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Reviewed by Jennifer Jensenimages (2)

On the last night of 2011, 25-year-old Olive Watson looks forward to waking up and beginning a new year in the morning. Instead, Olive finds herself at the beginning of 2011, a bleak year for her that holds a breakup with her boyfriend Phil, her mother’s remarriage, a distancing from her best friend Kerrigan, and medical losses at the hospital where she works–unless she can change everything.

Olive is forced to painfully consider each decision she made in the year 2011, this time armed with foreknowledge. Convinced she is reliving 2011 to save her relationship with Phil, Olive works to strengthen their love and avoids the situation that cost her Phil the first time around. When she discovers that she is not the only person who has lived a repeat year, Olive is glad to have someone in whom to confide, even if it is her mother’s friend, Sherry Witan. But Sherry has lived certain years over more than once. Will Olive learn every lesson she needs to in order to greet 2012?

Though I try really hard in my personal life to not ask myself “What if?”, I have always been drawn to this type of story, where someone gets to live a certain period in his or her life over again. If I had the chance to erase the past and make a new one for myself, what would I change? Or would I even want to change anything? And would what I change erase all the good things about my present? It’s a difficult question to ask oneself, and I enjoyed going on Olive’s journey in The Repeat Year rather than experiencing this for myself.

Right from the first few chapters of Andrea Lochen’s The Repeat Year, I was rooting for Olive and Phil. But this book is about so much more than just a romantic relationship. Olive also has to come to terms about her mother moving on with another man two years after her father’s death. I’m not sure that I would have done anything differently than Olive. All of the decisions she made were carefully determined, and she was lucky to have Sherry’s help along the way. Likewise, Sherry needed Olive as well, even though Olive had never repeated a year before.

The Repeat Year is a magical, fairy tale-like debut, and I will certainly be on the look out for Andrea Lochen’s future releases. This book is for anyone who believes in second chances, fate, and the power of true love.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Book Sparks PR. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.