How Do You Stop the Future From Happening?

While beginning to self-quarantine last week, I had to enjoy the rare March sunshine and warm weather by taking a walk.

Knowing In Five Years had just been released, I couldn’t help making a quick stop in the bookstore to see if they had any copies. Not wanting to interact with too many people or touch too many books, I asked if they had any left and found that they had just one! Well… that was a sign it was meant to be mine.

My online reading community had shared so many wonderful thoughts on this book and I was drawn to this line of the synopsis: “In Five Years is an unforgettable love story, but it is not the one you’re expecting.”

I took a few guesses as to what this could mean, and while one of my guesses turned out to be right, I have to say that this didn’t take away from the book or the story at all. If anything, it enhanced my reading experience.

Let’s start with a quick synopsis:

Dannie Kohan, corporate lawyer extraordinaire, has her life planned by numbers.

How long should a couple be dating before they get married? 2 years.

What’s the ideal age to get engaged? 28.

What’s the ideal age to get married? 30.

And she’s on track for all of it. On the same day Dannie aces an interview with her dream law firm, Dannie’s boyfriend David (of yes, 2 years) proposes and she accepts. (Do I even need to add that she’s 28?)

But that night, Dannie falls asleep and wakes up exactly 5 years in the future. She’s in a new apartment, in a part of New York City she never imagined herself living. There’s a strange man in her apartment, one she’s never seen before, who appears to live there!

Most shockingly, there’s a ring on her finger — and it’s not the one David proposed with that evening.

When Dannie falls asleep in the future and wakes up again, she’s back where she started. She can’t seem to shake what happened; it felt too real to be a lucid dream.

Time goes on and all goes according to plan, except for some reason, Dannie and David don’t get married. Life gets in the way, over and over again.

And then one day, four and a half years after we started, Dannie’s best friend from childhood Bella introduces Dannie to her new boyfriend… and it’s him, the man from the long ago “dream.”

Can Dannie stop the future from happening — or is what she saw destined to come true?

Spoiler-Free Review

This book lived up to all the hype I’d read online, and exceeded it! It’s rare for a book to do that for me after I’ve read so much about it.

There’s nothing better than a book that hits you in all the feels.

I finished this book while lying in bed next to my significant other, and at one point I said “Oh no” and burst into tears. (I said “Oh no” because I knew the tears were about to start flowing, not because of what was happening.)

The particular section I’m referring to was so beautiful and so meaningful, it was impossible for me to react any other way. It made me think about, and value even more, many of the relationships I have in my life.

There was so much relatable material from each character. I saw a lot of myself in ambitious Dannie, wanting a job and significant other that fit together like puzzle pieces. I saw a lot of myself in Bella, carefree and adventurous, falling in love quickly, deeply and oftentimes messily.

The descriptive details made this book even more believable and, for me, shockingly realistic. There’s a part where Dannie goes to her favorite store, Reformation, for a new outfit. That’s also my favorite store (I can just hardly afford anything).

And Dannie reminisces on vacations in Ocean City, New Jersey, scarfing down Mack and Manco pizza. That one was freaky, as that’s what I did every summer and that is also my favorite pizza!

On a similar note, I loved that the author, Rebecca Serle, poked fun at her own characters, mocking the tropes of an ambitious, overworked woman and a beautiful, free spirit friend. She knew what she was doing, and wasn’t afraid to admit it!

But that twist, oh that twist. Everyone reading this book will be affected and moved. It was welcome and unwelcome, beautiful and tragic, happy and sad, all at once.

So… is it possible to stop the future from happening? I can’t recommend picking up a copy and finding out for yourself.

I never wanted this book to end. I’d love to follow the story of Dannie and the supporting characters even further! Maybe Rebecca Serle will be back with more… hopefully in less than five years.

5 out of 5 stars.

Red Hot Reads | © 2023 by Scarlet Marie

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