Review: With You All the Way (Cynthia Hand)

With You All the Way
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publication Date: March 30, 2021
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½


A Forever for a new generation. Fans of Sarah Dessen , Jenny Han, and Nina LaCour will devour this exploration of family relationships, romantic relationships, and everything in between from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand.

Ada’s sick of being the invisible good girl in her family. She’s just caught her boyfriend cheating on her after she said she wasn’t ready for sex, and she’s had it up to here with her perfect, beautiful older sister trying to give her advice, especially when that advice includes staying a virgin until she’s truly in love.

But all of that pales in comparison to what Ada discovers when her mom drags them to Hawaii for an annual surgeons’ conference: her mom is having an affair. Just like that, Ada’s whole world comes crashing down, all because it seems like no one can stop themselves from falling into bed with people they shouldn’t.

So Ada decides it’s time for her to do just that, and get sex over with. But what she thinks is one of her best laid plans doesn’t actually leave room for the truth: That feelings, romantic or not, always get in the way.

The How and the Why was one of my favorite books I read in 2019. I loved Cynthia Hand’s writing style, so I couldn’t wait to read With You All the Way.  These two books have proven to me that Hand is a master of creating and writing complex family dramas. She tackles family dynamics in a fascinating way. This book was completely different than the first one I had read, but just as important and addictive.

With You All the Way was like driving by a car crash. Maybe that’s not the best description because it wasn’t brutal or sad. It was more just drama I couldn’t take my eyes away from. It reminded me of a really good MTV teenage TV drama. Ada, the main character, is on a family trip to Hawaii after having broken up with her no good, cheating ex. Her feelings are all over the place. She’s fighting with her perfect sister and discovers her mom is having an affair. Everything is a mess and Ada’s trying to work through it all. Somehow, having sex for the first time is the answer.

I’m going to cut right to the chase: sex. It’s one of the biggest topics woven through With You All the Way.  Ada is considering having it or not having it throughout the entire book. You can imagine all the possible scenarios going through Ada’s mind. Should she or shouldn’t she have it? I appreciated all of her inner dialog and questions in relations to what her body versus mind was telling her. I also appreciated the way it was dealt with and the conversations it opened up. It was a very positively written view of what having sex with or without love could mean.

I mentioned the family dynamics before. That’s the other big topic in this book. There’s so much going on between all of the family members. There is talking, arguing, keeping secrets… Each and every family member (besides sweet, little Abby) has their own thing going on. I liked the way each interaction created something to further Ada’s choices throughout the story.

I don’t know what else to say about this book. I enjoyed it so much — even the awkward moments when I wanted to shield my eyes. I loved the non-stop drama. I guessed where the story was headed, but that didn’t bug me because the journey to get there was so entertaining. Plus, I liked all the messages it dealt.

11 thoughts on “Review: With You All the Way (Cynthia Hand)”

  1. YEAH! You are way ahead of my with this one, but I am so excited to read it. Hand has proven to me, time and time again, that she is an incredible writer. Based on your review and my prior experiences with Hand, I am feeling lots of stars for this one.

    1. I felt this immense pressure to read all my ARCs back when COVID started. I got this one done as soon as I could and saved the review for now. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  2. “With You All the Way was like driving by a car crash. Maybe that’s not the best description because it wasn’t brutal or sad. It was more just drama I couldn’t take my eyes away from”
    You got me with this line! It’s been so long since I’ve read a Hand book but I loved her back in the day. Also like how sex is at the forefront of this book! I need to give it a try.

    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, if you do. It’s only my second book by her and The How & The Why will always be my favorite with the adoption rep, but this one was really good too.

  3. I am kicking myself for not requesting this book! I haven’t tried Cynthia Hand yet, but I hear wonderful things and your review has me thinking that I will love her. I am curious to find out how things go for Ada! 🙂

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