The Do-Over (2023)

by Suzanne Park
ASIN/ISBN: 9780063216051
Publication: April 4, 2023

**I received a copy of the book through NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**

You know those nightmares where you’re running late for class or you’re back in class and it’s the day of an exam? Then you wake up and realize, you’re no longer in school and it was all a dream? For Lily Lee, there is no waking up because it’s not a dream. She finds out she never graduated and has to go back to college to get those pesky units she was missing. It only gets worse when the TA ends up being her ex-boyfriend Jake.

The premise of the book lends itself to multiple opportunities for Lily to be put into sticky situations; however, this is not the direction Park takes and I appreciated it. There are some awkward and smile-inducing moments as Lily tries to keep going back to school a secret, but the book is focused on second chances. Lily is already successful, so I was curious as to how going back to school might affect her outlook on life. I liked the message the book relays, that it’s never too late.

The book is more women’s fiction and less romcom. There are some funny parts and the romance takes more of a backseat. Being pulled in different directions leads to a lack of depth in Lily’s story. For instance, as Lily tries to balance her career with classes, sometimes whatever she is doing is quickly summed up so she can move to the next thing. Doing so limited learning more about Lily’s experiences. With regard to the romance, Lily tries to figure out if she wants Jake back in her life. The romance jumps back and forth between the past and the present. It helps to explain why Lily is weary of Jake as well as builds momentum toward why they eventually did not work out, but the reveal is somewhat underwhelming.

To be clear, I did like the book. I just did not love it. While I enjoyed the book for its overall message, I was a little disappointed. Despite loving romance, I would have been okay if some of Lily’s interactions with Jake were eliminated to include more about her college experience and how it alters her outlook on life.

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