Genres: Mystery, Romance
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.
Quietly beautiful, reserved and mysterious, What If is a story of second chances and secrets. It’s a tale of transformation and revelation. Rebecca Donovan delivers something truly excellent.
When I first read the synopsis for this story, I originally thought it would be an edgy, second-chance romance, something a bit different than what I’m used to, but still within my wheelhouse. This story was more. I was only a few chapters in when I got that feeling. You know that feeling? It’s indescribable. The one a book addict gets when they just know that a book is going to be good. The tingling down your spine, the fluttering in your stomach. The book butterflies.
What surprised be about this book was that it wasn’t just a love story. What If was a story of friendship and growing up. I can’t give too much of a backstory because the pasts of Cal and Nyelle were shrouded in secrets, which unfold slowly throughout the book. The story is told using multiple points of views, but the majority of it is viewed through Cal’s eyes, with crucial flashbacks that add to the mystery and intricacies of the plot.
I absolutely loved reading from Cal’s POV, since other than the occasional companion novel, I don’t get to experience romance through the hero’s POV much. Cal’s a sweetheart. A former gawky teenager with three girl best friends, Cal is now a swoon-worthy hunk, breaking hearts all over campus. He’s only loved one girl, a girl who turned her back on their friendship and then disappeared. Now Cal believes that the crazy, impulsive, mysterious girl who calls herself Nyelle is that same girl from his past. Is she? Well, I can’t tell you that!
What I can tell you is that the push and pull between Cal and Nyelle was what intrigued me. I felt Cal’s desperation. He was overjoyed one minute, then terrified the next. For about 70% of this book, I was as confused as Cal, trying to figure out what the hell was going on. The mystery of Nyelle’s background was an interesting twist in the story, but that wasn’t the only thing that pulled me in. I loved reading about this group of friends. Secrets and lies tore them apart, and it was thrilling, and heartbreaking to see the secrets untangle.
What If is like a delicate lace. It’s beautifully woven, intricately layered, transparent, yet still concealing. I really enjoyed this novel, in fact, I read it twice before I wrote this review, and it was even better the second time around. This is simply a quality novel; well-written, and touching. I highly recommend that you read it!
P.S. I think that readers who enjoyed The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay would enjoy What If. They’re both quietly emotional, and they both evoked similar feelings in me.
P.P.S. I need this story to become an audio production. This is one that I’d definitely listen to while rolling down I-95.