I recently read Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno. It ended up being one my favorite YA contemporary books. It was clear that I wanted to learn more about the author, and Our Way Back To Always did not disappoint.

About the Book:

Luisa (Lou) Patterson was born across the street of Sam Alvarez, in Port Coral. They used to be inseparable–spending every holiday together, shooting silly YouTube videos, and rescuing stray cats. After middle school, which included the most embarrassing (and embarrassing!) serenade, Lou and Sam stopped talking for four years. Sam is the spoiled golden boy, with many friends. Lou, on the other hand is a introverted romantic who enjoys writing fan fiction and playing video games. It’s the summer before their senior years, and Lou is facing life’s challenges. Her older sister, who was a Princeton scholarship recipient, has given up her Princeton scholarship to have a child and work at the local botanica. Lou now has to fulfill all of their mother’s expectations. She is retaking her SAT’s and has signed up for too many AP classes. Her sights are set on fancy colleges like Vanderbilt and Duke. She’s shocked when she discovers the bucket list Sam and she created together as children, before Sam was diagnosed with cancer. To go to a party. Nope. No. Still no. How to be a great kisser? No.
Lou is torn between the future her sister, mother and younger self had planned for her. Lou sets out to complete the list. Sam, in a stroke or destiny, decides to join her. Sam is still trying to keep his head above water despite the loss of his father. He is looking down at a future that seems all too near and is moving too fast. With the help of the bucket list, Sam and Lou may be able find a way to navigate the future and get back to one another.

DIVERSITY: biracial (Colombian, white) protagonist with ADHD, biracial (Cuban, white) protagonist, bisexual Chinese-American side character, Afro-Cuban-American side character, Cuban-American side characters; (Cuban-Colombian-American author)


  • Two perspectives are used to tell the story of Sam, a golden boy at his high-school who is still dealing with the loss of his father, and Lou, an introverted romantic trying to fulfill her family’s expectations regarding her college path. Both as individuals, and as a couple, I found them both charming.
  • Before I get into them all, I would like to say that I enjoyed each individual journey . Sam is still grieving and trying to find his way. Lou’s determination, fierceness, and passion face her expectations from her family and her dreams for her future. Both characters were very enjoyable and I felt a strong connection to them.
  • It’s obvious that Lou and Sam are a major part of Our way back to Always, and I enjoyed it. It’s a sweet, charming romance that features one of my favourite tropes: childhood best friends falling apart, and then reuniting years later. It was not without its pitfalls and little moments of will-they-not be, but I loved the blossoming romance. They made me smile a lot.
  • The story balances tender, sweet and funny moments with more difficult times. It’s a book that fits a lot emotions without feeling too one-sided.
  • This story was full of adorable family dynamics. I enjoyed the intimate interactions between Lou and Lou’s family and Sam and Sam with their mother, grandmother, and sister.

It was a difficult time with…

  • It’s a little disappointing that we didn’t get more background about Lou and Sam’s friendship. I would have loved to know more about what happened in the past and have it resolved.


If you are looking for a cute, adorable, YA contemporary I recommend Our way back to always. Nina Moreno is a writer I look forward to reading!

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