Review: 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?

This book features ex-best friends who end up in a forced-proximity situation where they end up reassessing their feelings for one another. A classic enemies-to-lovers YA novel if I’ve ever seen one… and it features a pinball arcade setting (with a little eSports café involvement).

I adored Adam in this book. He’s such a nerd, and you can tell he really loves his mom and misses his dad. It happens to be near the anniversary of his father’s death, so his emotions are running high throughout the book. He tends to let his emotions get the better of him, which causes (yet another) Twitter fight between him and Whitney on their parents’ business’ social media accounts. He does realize he’s in the wrong though, and does apologize online and in-person to Whitney. 

As much as Adam makes Whitney out to be a villain in his first chapter, she’s really anything but. Their miscommunication the summer before high school, and Whitney’s choice of friends that year, were what broke them apart. It takes a while for Whitney to realize why her friends are her friends, but when she does, she drops them like a hot potato and finally has a proper talk with Adam (while their stuck in the pinball arcade). Her character shows growth in how she learns to assert herself and talk to people about the problems between them.

“So much about pinball is about letting go. Pulling the plunger and taking the journey. And there’s a lot I need to let go of. But it’s so much easier playing a game, than living a life.”

I do with the “being stuck in the arcade” bit had been longer, and that it happened before Adam and Whitney started to talk a bit before their big one. It would’ve been a little funnier, I think, if they still couldn’t stand each other from their ongoing Twitter fights. However, the only real issue I had with this book was how many times they mentioned “Philadelphia/Philly” or parts of the town. I feel like books that are set in NYC don’t even mention their location as much as this book did. It kind of drove me nuts.

As for side characters, Chris was a great one. I loved his thing with Swedish Fish and talking about things with Adam and his mom (and even Whitney), though it did make me wish I had some of my own while reading. Both Adam and Whitney’s moms were great characters as well, and I loved the teasing from Whitney’s mom to Whitney about her possibly liking Adam. And of course, a shoutout to the story focusing on pinball, which was just a really unique touch to this book.

Overall, this is a cute young-adult read for anyone who loves the tropes I mentioned earlier, as well as anyone who loves social media fights/texts in books, or just general nerdy things like pinball, arcades, books, and more

Rating: 3.75/5 stars

*Note: This book fills my January prompt for the Gilmore Girls challenge*

4 thoughts on “Review: You Can Go Your Own Way

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