read in July, 2011

Proceed with the caution of spoilers, although I truly don't think you'll be missing anything with this book.

I’m probably about to be taking what’s supposed to be a light, entertaining read way too seriously. Still – melodrama suits the cover, the story, the characters and the writing of Two-Way Street, and if the shoe fits…

This is the summary I imagine Barnholdt sent to publishers. Keep in mind that I made this up all by my Little Self: Courtney and Jordan were doing fine, fine, fine. La-la-la, this is Courtney and Jordan doing fine. They got along great, they never argued, they had perfect chemistry, were both going to the same college and were absolutely, positively head over heels with one another. *Cue dramatic music.* That is - *cue dramatic music* - until Jordan breaks up with Courtney for some random slut he met on MySpace. Unfortunately, their plan for travelling cross-country for their college orientation is still on. (Why the fuck…?) How will Courtney stand hanging around the ex she still loves for three days? How will Jordan hide the secrets he’s keeping from Courtney? How will they be able to stand the heat festering between them?

If you’re an avid reader, you know what happens in the end before you even begin. You know that Jordan still loves Courtney and that their break-up was made of misunderstandings. Now clap for me – someone, anyone, whether you’re reading this in your car, in a bar or up high in the stars (I’m a poet now) – because I AM AN AVID READER THAT’S SEEN ALMOST EVERYTHING POSSIBLE IN YA LIT AND I. STILL. FINISHED. THE. BOOK. No, I’m not quite sure why I was so interested in TWS, aside from my foolish hopes that it would provide some insightful thoughts, but simply focus, please, on the miracle in which I FINISHED IT.

*cutesy smile * Thanks.

Let me begin with the good things about TWS: it wasn’t heavy and it actually became entertaining – in the Point-and-Laugh kind of way – when the novel truly hit High on the Stupidity Chart. The road-trip Courtney and Jordan were on was also much easier to read than the long-winded, way-too-detailed Amy and Roger’s “Epic Detour,” not because this book was more interesting or anything important like that, but because I actually saw the characters in TWS interacting and bringing back their fucked-up, pathetic relationship, which is something that I didn’t see in A&R. So. Bravo to Barnholdt for achieving the expected!

That’s about it for my positives.


The cover, which I know isn’t in Barnholdt’s realm of creating, bothered the fuck out of me. I know I’m about to enter Bad Reviewer Territory because I’m judging the book (partially) by its cover, but some things need to be said. Dudes, their car didn’t break down, not that they drove a convertible anyway. And there aren’t “two sides to every breakup” when the person ending the relationship is lying and the other didn’t want the relationship to end, which is sort of what the phrase implies. OH, and Jordan is only labeled “cute enough,” and isn't someone who appears to be a Hercules-doppelganger figure from out of Megan Meade’s. This cover totally misled me from what the book really is – a reflection of lies, hypocritical characters, and stupid and unrealistic situations.

And the whole “slut” tag. FOR GOD'S SAKE. REALLY.

This story was so, so stupid. The big “secret” Jordan was keeping from Courtney was trés over-dramatic and could really only be found on an old episode of the Bold and the Beautiful. Why would Jordan, (and this is a huge spoiler) first of all, go out with a girl who’s the “daughter” of the man he caught fucking his mother? Why would Courtney, at the end, call up her dad – NOT HER ACTUAL FATHER, KIDS – and try to start things up again, when everything he did, every nice thing he did for her, was only to save his ass and not because he loved her? Why would Courtney’s parents – ESPECIALLY her father because I mean, what, is he begging for his secret to come out? – let her go on a roadtrip with her ex-boyfriend across the country, and why would Jordan still go with her, anyhow? None of this makes any logical sense. I have a huge issue with the characters. I’d like to start with the minor ones. Jocelyn is a creepy stalker who doesn’t trust her boyfriend and gives terrible advice. Enough said. B.J, noted boyfriend, would have actually been somewhat likable had he not been such a male-BFF stereotype. Seriously. All love-interest best friends are drunks or addicts, thus trying to show how superior the LI is, but also underlining how mindless that LI is because they chose an idiot to be their best friend. Now, I’m not saying that drunks or addicts are idiots, but I am saying that most fictional male-BFFs are created stupid and addicted to something, be it drink, narcotics or sex, to show how ah-may-zing the romantic interest is. Although I’m glad Barnholdt decided to give her secondary characters page-time, I am seriously disappointed in what she made of them.

