The Year of Second Chances

Morrow. Aug. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9780063273757. $30. F
YA author Avery’s (The Memory Book) debut adult novel combines humor and romance with a serious premise. Robin Lindstrom is facing the first anniversary of her husband Gabe’s death. They’d been the perfect couple, but now she discovers that Gabe, with the help of his best friend Levi, had arranged a profile on a dating site for her, to go live one year after he died. She has to try it out, as her husband’s last wish. There’s a predictable series of strange encounters, but Robin also meets people who shape her story, even if not romantically. And then she meets Jake, who seems like the perfect fit. But Levi is still nearby at all times, even while Robin deals with her mother’s alcohol addiction and their struggling family restaurant. Avery’s novel of loss and redemption sometimes gets bogged down in an abundance of subplots. The main character is complex and well-drawn, but some supporting characters are thinner.
VERDICT The level of chaos in Robin’s life overwhelms the issue of widowhood at times in the novel, but there is a strong setting and many elements to engage readers. Recommended for fans of Emiko Jean or Marisa de los Santos.
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