Last year I rang in the new year reading Oona Out of Order, a loose New Year’s–themed book that was one of my top reads of the year. I decided that from now on, I always want my first book of the year to be focused on New Year’s Eve. This brought me to This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens. A love story about two people who were born on the same day in the same hospital (in competition for being the first baby born that year)? Count. Me. In.
Quinn and Minnie are born on New Year’s Day, in the same hospital, one minute apart.
Their lives may begin together, but their worlds couldn’t be more different.
Thirty years later they find themselves together again in the same place, at the same time.
What if fate is trying to bring them together?
Maybe it’s time to take a chance on love…
I wish I had more to say other than “meh,” but that’s genuinely how I feel. There were some charming moments, and some of the side characters were super interesting to me, but overall I was underwhelmed. Maybe it’s just me, because I can’t seem to be connecting to anything I’m reading right now.
What didn’t work for me
Minnie: First off, I know it’s meant to be a thing, but the fact that the main character’s name is Minnie Cooper is something I just couldn’t get over. I would cringe anytime I saw it…no one in 1990 was naming their child Minnie. Despite that, I didn’t love that Minnie was a punching bag for the plot. Every bad thing happened to her, curse or no curse, and I just had a hard time believing that she’d be so put together and generally positive if her life was actually like that. She was a good person and friend, so I’m not saying I hated her or anything, but I just didn’t see how she could be all of these things wrapped into one person.
The moms: The book starts with these two women in the hospital on New Year’s Eve, one of them about to give birth to the first baby of the new year. I liked their banter and relationship over that one chapter, and I had a hard time with the fallout of the events from that day. As the plot moved on, I liked their relationship, but from the second chapter to more than halfway through, both were ridiculous and added unnecessary complexities to the story. It was just too much, I think.
What I liked
The friends: Minnie’s friends from her business were terrific! I wish the book was just about the five of them running their shop and delving deeper into each of them because it was so much fun. Even her best friend and her boyfriend probably had a cool dynamic/relationship that could have been explored in a book. It’s interesting, though, that the story is a dual POV between Minnie and Quinn, and yet, we know very little about anything in Quinn’s life outside of his job and his mom.
The ending: Is the whole ending cheesy? Definitely. But you know what? It was endearing. It made me think of some of my favourite movie rom-coms. And then there’s a blink-and-you-miss-it line at the very end that seals the deal—these two were even more connected than we already thought. That was super clever.
“I don’t think the scale of other people’s problems make your own any easier to live with.” —Sophie Cousens, This Time Next Year