About Books #132: The Do-Over
It’s a dangerous thing to do… To go from discovering a new author and loving the first book that you read by them, to then immediately reading another one by the same author… In this case, I also loved Plot Twist so much, that it might just be in comparison to that one, that The Do-Over fell kind of flat… None the less, by the end of this book? I was just about ready to go right back to the beginning – and start it all over again…
When McKenna Keaton walks into the boardroom of Wallis, Monroe, and Burkhead, she expects to be named senior partner. Instead, she learns she’s being investigated for embezzlement. To wait out her unpaid leave, McKenna sublets her Upper West Side apartment and goes home to Durham, North Carolina, to save money. Saving face is going to be another thing entirely, but she assumes her problems will blow over soon.
While living in her childhood hometown, McKenna learns about a family curse that—if real rather than imagined—could suggest she has less than a year to live. This information is troubling (of course!), but it’s the reunion with former classmate Henry—Durham’s favorite son—that flips her world upside down. Henry is now a celebrated documentarian, back in town to premiere his latest masterpiece. Vulnerable to (and desperately needing) a distraction as her life falls apart, McKenna begins seeing the shy nerd from high school in a whole new light.
As she waits out the results of the investigation and wonders if her literal life is hanging in the balance, McKenna debates her future and questions her past. She might survive it all in one piece—but a new love and a newly-examined life might be the only things that can save her.
Here’s the thing: I absolutely loved all the characters in Plot Twist. However, in The Do-Over I found myself struggling to connect with McKenna. Well, actually – I did connect with McKenna. It’s just that I was also very annoyed by her the entire time. Especially the way that she just basically abandoned her family when it suited her wishes… Only to then come back to them the moment things go wrong? I also found it really difficult to understand the way she treated her younger sister. I can imagine having a certain relationship with them when you’re younger… Even as an adult, though, McKenna never really seems to give Taylor the chance to be that mature version of herself.
Apart from the fact that I just plain old liked basically all of the characters except for the main one? I had some serious issues understanding how an actual, ambitious lawyer could be getting investigated and not even consider seeking legal counsel. Similarly, I can understand not really having an experience in the romantic department. But the complete switch from supposedly utterly capable to basically stumbling about… Being completely socially unaware and just blurting out the weirdest things? It seemed a bit exaggerated and over-the-top. And that made it more difficult for me to really enjoy the book and get into the whole story.
However, from the last quarter of the book onwards especially, the story did redeem itself. For one thing, McKenna was finally acting as the person she’d been proclaiming to be all along. Finally. For another, as most characters grew on me, I was also able to appreciate the main character more. Sure, unhealthy coping mechanismes are something she should probably google at some point… But all in all, at the end of this book, I was left feeling quite fulfilled.
The rating: 3/5
Sure, it was a long and sometimes frustrating road to get there… But I will say this: by the end I was really quite happy with this story. The type of happy that needs more and would ideally like to see a movie based on it 🙂 (Goodreads, TheStoryGraph)