A Way Back to You by Emily Gray Clawson
What would you do if you were given a second chance? Annabelle, whom nearly everyone calls Anne, has been stuck in the past for two years. Numbed by grief over her husband's unexpected death and overwhelmed with the responsibility of raising their three young children alone, Anne agrees to let a friend take the kids for the weekend while she tries to get some much-needed rest at her parent's home. But when Anne wakes up the next morning, she is suddenly sixteen again. And it just happens to be the worst day she spent as a teenager. High school the second time around brings unforeseen changes and frustrations, but remembering that her future husband, Mitch, has just returned from a mission and is living on the other side of town gives Anne hope. Getting Mitch's attention (for the second time) is more complicated than she could have imagined, but Anne discovers she is stronger than she believed possible—and there just might be a future for her after all.
When Anne gets transported back to high school she sees her teenage angst in a whole new light. Being a little overweight is not really a big deal. Her dirty room is totally dragging her down. Some cleaning is in order. She also rediscovers her passion for music and for her teenage crush Sam. The going back to high school storyline is a familiar one full of tropes and annoying clichés. What I loved about A Way Back to You is that it mostly steers clear of these pitfalls. I love the way that Anne brings her 30 year old maturity to her teenage years. It was so refreshing to read about a teenage protagonist that was less egotistical and self-absorbed than usual. Yet, Anne doesn’t have everything figured out. She tries to clear the air with her old fling and only makes a fool of herself. Repeatedly. She doesn’t know why she’s suddenly a teenager again and has to worry about whether her choices, especially her romantic ones will make her three children not exist in the future. Then there is the chance that she can see her deceased husband again. The chance that she can see him one last time, but arranging that is far more difficult than it should be. I really loved how this book made me think back on what I loved as a teenager and what parts of my young self I have held on to into adulthood.