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Publisher Description

A new novel by the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Breathing Series . . .

What if you had a second chance to meet someone for the first time?
Cal Logan is shocked to see Nicole Bentley sitting across from him at a coffee shop thousands of miles from their hometown. After all, no one has seen or heard from her since they graduated over a year ago.

Except this girl isn't Nicole.

She looks exactly like Cal's shy childhood crush, but her name is Nyelle Preston and she has no idea who he is. This girl is impulsive and daring, her passion for life infectious. The complete opposite of Nicole. Cal finds himself utterly fascinated-and falling hard. But Nyelle is also extremely secretive. And the closer he comes to finding out what she's hiding, the less he wants to know.

When the secrets from the past and present collide, one thing becomes clear: Nothing is what it seems.

NEW BONUS epilogue, author interview, book club guide and more.

September 16
Grand Central Publishing
Hachette Digital, Inc.

Customer Reviews

cob1331 ,

Highly entertaining mystery/romance!

Received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

WHAT IF is a highly entertaining mystery/romance. It's a bit predictable at times--I figured out the big mystery pretty early on. But it didn't ruin the read for me. It was kind of fun to see Rebecca Donovan laying breadcrumbs for the reader to follow. The characters were relatable and the mystery was engaging to the end. The perfect quick & easy beach read! Check it out.

Jay173874 ,


Obsessed with all of her books.

WallinASP ,

The Book Bar reviews What If

Bartender Rating: House/Well

I became an instant fan of Rebecca Donovan from The Breathing series (Reason to Breath, Barely Breathing, Out of Breath). Her writing will make you feel the pain and hopelessness of a character’s situation. She may not have the ‘HEA’ that some YA/NA/Romance readers demand, but her situations are real and raw. Her characters are enduring and they live peacefully in my mind, years after I’ve read the first book.

“Have you ever been in love?”
There’s a silence for a moment. I’m not exactly prepared for the question.
“No. Have you?”
“No. I wonder what it’s like.” Her voice sounds like an echo in the stillness. “I think it will be like falling backward in the dark. Terrifying. Exhilarating. Having to trust that there’ll be somone there to catch you.”
What If. Donovan, Rebecca. 2014. NETGALLEY/Publishers Loan

I read What If in one sitting. I couldn’t believe I had Rebecca Donovan’s next book in my hands. The synopsis was full of romance, intrigue and mystery.

“I love looking at the stars.” Her voice is quiet and distant, like a memory. “They can take away your pain if you let them. And when the sun comes up, all that sorrow disappears.”
When I take in all the stars in the sky, I can’t help but think that’s a lot of hurt. “What about the shooting stars?”
Nyelle turns her head with a jerk at the sound of my voice like she forgot I was beside her. “You wish on them, for another chance to get it right.”
What If. Donovan, Rebecca. 2014. NETGALLEY/Publishers Loan

About a quarter of the way into the book, I was perplexed. The writing was great but the story was tripping me up. I have read multiple narratives and time-jumping sequences before, but keeping it straight in my mind was causing me to go back and reread the chapter introductions. There were a lot of interesting characters, but they were all fighting for the main spotlight. There were many secondary characters and I couldn’t keep them straight through the bouncing back and forth between time and POVs. Usually, I have no problem with this format, but I think I hit my character limit.

“Are you sure you didn’t do anything to her?”
“I swear,” I answer, then add after a moment of thought, “I guess I wasn’t who she wanted me to be.”
“Are we ever?”
What If. Donovan, Rebecca. 2014. NETGALLEY/Publishers Loan

I can’t talk too much about the storyline because it may giveaway the mystery. However, I can tell you that all the characters have been friends since childhood, and the mixture of the boys and girls was perfectly sweet. You read about how these friends grow up and how situations beyond their control alter the futures these children dreamt up for themselves.

I’m thinkings she may be the angriest girl I’ve ever met.
What If. Donovan, Rebecca. 2014. NETGALLEY/Publishers Loan

What If also had very unusual character names. I have never heard of Richelle or Nyelle before. In my mind, every time I read their names, I had to reread it because I just knew in my head that I was pronouncing it incorrectly (Hermoine anyone?). And the origin of Nyelle’s name reminded me of Hopeless by Colleen Hoover.

“I’m looking for the girl I’ll regret if I let her go.”
What If. Donovan, Rebecca. 2014. NETGALLEY/Publishers Loan

There is a romantic element to this story that pops up between all the suspense and mystery. There’s a haircut scene in that reminded me a lot of 1993′s Untamed Heart. Very sexy. Through all the vague statements from Nyelle, there is still the suppressed romantic/sexual tension between her and Cal. Cal is sweet but his determination to ‘get the girl’ overshadowed ‘help the girl’, and that bothered me a lot.

I can no longer picture her as anyone other than who she is in front of me. She exudes so much life. I can’t imagine what could have made her need to start again. To me, she’s always been Nyelle. And whatever happened to Nicole doesn’t matter anymore. Because I’d rather have this girl here… with me.
What If. Donovan, Rebecca. 2014. NETGALLEY/Publishers Loan

I figured out the ending a little over half way, but I was still interested in finding out what happened when Nyelle finally broke down and revealed her secret. Even if all the parts of the book were great, the whole was a bit of a let down. I just couldn’t rally around a character. I was too consumed with the thought that someone desperately needed psychological help because of a mental break down and no one was taking it too seriously. And what the hell happened to Nicole’s ‘Stepford’ parents? How come no one has demanding answers for the breaking of their daughter?

What would have happened if I’d done something that night I heard her screaming? What if I hadn’t walked away? What if I’d gone in her house to help her? What if I’d been the friend she needed? Would she still be lying here, searching for herself in the stars?
What If. Donovan, Rebecca. 2014. NETGALLEY/Publishers Loan

At the end, the author recommends you go back and reread the story, to see how the story replays in you mind now that you know the ending. You may perceive the story differently. I may do this and perhaps amend this review, but until then, I look forward to Rebecca’s next book.

More Books by Rebecca Donovan