Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

The Do-Over by Lynn Painter

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Emilie Hornby’s Valentine’s Day could not have gone worse. She gets late to school after hitting a classmate’s car, spills coffee over her outfit, and she sees her boyfriend kissing another girl. To top it all off, her father bears unwelcome news, making it all too much. Overwhelmed, Emilie goes to bed, ready for the day to be over… only to wake up and find that it’s February 14th all over again. She relives the agonizing events day after day, and at first, no matter how much she tries, nothing changes. Her car still gets damaged, and her plans with her boyfriend don’t work out. But as she starts to embrace the resetting Valentine’s Days, Emilie finds herself making use of the opportunity and unexpectedly getting closer to Nick. Breaking free of everyone’s expectations, Emilie wonders if she even wants everything to return to normal when the loop is over.

Although stories about a repeating day are nothing new, I’ve had good experiences in the past with this cliché and was intrigued by the summary. I’m happy to say that the book didn’t disappoint. Something that I really enjoyed is how once Emilie finds herself relatively free of consequences, she gets into a lot of fun shenanigans, and I found myself having fun with her. It speaks to how well the author developed Emilie’s growth from quiet and obedient to something more. It was exhilarating in a way watching her push past what was expected of her and letting loose, especially since I can relate, being a relatively quiet and obedient person myself. Emilie’s love interest was also fun, and they had good chemistry together. However, since it was mostly Emilie’s story, we don’t really know a whole lot about the love interest for a majority of the book. Additionally, the romance did move a little too fast considering only Emilie remembers anything from the previous Valentine’s Days, but it was cute enough to make up for that. One thing I didn’t like is the presence of miscommunication to create drama. Miscommunication is a trope that has been overdone in stories, especially in romance, as a way to create conflict. Although I do understand that miscommunication is a common trope in romance, I wish the story didn’t resort to it but gave us something more nuanced, especially since it felt a little abrupt and unfair for the characters. I do appreciate that it made sense within later context, but it felt like a copout from developing a better conflict to have. This story also ended up giving a hint as to why the never-ending loop happens in the first place; I personally wasn’t a fan of it, but it was touching. Although a few things slightly annoyed me, this book was overall very fun and cute, with lots of heartwarming fluff that I appreciated. It’s between 4 and 5 stars, but I’ve rounded down to 4 stars.

What was memorable about this book is the genuine fun that I felt while reading it. I think one of my favorite moments in this book is that at one point, Emilie receives a promposal (albeit pretend) that’s Cupid Shuffle themed, and it’s in public. In the context of that moment, the contrast of what the crowd thinks versus what’s actually happening is hilarious, both for the characters and for me. It’s one of those moments that amazed me with how fun it was.

Reviewed by Christine J., Twin Hickory Area Library

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