Monday, June 1, 2015

Review, Excerpt & Giveaway:If You're Not the One by Jemma Forte

What if you could do it all over again?

Jennifer Wright is pretty sure her husband doesn’t love her anymore. She and Max used to be the perfect couple, but the pressures of work and kids have pulled them in opposite directions. Now, Jen is full of “what if” questions about whether her bland, suburban existence is all she was ever destined for.

When a terrible accident sends Jen into a coma, she is able to see what her life could have been if she had run off to Australia with the handsome, dangerous man she met on vacation, or if she had stayed with her workaholic college boyfriend. Would she ever have loved another child as much as she loves her daughters? Could she have become rich? More than anything, Jen wants to do the right thing for her family. But what she discovers may leave her with even more questions about the choices she’s made, and no easy answers about what to do next.

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Excerpt from If You’re Not the One: 
Stay with us, Jennifer. Come on, love, you can do this. Hang in there.”
Why was everyone yelling? She was so tired. All she wanted to do was sleep. She was so close to being able to slip away, yet wasn’t being allowed to. She felt very muddled and had a vague sense of being bullied.
“Patient’s suffering agonal respirations and has a CO2 of eleven. Probably in anaphylactic shock. Let’s commence CPR.”
“Jen, please hang in there. I’m so, so sorry. I love you.”
“Sorry, Mr. Wright. Can you stay out of the way? It’s very important.”
What is Max doing here? she wondered. For a second, she was tempted to open her eyes, but she wasn’t able to because a burning sensation swept through her so violently, she would have done anything to make it stop. It was pain on a level she never would have thought possible. Every cell in her body was on fire, doused in hot, white agony. Then, as quickly as it showed itself, it subsided, and once again she reverted to her numb state of nothingness.
Then someone was applying pressure to her that hurt in a different way. She didn’t want to be awake anymore. She craved peace and sensed a way she could achieve it. It would definitely remove the pain, and any further possibility of it.
But she wasn’t sure she wanted to go that way either. She reflected for a second, as though she were suspended in time and space, floating almost. She wasn’t ready for that, which meant there was only one option left. So, once more, she sank back into the gray fog, more cries of panic sounded around her.
As the paramedics went about their frenzied business of trying to save her life, the strangest things were happening in Jennifer’s bruised brain.
None of us can really comprehend what the human brain is capable of doing, in the same way that Jennifer had no clue as to the true capabilities of her laptop. All she tended to use her PC for was to write emails, do a bit of shopping, or social networking, meaning its dual core processor was never fully taken advantage of. She was always stunned when Max, who was far more tech-­savvy than her, did some simple task on her computer in a way that made her realize she was only ever utilizing around 10 percent of what it could do, if only she knew how to operate it properly.
It’s the same with the human brain, only on a far grander and more mysterious scale, its true power being so tricky to tap. Most of its work and activity happens at a deeply subconscious level, and yet even beyond that, there are areas of it that we never unearth, even when dreaming.
Psychics do better than most. Whether you believe in them or not, they at least have more awareness of the various possibilities that we could utilize if only we tried.
Right at that second, within Jennifer’s skull, a series of lightning-­fast connections were being made, ones that she never would have been privy to if her head hadn’t made contact with the ground
quite as brutally as it had. Something extraordinary was happening.
As her synapses furiously connected and fused, three tunnels of white light suddenly showed themselves to her. There was one to the left, one straight ahead, and one to the right. Is this what death looks like? Instinct told her it was something different, and suddenly she knew, without needing to be told, that rather than leading her to the afterlife, instead, these tunnels represented different lives she could so easily have led.
What she was being given here was a gift. The gift of being able to see what life would have been like had she chosen another route at three different points in her life. And so it was that Jennifer allowed herself to fall into a deep and very informative coma. As her own private miracle started, she began to glide toward the first tunnel, the one to the left, which was swirling with clouds of light at its entrance. This was the one marked Aidan.

What I thought about If You're Not the One
Jennifer is having a bit of a crisis.  The book starts with her running away from her husband Max, after some altercation.  The reader doesn't know the details of what happened between them, but it's bad enough to have her running out of house to her friend, only to get seriously injured along the way.

While Jennifer is in a coma, she falls down a rabbit hole of sorts, one that allows her to see what her life would have been like had she stayed with any one of the three boyfriends she had before she married Max.  There's Aiden the party boy, Tim the driven geek, and Steve. To be honest, I don't even remember much about Steve.

I loved the premise of this story -- it's a mashup of Peggy Sue Got Married and a Dickens A Christmas Carol but the execution was confusing and didn't draw me into the story as much as I would have liked.  There are too many flash back and flash forwards that kept me from getting invested in Jennifer's final decision. I mostly thought that Jennifer really needed some good counseling, especially after she wakes from her coma and has to face Max and what happened between them.

So overall, a good premise with a troublesome execution. No sure how I feel about the ending which is a bit surprising and unexpected.  I did like that all was not as it seemed with her four different men she could have ended up with, but I really didn't get invested in Jennifer's fate like I would have liked. 

ARC provided for review.


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About Jemma Forte:

Jemma Forte was a Disney Channel host in the UK for five years, and has gone on to host shows for ITV, BBC1, BBC2, and other channels in the UK. She lives in London with her family.

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