REVIEW: What If by Rebecca Donovan

Thursday, October 09, 2014

My rating: 

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.

What if this book was fast paced.
What if this book was a not in Cal's POV.
What if this book wasn't too long

I would have liked this book.

This book was hard one for me to review. It's not that I hated it. No. Not at all. I didn't hate this book, but I didn't quite like it either. The BIG SECRET was a big let down for me. It didn't satisfy me at all. Smiley I would have thought it was something REALLY BIG. and would really WOW me. The secret was built up so much, that when it was revealed... I was like... not too interested anymore.

Also, I kind of felt the secret was very obvious. There were clues... And if you look closely enough... you'll get it... soo... yeah... that was a big let down.

I'm not gonna spoil anything on this review because the author made a note at the end of the book to not put any spoilers on the reviews. So, I won't.

To start, here's the gist.

Cal grew up with three girls Rae, Richelle, and Nicole. They were the best of friends. But some things, just don't always stay the same.

The four of us grew up together in the same small-town California neighborhood. Rae lives next door, although she's pretty much an extension to my family at this point. Nicole and Richelle were neighbors a few houses down the street. When we were kids, we were inseperable. But things change when we got older.

Time changes people. When Richelle moved away without saying a word, Nicole started to drift away from Cal and Rae. The takls became less and less, until they don't even talk to her anymore.

Richelle moved away. We stayed in touch for a while. And then we didn't. Nicole chose popularity over our friendship soon after. Rae never gotten over Nicole's betrayal. And I never gotten over Nicole.

What a dickhead seriously! See that statement right there? That's one of the reasons I didn't like Cal and will never like Cal. It's so annoying why I can't even say why...Smiley

Graduation came and gone. It was time for college.

Cal was at a party. His girlfriend just dumped him to hook up with another guy. His night was not going too well. He then decided to leave, but then he met someone on his way out. Someone he didn't think he'll meet again, especially not on the school he was currently in. She was supposed to be at Harvart. They met at the party. And then, they met again the next morning at a coffee shop.

Then i just stand there and stare at her. She doesn't notice me, and that's probably a good thing because I look like a creep hovering above her. I have no idea what to say because I am standing in front of Nicole Bentley. But this girl looks... different.

But this wasn't Nicole. This wasn't the girl he grew up with overprotective parents who makes her wear dresses and was not allowed to get dirty. The girl standing in front of Cal was outgoing and carefree. And most of all, her name wasn't Nicole, but Nyelle Preston.

So the mystery is... WHO THE FUCK WAS NYELLE PRESTON? Smiley

I had lots of theories you know. A lot. I got it right eventually.

So there are a lot of things I couldn't reveal about the plot so... I'll just tell you about the things I could reveal.

Writing: I'm not a writer. Let's just make that clear. I don't claim to know much about how writers write their books and what type of devices they use on their writings. But I am a reader. As readers, I think we would know if the writing style of the author would suit our taste or not. I would be in the minority for this book again.

I read a lot of rave reviews for this book. But for me? I was just... okay. And most of the time, I just find it really boring and dull. It dragged on a lot of scenes. It wasn't really engaging for me. I had to force myself to finish this one, I was almost at the point where I was ready to put this on my DNF shelf... but I had to not do that because I'd had a lot of those recently.

I didn't really like reading Cal's POV. The only reason I continued on with reading this was to find out what the BIG SECRET was. I think I liked it better reading Nicole and Richelle's POV from the past. I honestly feel that Cal was not a very effective character and narrator. Meeeehhh..

Plot: UUuggghh. Where do I even start? It would have been good, but for me, I think the story was told in the wrong POV. I understand that the author wanted to add that mystery element to the story, and I admire that, but... It didn't work for me. I felt the story unnecessarily got dragged too long because of that. And because I really think Cal's stupid and naive. It probably would have been nice to have the story told on both Nicole and Nyelle's POV. There would still be mystery. There would still be questions. But the narrator would be more realiable... Hope that makes sense. Because honestly, I'm not sure I'm explaining this quite as much as I want to.

Majority of this book was Cal trying to figure out if Nyelle and Nicole are the same person. He was trying to comprehend whether they were separate people or not. Because they were alike physically, but not their actions, not the way they talk or the way they dress... Cal could have figured it our early on, if he only know how to fucking use his head. He should have asked.

I think this book went on, and on, and on. Seriously, a chunk of this book for me was a waste of paper. The longer it went, the more annoyed I become. The only thing that was keeping me from stopping was the secret... disappointing as it was.

And... I was right.

