Monday, 22 June 2015

Review: What If by Rebecca Donovan

What If
Behind 384 Pages
Released: 12 February 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Penguin Australia
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At the Other End:
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.

Rebecca Donovan is a USA Today bestselling author and has been a writer for most of her life, but has just recently been deemed an author. Her debut novels, Reason to Breathe and the follow-up Barely Breathing, have resonated with readers around the world. Rebecca is currently working on the third and final installment of the Breathing series, Out of Breath. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia and currently lives in a small town in Massachusetts. 

Find Rebecca:

Website  |  Goodreads  |  Twitter  |  Instagram
A heartbreaking and heart warming novel about four best friends, finding out the truth, and being who you were meant to be.

I'm not sure exactly what I didn't enjoy about this book. I really did like it, but there are so many spoilers in this book that I'm finding it hard to actually write this review without spoiling anything. I'm pretty sure what I didn't like is a spoiler, so I'm not going to say anything. Actually, there will be spoilers at the bottom of this review. Read if you dare.

This book reminded me a little of Vanishing Girls. I'm still trying to figure out exactly why it did, but I think it just might be the mystery that is Nicole and Nyelle, the relationship with Cal and Rae and Richelle, and how it all changed and became complicated. Throughout the book, it's set up in a similar way as well. One half shows the present day with Cal and Rae trying to figure out if Nyelle is Nicole, and the other half is told from either Richelle or Nicole about growing up next door with Cal and Rae a few doors down; the four best friends.

I'm actually really happy that the book is told from Cal's point of view. It's different and I liked seeing his side of it all after seeing Richelle and Nicole in their past retelling. Rae was basically an open book, so it felt ok for her not to have her own POV, plus she was in the main story just as much, so there was no loss in it. I actually found it a bit funny how he got so caught up on a girl the entire book that he basically couldn't study, concentrate in class or even really do well in his tests. It was the reality that here is this guy caught up on a girl, and it's not just girls that do it. I knew that guys were like that already, but it's always funny when you see if happening.

I'm a little disappointed, I wasn't as shocked as I was in some parts, but then the ending killed me. I saw the ending truth coming just before it was revealed and it crushed me. It filled in all the gaps that there was in the story, and just made everything seem more clearer. I probably would have cried if I wasn't in public. Hey. I didn't know it would end like that.

Spoilers. Highlight if you dare...
I didn't like how there wasn't a big reveal that Nyelle is actually Nicole. Sure, it's a bit obvious sometimes, but I still felt like it could have been revealed better instead of, oh, we knew it the whole time so let's not question or say anything and just move on with the story. seriously, they were having a conversation, she saw something and they talked about remembering the memory for a second, then went back to normal?!? This whole book was about finding out who Nyelle is and where Nicole is. This should have been a big deal! Oh. and it really felt weird that as soon as they got together and decided to have sex, that after it happens the first time, every single chapter afterwards it happens more than once. These two are the definition of wild rabbits, and it just felt wrong being there (not the fact that there was sex in the book, but because of just doing it all the time to forget about what happened to Nicole) oh. and I didn't like the fact that she basically saved herself for Cal because it was on the list. Did she just have sex with him because it was on the list, or because she actually liked him and wanted him to be her first.

I really was crushed when we find out at the end that Richelle had cancer. It was heartbreaking because I felt like I got to know her so well after reading everything from her POV. Although, I do think that it was wrong not to tell Cal and Rae about her moving or about having cancer. They were her best friends too and they would have supported her. Oh, and I honestly thought that it would have been Nicole's parents fault for her breaking away from Cal and Rae, I didn't think it was because of a promise to Richelle to not tell them. I guess it would have been easier, but it was still wrong and upsetting. She lost her best friends because one friend didn't want to trust her other best friends. They would have treated her the same, especially after Nyelle said that whole she was going through cancer, Richelle was living.

This novel was received for review via Penguin Teen Australia. This review is entirely my own, no bribery or any deals have been made to sway this review or change my personal opinion of the novel.


  1. Sometimes the most enjoyable part of a book isn't the way you connect with the characters, the writing or the plot, but the suspense, so when you guess before hand or don't feel like it was hidden well enough to actually be suspenseful, when you have difficulties with the suspense in general, well that is difficult and can be really frustrating and might come close to ruining the book- or at least making it less enjoyable than it otherwise might have been. Sorry this wasn't as great in some moments as it was in others, Gina, but awesome review. xx

    1. Thanks, Romi! Unfortunately some parts did let it down, but overall it was a great novel. xx


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