Release Date: June 1, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Women’s Literature
What if you could do it all over again?
Jennifer Wright is pretty sure her husband doesn’t love her anymore. She and Max used to be the perfect couple, but the pressures of work and kids have pulled them in opposite directions. Now , Jen is full of “what if” questions about whether her bland, suburban existence is all she was ever destined for.
When a terrible accident sends Jen into a coma, she is able to see what her life could have been if she had run off to Australia with the handsome, dangerous man she met on vacation, or if she had stayed with her workaholic college boyfriend. Would she ever have loved another child as much as she loves her daughters? Could she have become rich? More than anything, Jen wants to do the right thing for her family. But what she discovers may leave her with even more questions about the choices she made, and no easy answers about what to do next.
Have you ever wondered what it would’ve been like if you pursued a different path? Or perhaps married an ex instead of the one you’re with? This is basically what IF YOU’RE NOT THE ONE by Jemma Forte explored in this novel.
The heroine, Jennifer Wright, is unhappy with her marriage. Her husband, Max, hasn’t been paying much attention to her, they haven’t had sex in five months, and its that craving for intimacy that had Jennifer desperate and completely unsatisfied. Then one night, just when she thought she’ll finally end her dry spell, she caught her husband flirting with a coworker over the phone. The same woman Jen’s entertained at her house a couple of times. Distraught, Jen ran out of the house and got hit by a car then went on a coma for three weeks during which time she had The Family Man moment. Jen went through “tunnels” and “lived” three different versions of HEA with her exes, one was surfer dude Aiden, then there’s billionaire Tim (a la Mark Zuckerburg), and then Steven, the plumber turned home TV shopping superstar.
I have to admit, I’ve been in Jennifer’s shoes so it was quite easy for me to step in and see things from her prerogative. IF YOU’RE NOT THE ONE was told in flash-forward style with the alternative HEA’s interspersed in between. I was enjoying Jen’s voice and how unfiltered she was describing her life and it’s quite obvious she lived before settling down with Max.
I don’t know where it started feeling monotonous for me though. I just started noticing how Jen is always irritated, whether it’s with her friend borrowing her dress, or how her current beau is behaving, it’s like she’s constantly PMS-ing. And this dissatisfaction extended to the alternative HEA’s, except for one but even that felt more like “settling” than authentically joyous. I’m usually left with feel-good vibes after reading women’s fiction, but IF YOU’RE THE ONE left me feeling sad and even irritated. Jennifer rubbed off on me!
Now I hope this gets a companion novel or something because the novel feels incomplete. After a miraculous recovery from her accident, Jen’s marriage is still in shambles and it didn’t remedy the situation with Max. It did the opposite and it looks like Jen is about to make one of her alternative HEA come true. Now women’s lit is notorious for leaving its readers on a lurch, like the writers usually leaves it to us to make up our own ending. This time around I wish we had more closure because towards the end, IF YOU’RE THE ONE took a slight turn towards magic realism territory and I’d like to know where that road ends.