By: Rebecca Donovan
Published: September 16th 2014 by Forever
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Source: Personal Kindle Library
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Goodreads description--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.
I’ve been putting off What If because, even though I enjoyed the Breathing Series by Rebecca Donovan, I ended each book in that series feeling emotionally exhausted. I wasn’t sure that I was ready for emotionally exhausted again, but something told me to at least give What If a try. I figured I could always put it down and pick up something else if it didn’t hook me, but it did. And this is especially meaningful considering the slump I’ve been in over the last three months (or was in at the time of writing this review).
I just got done complaining about Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver jumping around chronologically when I picked up What If and wouldn’t you know that What If has flashbacks as well? And get this, on top of the chronology jumps What If also swaps narration during the flashbacks. This was yet another thing that I was complaining about with Vanishing Girls also. AND Vanishing Girls has a mystery surrounding an accident that happened to two sisters…well guess what…What If has a mystery around what happened to one character. At this point I thought, “Great. I just DNF’d one book just to turn around and pick up its twin.” But that’s not the case at all!
In each of the situations where I was frustrated with Vanishing Girls, What If didn’t have me frustrated at all. Rebecca Donovan kept the flashbacks fairly short each time so I knew I was going to get back to the main storyline that I was more interested and invested in fairly quickly. Plus in each flashback how the events related to what was happening within the current story events was fairly obvious. The narrations swaps didn’t bother me because I had no trouble connecting with any of the characters. Even when I could see the conflict coming between Richelle and Nicole having a crush on the same boy, I didn’t feel the friction or tension between them to the point of swaying me to dislike any single character. Then there’s the mystery. Something has obviously happened to or is going on with Nicole, but the book didn’t make me feel like this mystery was being used as a tool. It was. But I didn’t feel like it was. I did figure out the mystery fairly early on, but there was always a part of me that wondered if I was wrong.
Cal was great. He realizes that the girl he had a crush on years ago is all of a sudden in the same town as the college he attends. He’s wondered about her over the past several years when she inexplicably stopped being friends with him and his best friend Rae, but his curiosity increases even more so when he realizes that she didn’t come home during summer break and no one has heard from her since graduation. So he’s determined to figure out what’s going on. But the girl he’s slowly allowed to spend time with is so different from the girl he remembers. Is it possible that she’s not the same girl? And what happens when he begins to develop feelings for who she is now? What if finding out what happened to her changes her again?
-“I’m looking for the girl I’ll regret if I let her go.”
-“You can’t love a person you don’t really know,” she responds.
-…if I’m going to fight for her, she needs to fight for herself too, whoever she is.
What If was a pleasant surprise. Even though it shared a lot of traits as Vanishing Girls (which I didn’t enjoy), What If did them in a way that I was able to enjoy. Considering I’ve had trouble connecting lately, I thoroughly enjoyed getting hooked pretty quickly and wondering what in the world is going on with Nicole/Nyelle. What If gets 4 Stars. Have you read What If? What did you think? Let me know!