Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book Review: Next Year I'll Be Perfect

By Melissa Amster

We all have that list of things we'd like to accomplish by a certain age, whether it's for our relationship, career, appearance, or other goals. I don't know how many of us write down these things or how many of us even stick to that list. As Sarah Bennett is about to find out, it's not always so easy to meet the goals we set for ourselves.

When she turned 25, Sarah Bennett created a list (while she was drunk, no less) of goals she wanted to accomplish by the time she turned 30. Her best friend, Livvie, presents her with this list on her 29th birthday and suddenly Sarah realizes how far she is from her goals. She sets out over the course of a year to get into a serious relationship, become partner at her law firm and lose those six stubborn waist sizes needed to fit into a purple suede skirt. However, things keep getting in the way of accomplishing her goals and she has to reassess to see if they still matter as much as they did when the list was created.

Laura Kilmartin knows how to write a fun story, and Next Year I'll Be Perfect is living proof. It was very entertaining and I couldn't wait to see if things would come together for Sarah. Her anxieties are so common amongst women in their 20s and 30s, that I think a lot of readers could relate to her. Sarah is an entertaining character with lots of different layers to her personality. I enjoyed getting to know her through the course of a book, which took place over a period of one year. There were a lot of sweet, cute and funny moments, as well as little surprises that kept me guessing as to what would happen as a result. Sarah's best friend, Livvie, kept the story on an upbeat level, as well.

I did have a few concerns though. The first is that it had a small town feel throughout. There was a set group of characters and they seemed to be a bit too connected at times. Like what are the odds that Sarah's worst enemy happens to work with her best friend. Or that everyone happens to work at a law firm. Even her "brothers" seem to appear at a moment's notice, even though they normally live far away. It also seemed to jump around in time. There would be parts of a month where no action was happening and nothing was propelling the story forward. Then suddenly something big would happen and it felt like the last day of that month because a new month started right after that big moment. (Ex. She'd have a really good date with a guy in one month and then the next day it would be a new month.)

Overall, it was a light, short and entertaining read. It helped me balance out the heavy story I was reading for my book club and I would have a hard time putting it down. I liked the overall message presented throughout the story, but there was also a certain passivity to it, like Sarah changing her list every time things didn't go her way, instead of just sticking with the original plan. I understand that she was being realistic, but where was the challenge in that? Even so, I was still cheering her on every step of the way.

Next Year I'll Be Perfect is currently $2.99 for Kindle.

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