Again, sometimes, the simpler the story, the better the readers could connect with the characters and thee story.

Okay let's talk about the characters.

The book didn't focus too much on the characters. This book was an event-driven that caused the characters to become bland and one dimensional. No scratch that... That only applies to Cal. Haha.

Cal: I didn't like him at all. I thought he was douche, to be honest. He was obsessing over Nicole when he should be focusing on finding out why his ex-gf/gf stopped writing back. This book was majorly on his POV, and I didn't enjoy it one it. He was too passive for my taste.

I didn't like how obsessive he sounded everytime he talks about Nicole. He just mentioned his ex-gf once. ONCE!!! I'm not gonna say who is ex was because that's a spoiler. Buf if have picked up on some clues I left, you probably would have figured it out. He cared about her sure (probably), but didn't show it too much. He only finds out later on the story on what happened to her, but it still wasn't enough emotions on his part. What a fucking asshole! People just don't move away without saying anything without any reason. Right? Right? He should have at least tried to figure out at least what went wrong and why his ex stopped chatting with him.

Every time I read about Cal thinking on whether this Nyelle girl was Nicole, I want to slap some sense to him. Why didn't he ask her upfront instead of frying his brains trying it figure it out?

He was just stupid. I hate him. Book boyfriend material? That would be a big no.

Rae: I liked Rae. Rae is Cal's best friend and she's awesomje. I think she's the only character I liked from this book.

I understand why she's angry, that's a normal reaction to someone who was supposed to be your friend, but just stopped talking to you and pretend you don't exist. Nicole was a dick. I didn't like that she was such a pushover. I kind of feel Rae knew, but she had to let it go. Which is what Cal should have done too.

Richelle: The story was told in both present and past. We hear Cal's POV on present events while we hear Richelle's and Nicole's on the past ones. Based on the one's I do hear from Richelle, she was okay. She was that outgoing kid that liked to be friends with everyone. How could you hate a kid like that? Really? She's such a sweetheart.

There was a time though that she asked Nicole to do something, just because spoilery section... and did it because they wanted to remain friends. That was so... unrealistic to ask someone as they were just kids... Tsk tsk. That was a bit WTF moment.

Nicole: I feel bad for her, but it wasn't enough for me to sympathize with her situation. Does that make sense? I feel that the situation she was in, was not enough for her to do the things she did. I really hate when I couldn't say anything. She was the typical i'm-rich-so-a-lot-is-expected-of-me problem. Her parents had a bizarre way of treating their kid. If every rich family's kids were treated like that, I wouldn't want to be rich.

Okay. I'm not a fan of her either. Like I said earlier, she was a dick.

Nyelle: She was weird. And I like weird, but I still didn't like her. She was quirky which is a thumbs up. But the author overdone her mysteriousness that it was too obvious what happened to her. I felt that her illussiveness gave away the secret. I'm not particularly sure really if I like her or not. I could relate to how she thinks sometimes, because we share the same opinions on some stuff.

But.. I didn't really like her that much still.

So, let's talk about the books predictability. I have already got a good idea on what happened, right before the second half of the book started. So... it was a little predictable. There were a lot of clues here and there which totally destroyed the whole mystery aspect for me.

The pacing was a slow burn for me. Thumbs down for this one.

For enjoyability, not really sure if I did. It was okay. I couldn't rate it higher than 2 stars though. For books that I have a problem with the plot, my rating actually gets raised because of the characters. They compesate for the obvious lack of plot development which wasn't the case here. There was a plot. But... I just didn't enjoy the plot. I have to give the author props for trying to keep the mysteriousness althroughout the book. It really kept me reading, although I was getting a bit upset when it dragged too long.

Last Words

This book wasn't for me. Smiley

Usually, books that deal with real life issues, move me to tears. I cry easily over sad books, movies, stories, even songs. But this book, didn't do anything for me. It didn't make me cry. It didn't touch me. I felt bad for some of the characters, but wasn't sad about it. I didn't sympathize with a lot of stuff that went on.

Anyways, that's all for this review. For those of you who want to know the secret and is not in any way interested in reading this... message me... we'll talk.


  1. There was so much hype around this book that it's kind of disappointing it disappointed you so much. I wasn't leaning towards it one way or the other but I hate when the big mystery part of a novel is such a huge let down. I probably won't be scrambling to read this one anytime soon. Great review!

    1. True. I didn't get what the type was about though. Have you read her other series though? Someone told me, it's better. :(

  2. I haven't read any of her other books but I have always been interested in doing so. I always hear that though, "Her/His others are so much better." Every single time I don't like a book. I might check one of hers out soon.


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