Onto Jordan, who is one of the worst boyfriends I think I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading about. This boy was complete with outrageous lies, horrid decision-making skills, and no brains whatsoever. Again: worst boyfriend. This boy, this disgusting boy, uses girls like their toys – I think his mentality was ‘use ‘em once and drop ‘em’ – and lets his testosterone run the show. Not only that, but he was a lying jerk who made terrible decisions, and also a typical playboy stereotype. Impressionable YA readers: do not be fooled by his good looks. This is a boy in the shape of a man who needs a few lessons on how to properly treat a human being.

And I get to Courtney, and I want to gag. I do. This excuse for a main character is even worse than Jordan. For a supposedly intelligent person, Courtney was incredibly close-minded and judgmental. On page one, she assumes that the girl her ex hooked up with was a slut who was scamming guys on MySpace. Uh, darling, how is she a slut when it was your boyfriend who left you for her? And is she a slut because she went for what she wanted? Do you know the specifics on how they got together? On page twenty-nine, she slams Katie Shaw, who was hurt by Jordan, saying she doesn’t feel bad because this girl “gets around.” And then she says that, of course Jordan was friends with Madison, the girl he was trying to get in bed that night, because she was disgusting and did things with Kool-Aid and oral. AND THEN, she goes and, according to Jordan in the next chapter, grinds into him, this guy who evokes “disgusting” behavior, a guy who’s type she just claimed the “disgusting” girls. Uh, Courtney? What the fuck? If you’re so smart, wouldn’t you realize that you’re doing the exact same thing you just claimed was gross? Wouldn’t you realize that you yourself are being what you consider a “slut?” Wouldn't you come up with a synonym to "disgusting?" Wouldn't you realize the very big, very serious problem, with slut-shaming? HELLO!? COURTNEY? YOU’RE A HYPOCRITICAL BITCH. Yuck. She left a terrible taste in my mouth. And not only was she totally hypocritical, but she was also mindless, unable to think for herself, unrealistic, and stupid.

And now THE PARENTS. Jesus, the parents. Why would Courtney’s dad let Courtney go on a road trip with Jordan, even after they’d broken up, when his big secret could have been told? Why would Courtney’s mom let her go on the trip if, obviously, her boyfriend just dumped her – why wouldn’t she drive her herself if tickets for a flight were already sold? No parent would actually force their kid to “learn that lesson,” especially in Courtney’s father’s position. Completely unbelievable. Barnholdt’s writing was appalling. She wrote her characters with absolutely no intelligent brains and wrote what, four years after this novel’s release, is totally outdated. Outdated. This book was SO outdated. Who uses MySpace anymore? Destiny’s Child BROKE UP and was old when this book came out, and yet Courtney thinks it’s cool to dance to it when she judges Jordan for listening to Sir Mix-A-Lot. (Again, I point out her stupidity and hypocrisy. What kind of person like this is LIKABLE?)

I also didn’t appreciate Barnholdt letting her characters off the hook with everything and also making up implausible situations to get them together. Jordan was afraid that he wouldn’t be accepted to BU with his unimpressive grades and poor attendance record – he wouldn’t and yet Barnholdt let him off the hook in order to get him in a car with Courtney. Courtney’s parents send her on the road-trip with Jordan even after he broke her heart; why would Courtney’s father logically do that, or any understanding parent – as Courtney’s parents pleaded they were – for that matter? Another fish let off the hook.

