book review: If, Then by Kate Hope Day

40641074

 

IF, THEN by Kate Hope Day
★★★☆☆
Random House, March 12, 2019

 

If, Then is a quiet, speculative novel about four neighbors living in suburban Oregon. Ginny and Mark are an unhappily married couple, Samara is a young woman coping with the recent death of her mother, and Cass is a young mom who’s had to sacrifice her academic ambitions for motherhood. Gradually the novel introduces the possibility of parallel realities which have begun to overlap, as each character starts to see visions of an alternate version of themselves. Throughout the course of the short novel we study each of these characters and unearth the decisions each of them made which prevented their other self’s reality from coming to fruition.

While I enjoyed this from start to finish and found the ending in particular to be utterly brilliant, I ultimately think I was hoping for more from this novel’s speculative angle. Suburban life is chronicled convincingly, and each character is constructed carefully, but I don’t think this digs deep enough to be the kind of character-driven novel it’s trying to be. This could have been offset by the concept of parallel realities playing a larger role, but instead, that element is more of a vehicle used by the author to explore the novel’s central concept: if I had done this instead of that, then what would have happened as a result? Still, it’s a quick and thought-provoking read, and though it’s underdeveloped in places I think some of the ideas it raises are interesting enough to make up for that. 3.5 stars.

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for the advanced copy provided in exchange for an honest review.

You can pick up a copy of If, Then here on Book Depository.

8 thoughts on “book review: If, Then by Kate Hope Day

  1. (Disclaimer: I happened to have my email open right as you posted this, I’m not refreshing your blog waiting for you to repost this review)
    I’m sorry you didn’t love this as much as me, but I def agree with your criticisms. I’ve read other reviews that have brought up good points as well. This just had such a strong emotional impact on me that I’m currently obsessed with it lmao.

    Liked by 1 person

    • asjkldsfjklds I was ABOUT TO MESSAGE YOU ABOUT THIS wow you beat me to it.

      I defo enjoyed reading it despite my criticisms so I’m really glad you recommended it!! I never would have picked it up ordinarily but I found it to be a super refreshing read. It didn’t have quite the same emotional impact on me, sadly, but I totally understand your love for it! I think if we had just focused on Ginny and developed that singular storyline more, this could have easily been 5 stars for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I remember this one, I took a while to consider whether I should request it or not and in the end decided not to. But your review is making me wonder if I should have. Just to see what I thought about it.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s