Planner by Social Cut on Unsplash: In Five Years by Rebecca Serle (The Modest Reader)

Book Review: In Five Years

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted any reviews. I haven’t had much time to read since my son was born, so you know it had to take a really good book to tear me away from my newborn—or from getting some extra sleep, since I only seem to get two-hour stretches of it these days.

I had been hearing nothing but good things about In Five Years by Rebecca Serle (who I realized after the fact is the author of the highly well-reviewed The Dinner List, which is loaded onto my Kindle to tackle sometime soon), and since it’s coming out this week (March 10!), I figured I would give it a shot and see if it kept my attention. I can’t say that I read it in one sitting, but as soon as I hit about halfway through, I couldn’t stop. I stayed up way past my new-and-very-random bedtime to finish.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

My musings
From the get-go, I was really interested in the premise of this book. Serle basically gave away a snippet of what Dannie’s life looked like five years in the future right away, so we knew her story was going to have to veer away from her plan, and I was all about trying to figure out how it happened. That’s why I was so surprised that the book moved us four-and-a-half years in the future so quickly, because things were going to have to fall apart quite quickly and I wasn’t sure it was going to be believable. Boy, was I ever wrong.

I don’t want to spoil the main plot points too much, but I will say that if you are expecting a cute little rom-com where the main character realized the man she’s with isn’t the one for her (despite him being “perfect”) and finding her true love along the way… this isn’t that story. This ends up being much more about friendship and love in its many iterations, and it’s such a refreshing change… especially because I didn’t see it coming.

Dannie is a little bit annoying. She works more than is healthy (I’m sure some corporate lawyers work that much, but probably not many for as long as she does), and she’s kind of a crappy girlfriend/fiancée, but I ultimately didn’t really care. I appreciate that she never cheats on David, like the snippet into her future suggests, and that she’s a good person in the grand scheme of things. I also really enjoyed Serle’s description of New York. I’ve been there many times and could never imagine myself living there, but the way it’s portrayed in this book makes me think that I should pack my bags and move there ASAP. I kind of love it.

In the end, I took a star off because I wish it didn’t end as abruptly. The book wasn’t super long, so it could have a couple of extra chapters to sort of round out the story (although I guess I sort of see the point). That being said, I added an extra half star in the end because the plot twist (or at least the arc of the story) really surprised me, and that rarely happens anymore. I highly recommend this one, and I know it will do gangbusters when it comes out.


In Five Years by Rebecca Serle (Book Cover): The Modest Reader

“You mistake love. You think it has to have a future in order to matter, but it doesn’t. It’s the only thing that does not need to become at all. It matters only insofar as it exists. Here. Now. Love doesn’t require a future.” —Rebecca SerleIn Five Years

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for the advanced copy, and to Social Cut on Unsplash for the featured photo of the planner.

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