Sunday, September 14, 2014

Review: WHAT IF by Rebecca Donovan

A new novel by the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Breathing Series . . .

What if you had a second chance to meet someone for the first time?

Cal Logan is shocked to see Nicole Bentley sitting across from him at a coffee shop thousands of miles from their hometown. After all, no one has seen or heard from her since they graduated over a year ago.

Except this girl isn't Nicole.

She looks exactly like Cal's shy childhood crush, but her name is Nyelle Preston and she has no idea who he is. This girl is impulsive and daring, her passion for life infectious. The complete opposite of Nicole. Cal finds himself utterly fascinated-and falling hard. But Nyelle is also extremely secretive. And the closer he comes to finding out what she's hiding, the less he wants to know.

When the secrets from the past and present collide, one thing becomes clear: Nothing is what it seems.
What if....
I hadn't noticed you that day and taken the time to find out who you were? Then, I would have never found out we had a mutual friend in common that gave me an excuse to talk to you  which led to us dating and eventually to our HEA. 

We all have those "what if" moments in life. Those points in time where we look back on life and wonder what if I would have done this or that differently. The decisions that altered your course in life to a completely new path than the one you were originally on. 

And that is exactly what this book is about! 

We get to see how Cal's decisions and those of his closest friends altered their lives in ways they never expected. And let me say this, WHAT IF is a VERY difficult book to review. If I say too much, I might give away the story. If I say too little, it won't be much of a review. So, I am not really sure where I am going to go with this other than maybe to just reflect on how the book made me feel.

First, I loved that we got Cal's POV throughout the book. It is always a refreshing change to get the male perspective, especially when it is done well (which it definitely is here!). His "what if" moment in life haunts him, especially after meeting Nyelle. It is striking how much she looks so much like his childhood friend Nicole, yet different at the same time. And he finds himself drawn to Nyelle the more time he spends with her. 

We are also given Nicole and Richelle's POV from their childhood. At first, it was a bit confusing as to why we are getting these past scenes since they don't seem to really tie in with the current storyline. But as the story moves along, things begin to click and make more sense. It definitely helped to explain the dynamic of his childhood friendships and  the impact they had on him. 

I personally was conflicted while reading What If. While I understood the message the author was trying to deliver through the storyline, at times I found it frustrating. I understood the "why" of it all but I have to say, I wanted to pull my hair out quite a few times where Cal was concerned! But by the end, I had gotten so lost in the story that those frustrations I felt were all but forgotten. Nyelle and Cal's journey was full of laughs, anger, sadness, butterflies and most of all hope. 

This is definitely something very different than what we are used to from Rebecca Donovan. One thing that is the same though is the amazing writing and the uniqueness of the storyline. It is always refreshing to read a book that stands out in the overwhelming crowd of NA books being released daily.
Amazon: Coming on release day (09/16/14)

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