Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Review: Facebook Jeanie

What if you could go back in time and change a decision you made? In Addison Westlake's novel Facebook Jeanie, heroine Clara gets the chance to do just that - something I'm sure all of us wish we could do. (Come on, you know you'd like a redo for at least one decision in your past!) I love the idea of second chances and this novel seemed like it'd provide a fun and magical chance for a do over. While I liked the novel, I feel like it could have been just a little bit better.

Here's the synopsis:
It’s Bridget Jones meets Groundhog Day…
Ever wonder if you made the right choice? What if you could go back and find out?
31-year-old Clara is in a steady relationship—with Facebook. Every night after her depressing bureaucratic job (so much for saving the world), after coming home to her empty apartment Clara settles down with a pint of ice cream for some good, old-fashioned Facebook stalking. It’s her college boyfriend, The One Who Got Away. He now has a perfect marriage, perfect house, perfect life—everything she could have had if she hadn’t been so, so stupid.
But, wait. Jeanie from Facebook shows up at Clara’s job. There’s a new app they’re beta-testing and Clara’s perfect for it. That night she clicks on it and… nothing happens. But the next morning when Clara wakes up at noon, hung over, listening to her roommate blow-drying her hair and singing “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”, she realizes she’s back in college. With the chance to do it all over again.
Back in the world of frat parties, BFFs, and long-suffering, overlooked lab partners, join Clara as she discovers what it really means to hit the reset button on life. What could possibly go wrong? And, this time, can she get it right?
I loved that Clara got to go back multiple times to try and fix things but I wonder if the story should have been written a little differently. I don't think that she needed to go back three times. There were too many repetitions that made the story drag. And yes, I know it's a Groundhog Day type story and that there were going to be similarities but I just needed more differences. Honestly, I found myself skimming some parts just because I wanted to get to a new situation. 

I also wonder if the title and cover were the best choice. Sure, Jeanie is the reason Clara goes back in time and she is a "Facebook genie" but the story isn't about her. It's about Clara going back in time for a redo (or three).

Fantasy books can sometimes sound totally crazy and unbelievable but I found that the time travel aspect in this novel made sense. Clearly you have to suspend your beliefs but I didn't find myself questioning how the app worked or why Jeanie kept showing up. In fact, I looked forward to each incarnation of Jeanie (which may contradict the above paragraph, haha).

I bet you're thinking that this review is sounding pretty negative, right? I had issues with it but, at its core, the story was a good one. Clara is so stuck in her ways and I liked seeing how each trip back made her realize more and more about her life and herself. I also liked that the ending wasn't really predictable. I had a feeling I'd know how the romance would end but there were so many possibilities for how it could happen. I had no idea what to expect. I really liked that she was able to impact others' lives for good (but I'm not telling you who!). The book was also funny and I found myself laughing out loud a couple of times. I particularly liked the bit about the cat turban! 

Facebook Jeanie was cute and funny but it didn't quite live up to my expectations. With some additional trimming and editing, I think it could be better. It was a really nice "do over" novel, though. Even though I didn't love it, I'm still interested in reading author Addison Westlake's Christmas novel!

Happy reading :)

1 comment:

  1. This synopsis kind of reminds me of The Future of Us but in reverse! They see their future Facebook pages and make changes to their current life to see how it affects the future!


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