Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Random House, Random House
Date of publication: March 12th, 2019
Genre: General Fiction, Science Fiction
The residents of a sleepy mountain town are rocked by troubling visions of an alternate reality in this dazzling debut that combines the family-driven suspense of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere with the inventive storytelling of The Immortalists.
In the quiet haven of Clearing, Oregon, four neighbors find their lives upended when they begin to see themselves in parallel realities. Ginny, a devoted surgeon whose work often takes precedence over her family, has a baffling vision of a beautiful co-worker in Ginny’s own bed and begins to doubt the solidity of her marriage. Ginny’s husband, Mark, a wildlife scientist, sees a vision that suggests impending devastation and grows increasingly paranoid, threatening the safety of his wife and son. Samara, a young woman desperately mourning the recent death of her mother and questioning why her father seems to be coping with such ease, witnesses an apparition of her mother healthy and vibrant and wonders about the secrets her parents may have kept from her. Cass, a brilliant scholar struggling with the demands of new motherhood, catches a glimpse of herself pregnant again, just as she’s on the brink of returning to the project that could define her career.
At first the visions are relatively benign, but they grow increasingly disturbing—and, in some cases, frightening. When a natural disaster threatens Clearing, it becomes obvious that the visions were not what they first seemed and that the town will never be the same.
Startling, deeply imagined, and compulsively readable, Kate Hope Day’s debut novel is about the choices we make that shape our lives and determine our destinies—the moments that alter us so profoundly that it feels as if we’ve entered another reality.
If, Then is the story of 4 neighbors in the town of Clearing, Oregon. Mark is a wildlife scientist. Ginny is a successful surgeon. Samara is still grieving over the death of her mother. Cass is a scholar who is struggling to adjust to being a mother. Each of them has a vision. Mark’s vision, which consists of him living in a tent in the woods, makes him paranoid. Ginny sees herself in a relationship with a coworker. Samara sees her mother alive. Cass sees herself pregnant…again. The visions start coming more until the people affected start questioning their sanity. Why are they having these visions?
I started off liking If, Then. The author did a great job at setting the groundwork for a great book. Each character (and secondary characters) was relatable in their own way. I was fine with the book until halfway through. Then the book went a different direction. It was that sudden change in the plotline that made me go “Eh?“. I actually had to reread several chapters to understand what I was reading. I do not like when I have to do that.
Like I mentioned above, I liked the characters at the beginning of the book. Each character was relatable and likable. Even when things started to get weird (and man, did they), I still liked them. If I had to pick one who wasn’t a favorite, it was Ginny. She couldn’t make up her mind who she wanted to be with. I wanted to shake her.
I got lost reading the plotline during the 2nd half of the book. What made me lost was Cass’s storyline and the storyline with Other Mark. I had questions about both storylines there were not answered. I can’t get into what they were here but they were legitimate. I also found the main storyline a bit much.
The end of the book seemed rushed. While I am glad that everything worked out, it seemed too pat and a little rushed. I was almost hoping for someone not to have a happy ending. That would have changed things up a little bit.
I gave If, Then a 3-star rating. The book had a great start. It had a great plotline and characters that I could connect with. But, I found the book couldn’t hold my attention after the middle of the book. I got lost reading it and had to reread chapters to make sure I understood what was going on. The characters, for the most part, did stay relatable and likable. I thought that the end of the book was rushed.
I would give If, Then an Adult rating. There is sex (nothing graphic but you knew when the characters were going at it). There is mild violence. There is language. There are triggers. They would be the death of a parent, cheating and divorce. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group, Random House and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review If, Then.
All opinions stated in this review of If, Then are mine.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**