A huge thank-you to NetGalley and the publisher for this advanced reader copy of The Second Chance Year by Melissa Wiesner.
The Second Chance Year by Melissa Wiesner is so nice I read it twice–before it was even released! Now I get to shout about it from the rooftops!
This year, I’ve handed out plenty of 4 and 4.5-star ratings to romance books, but only five have received the coveted 5 stars, and The Second Chance Year is one of them. This sits up there with names like Emily Henry and Emma Lord who are some of my very favorite romance authors. The first time I picked up this book, I didn’t want it to end. The second time I read it, I didn’t want it to end. Are you sensing a theme? It’s beyond fantastic and I can’t rave about it highly enough!
Now, clearly, saying how much I loved it right off the bat is a massive spoiler for the direction my review will take, but I felt it was necessary to scream, “YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!” at the beginning of this post, in case you don’t make it to the actual review part. The Second Chance Year comes out on December 5, 2023 and you certainly won’t regret picking it up. Keep on scrolling to see me screech about it even more!
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My honest review of The Second Chance Year by Melissa Wiesner.
One disastrous year. One magical wish. One chance to change the past.
Sadie Thatcher’s life has fallen apart in spectacular fashion. In one fell swoop, she managed to lose her job, her apartment, and her boyfriend–all thanks to her big mouth. So when a fortune teller offers her one wish, Sadie jumps at the chance to redo her awful year. Deep down, she doesn’t believe magic will fix her life, but taking a leap of faith, Sadie makes her wish, opens her eyes, and . . . nothing has changed. And then, in perhaps her dumbest move yet, she kisses her brother’s best friend, Jacob.
When Sadie wakes up the next morning, she’s in her former apartment with her former boyfriend, and her former boss is expecting her at work. Checking the date, she realizes it’s January 1 . . . of last year. As Sadie navigates her second-chance year, she begins to see the red flags she missed in her relationship and in her career. Plus, she keeps running into Jacob, and she can’t stop thinking about their kiss . . . the one he has no idea ever happened. Suddenly, Sadie begins to wonder if her only mistake was wishing for a second chance.
Content Warnings: (Graphic) Sexual harassment and Toxic relationship, (Moderate) Sexism
I always know that I’ve really enjoyed a book when I, a stringent TBR follower, decide one evening to abandon my entire monthly TBR in favor of rereading said book. That’s exactly what happened with The Second Chance Year, which easily puts it in my top 3 favorite romances of 2023.
What would you do if you knew you could have a do-over of the last year of your life?
In this book, you’re introduced to Sadie on New Year’s Eve after what she considers her Very Bad Year. Her boyfriend broke up with her (after getting a fancy tech-bro job), she lost her job (because she called out her boss for workplace harassment), she had to move in with her brother’s best friend (who can’t seem to stand being in the same room as her), her parents are disappointed in her (but aren’t they always?), and she’s not baking anymore (the one thing that has always brought her joy). She’s hurting and holding on to what she lost.
When I first read this book, I was in an incredibly vulnerable place in my life–much like Saide–questioning not only what came next, but what I had left behind. It immediately endeared me to this character and as I read, I wondered if I too would make the same choice she did to ask for a second chance year.
Once you start reading The Second Chance Year, it’s hard to put down. You’re desperate to know what will happen next, not only to Sadie but to the entire cast of characters that you’re sure to quickly fall head over heels for. It’s like Melissa Wiesner knew I was a sucker for a precious secondary cast because each and every one of these characters (Zoe, Kasumi, José Luis, Mrs. Kaminski, Owen, and obviously Jacob) are so special and add something really wonderful to the story. I was just as wrapped up in their individual threads of the tale as I was with Sadie and Jacob’s.
This book is also incredibly empowering. It handles topics like sexual harassment and the concept of women bowing to men in the workplace and while some of the passages are a little hard to read, they’re also really well-written and filled with hope and encouragement. I felt as if I gained newfound courage just from reading the experiences of the women in The Second Chance Year.
Of course, I can’t NOT talk about the absolutely adorable, swoony, kick-your-heels-and-giggle romance between Sadie and Jacob. It’s a brother’s best friend, he fell (okay, let’s be real, he launched himself off a cliff and nosedived) first, longing-filled whirlwind of a romance and I loved every single second of it. This book is closed-door, and you know what? I didn’t even notice that until after the second time I read it because I was too focused on the cutest freaking relationship ever unfolding before my eyes.
If you were to go through my Kindle, you’d notice that 85% of my (65 total) highlights are just Jacob doing the literal sweetest things ever for Sadie for no reason other than because he’s been in love with her since childhood. I’m feeling giddy all over again just writing about it! He’s definitely the epitome of a golden retriever, cinnamon roll and he’s absolute book boyfriend goals.
I could honestly talk about The Second Chance Year all day long, but instead, I’m just going to tell you to read it yourself! You can thank me later.