"If Only" Book Review

By Kendra Sue - July 26, 2019

I'm finally posting this! I finished this book awhile ago and I'm finally posting my review. 

So I usually don't read things by YouTube creators, I really have to enjoy watching the creator in order to read what they have to write, mostly because I just feel like a lot of books written by them are just carbon copies of each other to please publishers. 
The writing in this wasn't the best as it could have been more fleshed out and the author just simply needs more writing practice (I know she has future works coming out because I do watch her consistently) it was still a good story and I thought it was cute. 

Erin Beglan is now single after breaking up with her long time boyfriend Dan and broken off their engagement. He's still trying to win her back but Erin isn't falling for it. She wants to experience life single and work towards her dreams. She goes to visit her grandmother in Ireland and she presents her with a pendant for her 30th birthday that allows you to go back and experience a time of how things could have been different. You have to say "If Only" and it brings you back to a second chance of what could have happened had you made different choices. 

What I liked: I liked the relationships involved in the story for sure. Erin and her best friend had the funniest relationship I've seen in a novel in awhile. Reid is a gay character and also Erin's best friend and I'm glad Melanie included some LGBTQIA+ characters because she herself is bisexual. I'm bisexual and married to a woman so seeing representation in the books I'm reading is one of my favorite things. I knew Melanie would do this anyway based on her own sexual orientation but it was a nice surprise. 

Something else I liked is the building of relationships within the story. You go from seeing her and Rachel not getting along the greatest and her being jealous of her every move, to eventually being okay with her and actually being her friend. I liked how that changed throughout the story and Erin's attitude changed as she saw how different things could have been for her. 

Things I would change: Okay so this story is short, not super short but not anything like five or six hundred pages. It's roughly 250-300 pages and that's pretty short for me. It's an average novel size so I understand the plot needs to move kind of fast and resolve kind of quickly. However, I think it could have been a little longer to explain things a bit more heavily in order to make sense to the reader. There were several times I was confused that she was in another "If Only" scene and not her day to day life. I had to wait for her to say 'this isn't real' or 'this is a dream' or something along those lines to even grasp that she wasn't in her daily life. It was a little bit easier to understand when she came out of it, usually the chapter ended and would end the scene, but starting it wasn't always clear. 

There were some chapters it would start and she would be married to Dan, and she never once uttered the words "If only I was married to Dan" so it became unclear what was happening even though it was pretty obvious. But it just irked me that it wasn't clear and she wasn't using those words despite what her grandmother said about saying it out loud, you know? 

I gave this book a 4/5 stars on Goodreads but it reads more like 3 or 3.5 stars to be honest. There are a lot of things I think Melanie could have worked on that could have made this easily a 4 or 4.5 but I think it was too rushed. There were also times that it was just straight up boring, especially the beginning. It picks up when she meets her grandma, but even that happened after only about twenty or thirty pages. I've seen books spread things like that, the real driving point of the novel into the hundred pages just to get a good foundation of the beginning of the novel. But I do understand that she needed to move the book quickly. 

Overall, it was cute. I don't think I would spend my time reading it again, but I am interested to see what Melanie comes out with next. She has a book she got published that's about herself, but again, it's one of those YouTube creator books that spends all the book talking about her life, which I tend to not be interested in. I enjoy fiction, not talking about someones rise to fame on the internet. 

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