Fair warning, I like the word perfect, and I'm going to overuse it in this review. To make things fun, I will send a printed copy of Back to You the first person to tell me how many times I used the word 'perfect' (or any form of it). It might take me a while to get it to you, because it took me two weeks to get my copy.
A perfect book is one that I will stand on a soap-box and hand out to the masses. It's a book I think everyone should read. It's a book that changes you; makes you look at the world just a little bit differently. It's a book that gives you hope, and one that you constantly think about. A perfect book is one that you turn to when other stories have let you down. A perfect book has you crying ugly tears from the sheer pain or hilarity of the story. It's the one you send overseas as a birthday gift so you and your best-friend can talk about it over Skype. And in the case of hopeless romantics, it's a book that you wish would be made into a movie starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.
I read a lot and almost anything. There are books that I would read for the next 30 years, and others that I wish I never picked up. I've experienced a 'perfect' book only a handful of times. As of 11:05pm EST on Apr.12th, Back to You became one of them.
This has to be one of the best stories of friendship and love that I've read in a very long time. The retelling of Lauren and Del's story through glimpses to their past was executed perfectly. What made this story so complete and believable for me was that Ms. Glenn really developed the relationship between Lauren and Del. I felt like I understood Lauren, and even at times when he was an ass, I couldn't help but see Del the way she did. Del broke my heart, but I never pitied him. I just wished he would have figured his shit out sooner.
The past and the present worked perfectly in parallel to each other to bring the reader to the pinnacle of the story. I started to hesitate as I sensed that crucial moment growing closer. I was hoping and praying that it wouldn't be a let-down. The turning point in Lauren and Del's friendship happened when they were teenagers, and quiet honestly, I was hating the possibility of an anti-climatic-angst-filled-typical-high-school-drama issue. I wanted something that had purpose. Something that made sense, especially given everything I now knew about these characters. I know one should never be happy about gut-wrenching heartache, but I think exceptions can be made when there's substance behind it. Lauren and Del were not some wishy-washy teenagers so their heartbreak shouldn't be fleeting either.
Just when I couldn't love this story more, I read the lyrics to the song. That song was Lauren and Del because it was so honest and simple. If I was an author, I would write endings like this. The only thing finishing this book made me want to do was re-read it that very moment.