~ Book Review: The Do-Over (ARC) ~

Expected publication April 4, 2023

Author: Suzanne Park

Lily Lee is a bestselling author of the How to Be a Supernova At Work series, and her editor wants her to strike while the iron’s hot with a new book, How to Land the Perfect Job. But when Lily is offered a coveted position at a top firm, the employer background check reveals she’s short a few college credits and never actually completed her degree. Unbelievably, her worst nightmare has come true.

Lily returns to her alma mater, reliving her senior year of college ten years later. She enrolls in classes, gets invited to frat parties, eats most of her meals with “dining dollars,” and to make things even more weird and chaotic, she discovers that her computer science TA is her old college boyfriend, Jake Cho.

As Lily and Jake reconnect, she sees that her ex has done well for himself: the handsome, charming grad student appears to have his life together while Lily’s so close to losing her dream job opportunity and her book deal.

Things aren’t so simple the second time around.

The Do-Over is a delightfully warm and hopeful story about second chances in love and life, and how the future we want may turn out far different than we imagined.

The Do-Over is only my second read by Suzanne Park, but it will not be my last. As this novel read more as a women’s fiction story with a side of romance, it might be good for future readers to alter their expectations before reading. I think if I knew this, then I would have felt differently while reading. The story follows 32-year-old Lily Lee, who is working on a new book, How to Land the Perfect Job, when she discovers that she never finished her bachelor’s degree while applying for a job. She returns to her alma mater, Carlthorpe College, where she will need to re-do her senior year of the college experience to graduate now officially.

Returning to school ten years later is never easy, so it was interesting to read about Lily’s journey. When Lily attends her computer science class that she needs to graduate, she discovers that the TA is her ex-boyfriend, Jake Cho. With this new complication, Lily has a lot to deal with as she goes through the on-campus college life, trying to continue to be an author, and navigate new and old relationships. Lily is not alone in this journey, though, as she has her best friend, Mia, and her new roommate, Beth, that are there were her.

Lily and Jake were both enigmas to me. As the two of them reconnect and revisit their past, there are glimpses into their previous relationship, but there was still something that felt unfinished. I think this was due to Jake not being highlighted enough in the story. It never seemed he gained many layers as a character, and I needed more to want him included as a potential love interest. I also feel that more exploration into Lily was needed. She is redoing her college experience, including frat parties, and it would be nice to really explore why. There are bits and pieces into these reasons, but I still never really understood it. The same is also for Lily’s career paths as she begins to enjoy computer science, she has her author job, and she had the other dream job from the beginning of the story. There are a lot of paths for Lily, but I never feel like this is all resolved or its clear that this was the point of the story. Overall, this was a fun concept, but it needed a lot more details to get all the various points across to the reader. I still enjoy Park’s easy and enjoyable writing style, so I will read more in the future, but this particular one was not quite for me.  

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Avon, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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