Two-Way Street is a waste of your time. It’s an embarrassing addition to YA contemporary books, it’s filled with ludicrous characters and situations, and is truly ridiculous by the end. This is not recommended, and I will not be reading anything more of Barnholdt’s. Ever. La-la-la, this is me forgetting Two-Way Street.
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02/11/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-28)

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message 28: by Cory (new) - rated it 1 star

Cory You too? I couldn't get past the first 30pgs. Then I tried her new book, When It Happens. It was horrible.

message 27: by Dija (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dija I'm sorry you didn't like this book better. I really enjoyed reading it, but I think it was mostly due to the mental break I got by reading something light and fun rather any great merit of the story itself.

Alyssa Cory - I will never read something of hers ever again. This book made me sick.

Lazuline - it was light, which was the only good thing about it. Still, there were too many problems with it that I couldn't overlook.

message 25: by Dija (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dija After reading your review, I find I do agree with most of what you said. Like I said though, the main reason I liked this book is that it's the first YA non-fantasy book I've read in a looooong time. I think just reminiscing about that is what made me like this book.

message 24: by Alyssa (last edited Aug 05, 2011 04:05PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Alyssa I think it depends on the state of mind you were reading it in, right? If you're looking for a break from YA fantasy and want a light read, this book is great for you. If you're looking for a contemporary with meaning, it isn't. In the cases in which we both read the book, both of our reasons are valid enough.

message 23: by Dija (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dija Yeah, exactly. Just like how people who read Twilight expecting it to be some sort of phenomenal story hated it, and those who read it expecting and wanting a light, fun romance loved it. All about the timing.

message 22: by Erin (new)

Erin So what you're saying is... I should put this at the top of my to-read pile! Yes, I will do that!

It's not every day you find a book with no redeeming qualities. Lucky, lucky you.

message 21: by Mishi (new) - rated it 1 star

Mishi Eru I'm impressed you were able to finish it..i didn't read half of it, I went straight to the few pages toward the ending, skimming thru it..i didn't like the way it was written..and the thing that I hate most about it was the parts where 'i mean' was starting to believe she can't think of anything different to whatever; lalala..i really don't think there's a person who could say whatever often in such a short time like say 5mins as icourtney does, such talent dont you think? ;)

message 20: by Jade (new) - added it

Jade Lopez Fabulous review!!!! the blurb and google book expert seemed somewhat decent, but after reading this certain details came to light (ie, the thing about b.j. and the parents non-realistic handling throughtout the whole book)that i had chosen to overlook or not anaylize. thank you for sparing me the poorly written read!

Katrina Passick Lumsden As far as your one point, Jordan didn't know who Courtney's dad was until they were well into their "relationship".

That being said, I agree. This book didn't infuriate me quite as much as it did you (lol), but I've had plenty of books affect me that way. This one I just thought was "meh"...maybe it's because I've read way, way worse...? Sadly, hehe. But's not a great book.

message 18: by Alyssa (last edited Nov 10, 2011 03:44PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Alyssa Katrina wrote: "As far as your one point, Jordan didn't know who Courtney's dad was until they were well into their "relationship".

That being said, I agree. This book didn't infuriate me quite as much as it did..."

Not true - Jordan had only met Courtney that night, and then they'd gone into their relationship anyhow. He could have so easily stopped it after first meeting her, and even if he didn't do that, TYPICALLY he would have because...well, it's kind of disgusting, you know?

And what could possibly be worse? ;)

message 17: by Katrina (last edited Nov 10, 2011 03:49PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Katrina Passick Lumsden Yes, he met her the night he caught his mom cheating, but he didn't know the guy he caught his mom with was Courtney's dad until later on.

Believe me, there's worse. Unlovable by Sherry Gammon, and His Eyes by Renee Carter. Those are my most-hated right now, hehe.

Andrea You wrote the review that I would have preferred having my nails ripped off rather than writing. I don't know why I saw it through to the end (maybe because I wanted to see just how ridiculous it would get (AND IT DID. GET RIDICULOUS, I MEAN.)). I hated the characters in the book more than I hated the book as a whole. But hey, they can't all be diamonds, right?

Alyssa Andrea wrote: "You wrote the review that I would have preferred having my nails ripped off rather than writing. I don't know why I saw it through to the end (maybe because I wanted to see just how ridiculous it w..."

