Saturday, June 1, 2013

Book Review: The Repeat Year by Andrea Lochen

Everyone makes mistakes and has regrets, but have you ever fantasized about getting a real "do-over"? Something worthy of The Twilight Zone? Would you seize the opportunity, or feel compelled to accept your fate?

Andrea Lochen's novel, The Repeat Year, is about the fantasy of second chances becoming a reality. When Olive wakes up on New Year's day, it takes her a moment to  comprehend that she has been hurled 365 days backward in time. She already lived through the year 2011, and it was a difficult, painful time in her life that at first she is not anxious to experience all over again. But once Olive is convinced she's not crazy, and the possibilities of a repeat year begin to formulate, she wonders if she can possibly turn 2011 into a wonderful, successful year, instead of a sad, lonely year filled with regret. Can she do it, or will she make the same mistakes all over again, despite her best intentions and her insider's knowledge?

While the basic premise of this plot line has been done before, The Repeat Year is definitely its own unique story.  Yes, it's true that some aspects are similar to a few films I can think of - a second chance at love, gaining understanding that was missed the first time around, and becoming right with the universe by changing something important. But this book is about more of an all-encompassing second chance - an entire year to live over and really learn to make better choices. With the help of a mentor who is going through a repeat year of her own, Olive seems to be going down the right track, but her future is uncertain until the very end.

If you're looking for a fun, easy going summer read, The Repeat Year would be a great choice.  It's a little mystical, it's a little romantic, and it's a little maddening to think about what you might do if you were in Olive's shoes.

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