PLOT: 3.5/5 CHARACTERS: 3.5/5 WRITING: 3/5 ENTERTAINMENT: 3.5/5
“You get what I mean. On a normal day when you’re feeling less than positive, force yourself to change your thinking. Instead of ‘It sucks that I have to go to school,’ think ‘It’s such a nice day that maybe after school I will recline the seat of my truck and read a good book while the breeze still smells like springtime.”– Lynn Painter, The Do-Over
As a reader, it’s only natural that when you read and love a book by an author, you will be inclined to try out his/her other books. And having thoroughly enjoyed Lynn Painter’s YA romance Better Than the Movies, it was pretty obvious that her other books too would be on my radar.
The Do-Over is a contemporary YA romance that has many things to offer – romance, teenage drama, witty banter, a valentine-gone-wrong, and a treacherous time loop that our protagonist Emilie Hornby cannot get out of.
Read on to know more about the book and about my thoughts on the reading the same.
Summary of The Do-Over (no spoilers here!)
Emilie Hornby is your regular teenager with regular problems. She has dreams, aspirations, ambition, and an inexplicable desire to tick all the right boxes. As is expected of any teenager her age, this box also includes the picture-perfect boyfriend – Josh. While there are many things that she needs to work on, she sometimes proves too good to be true. Like she doesn’t really belong to this cruel, selfish world and would rather do much better in an all-goody simulated realm.
When things go horribly wrong on a particular Valentine’s Day – what with her catching her boyfriend cheating on her, being delivered heart-shattering news on the home front, and being told that she actually did not make it to the scholarship that she had been looking forward to – things could hardly go any more downhill. So, when the day is finally over, she is glad that it is.
Except, it isn’t.
She wakes up the next morning only to realize that she is again reliving the same day, the same terribly upsetting day. And this nightmare continues day after day, as she seems to be stuck in what can only be termed a time loop.
The only silver lining in all of this – is Nick, a quiet and handsome guy whom she cannot help but escape.
So, how many days or months would be spent in this time loop?
Does the universe want her to change something?
Or is she really missing the bigger picture here?
The book flows rather smoothly. It’s fast-paced, decently entertaining, and has a bit of everything that you look forward to in a high school YA romance cum drama – witty banter, some great friendships, a little bit of teenage angst, a few mean girls, a nasty masochistic boy, and somewhere between all of these – a cute love story waiting to be unfurled.
Don’t get me wrong, the book is really good. But perhaps, it is my fault that I had it benchmarked against the very best – Better Than the Movies. That book was really something, and this too is good, but it pales in comparison to the author’s finest.
The characters are neither the best that I have read so far nor are they the forgettable sorts. I felt Nick as a character had much more potential to be developed into something that we can remember for years. He is charming, broodingly serious, handsome, and has an earthiness about him that is hard to put into words. He is the guy you can fall in love with and depend on for life.
On the other hand, Emily seems to be so genuine and adorable. She is smart and kicks ass whenever she has to but when it comes to Josh, she could really act stupid, and that was kind of hard to digest. I mean why would a girl so talented and intellectual fall for the crap that Josh pulls off every time.
Coming to the witty banter as well as the emotional exchanges between the couple, it was good to read. But when it comes to romance, in particular, I found it lacking in passion. The time loop thing is nicely done though, and I enjoyed reading about Emilie’s family and her equation with her dad and grandmother.
In the end, The Do-Over is the kind of book you can easily and effortlessly watch a movie about. This is the kind of book you want to read on a lazy afternoon (can be aptly summed up as a popcorn read). This is a kind of one-time effortless read that gets you out of a reading slump.
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