No, they can't all be diamonds, but in publishing, the majority should be. And everything about this book IS ridiculous, I agree. But, on to the next one, right?

Andrea I completely agree with you. But I guess the quality of the books published depends greatly on the publisher. I'm sure Random House and Penguin are much more at liberty of being choosy with what they publish than the smaller publishers. Oh well. Like you said, on to the next one!

Samantha okay all of the terms that she used, such as slut and all the drama was based on the characters. They are EMOTIONAL TEENAGERS! what is the big deal? the book is written from a teenage boy and girls perspective not some adult who isnt at all emotionally involved in the situation. and i thought it was a very cute story. it is understandable that the girl will drive with her bf because she would have no other way of getting there! and she didnt save up money or anything to fly or take the plane. She had no other options.

Samantha i personally loved this book.

message 11: by Alyssa (last edited Nov 05, 2012 05:48PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Alyssa Samantha wrote: "okay all of the terms that she used, such as slut and all the drama was based on the characters. They are EMOTIONAL TEENAGERS! what is the big deal? the book is written from a teenage boy and girls..."

I honestly find every single derogative term used in this book unnecessary, offensive and distasteful. It's one think to call teenagers emotional and angsty, and it's another to make a teenage girl feel like everyone around her is bad for engaging in sexual behaviours, especially when it is their very boyfriend initiating the activity. I agree - this book was written by an adult, and teenagers definitely take slut-shaming to the degree displayed in this book, and even worse - but I, in no ways, find reading about that kind of behaviour entertaining or necessary, and I certainly don't think it should be as preached and exploited as it was in this book. Readers, especially young readers, can be incredibly impressionable, and I believe that there is no reason for a book to express negative, abusive behaviour without there being a reason behind it all, and not one that's simply "because teens do it".

Also, while I agree that it's understandable and probable that Courtney would agree to drive with jerkface, I believe that, based on the circumstances of this book and the plot and parenthood in general, that whole situation was completely convoluted and ridiculous.

Still, you're entitled to your opinion and feelings, Samantha. This book was just not my type of entertainment.

message 10: by Kathy-Samuel (new)

Kathy-Samuel Oh My Lord! I love your reviews and i kind of REALLY don't want to read Lola and the boy next door but i do want to read Please Ignore Vera Dietz. Well people lets get to the point,"THAT WAS F***** AWESOME" (my words) and thanks

Alyssa Kathy-Samuel wrote: "Oh My Lord! I love your reviews and i kind of REALLY don't want to read Lola and the boy next door but i do want to read Please Ignore Vera Dietz. Well people lets get to the point,"THAT WAS F*****..."

Haha thank you :) If you enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss than I suggest giving Lola + The Boy Next Door a try -- even though I didn't enjoy it, many other readers did and I wouldn't want you to miss out on that opportunity ;) And yes, definitely go get on PIVD! I love that book!

message 8: by Kathy-Samuel (new)

Kathy-Samuel Alyssa wrote: "Kathy-Samuel wrote: "Oh My Lord! I love your reviews and i kind of REALLY don't want to read Lola and the boy next door but i do want to read Please Ignore Vera Dietz. Well people lets get to the p..."
Dude haven't read Anna and the french kiss yet but I'm willin to try it(see I'm reasonable)

Alyssa Haha, reasonable is the way to be with books ;)

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I don't think I could like this review enough. You hit every nail on the head on how I feel about this book. I was so excited when I got the book out (I don't know why, I'm not into girlie books) and couldn't wait to read it!

Then I read it.


Alyssa Thanks, Olivia. This book was incredibly disappointing. Did you know there's a companion novel being published?

message 4: by Ayesha (new)

Ayesha A i salute you! i love your review and it's so true! so fucking true.

message 3: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Preach it. I completely agree with this review, I've read some pretty bad book, but this tops the charts.

message 2: by Aiza (new) - added it


message 1: by Aiza (new) - added it

Aiza Iqbal Im interested to know what some of your favourite books are? I need suggestions of what to read.

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