Thursday, January 11, 2024

ARC Review: Expiration Dates by Rebecca Serle

 


Being single is like playing the lottery. There’s always the chance that with one piece of paper you could win it all.

From the New York Times bestselling author of In Five Years and One Italian Summer comes the romance that will define a generation.

Daphne Bell believes the universe has a plan for her. Every time she meets a new man , she receives a slip of paper with his name and a number on it—the exact amount of time they will be together. The papers told her she’d spend three days with Martin in Paris; five weeks with Noah in San Francisco; and three months with Hugo, her ex-boyfriend turned best friend. Daphne has been receiving the numbered papers for over twenty years, always wondering when there might be one without an expiration. Finally, the night of a blind date at her favorite Los Angeles restaurant, there’s only a Jake.

But as Jake and Daphne’s story unfolds, Daphne finds herself doubting the paper’s prediction, and wrestling with what it means to be both committed and truthful. Because Daphne knows things Jake doesn’t, information that—if he found out—would break his heart.

Told with her signature warmth and insight into matters of the heart, Rebecca Serle has finally set her sights on romantic love. The result is a gripping, emotional, passionate, and (yes) heartbreaking novel about what it means to be single, what it means to find love, and ultimately how we define each of them for ourselves. Expiration Dates is the one fans have been waiting for.

Title: Expiration Dates
Author: Rebecca Serle
Publisher: Atria
Expected Publication Date: March 5, 2024

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria books for providing me with an egalley of this book to read and give my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
What if you knew the end date of all your relationships? Would you live them to the fullest? Would that influence your ending them?  Daphne Bell has a plan, and when she receives a relationship with no end date, she intends to take it for the sign that it is. But the secrets she keeps from her friends and those around her challenge her with being truthful and committed. What will it take for her to be brutally honest and find the love she's been waiting for?
I've really enjoyed the Rebecca Serle books I've read in the past. I like the magical realism aspect she weaves into her stories. They challenge me to see beyond what is thought of as normal. Out of the ordinary becomes interesting, and challenging.
The first 50% of this book was challenging. I found it a bit slow. I wanted to love the build up but I didn't find I wanted to pick it up and continue reading. But I am so happy I didn't let that get in the way of my continuing with the story because once all the truths are out in the open, the book speeds to the end. I appreciate Serle's character development. And by the end I understood why it was necessary for her to have that slow build, as frustrating as I may have found it.
The idea of receiving end dates for your relationships is definitely intriguing. I did find those parameters definitely shaped Daphne Bell's character in this story. She never allowed herself to see beyond the endings her papers brought her. She always assumed that would be the end of it and this definitely stunted her ability to let her relationships have a natural progression and the possibility of more.
I was surprised by the sudden introduction of a health issue in the middle of the book. I did not see it coming. On the one hand, it made sense with Daphne's character and how she processed and proceeding with things in her life. And such a secret kept from the reader had me a little frustrated because it totally changed the dynamic of the book. On the other hand, it would have been nice to have a bit of a sense of this coming. It's such a big secret to have and there wasn't much build up to it, just BAM here it is. It did make me a bit more emotionally invested in her character because I truly wanted to see where she would come out in the end. I was worried Serle would lead us to a lot of sadness and I'm not sure I would have been prepared for that.
I enjoyed watching each of Daphne's love stories. The romances were interesting and I liked that it was not just one romance, but a series of romances that helped lend to the development of Daphne and understanding her as a character. The unpredictability of the timelines for the romances was also fun. I will say the ending was a bit predictable to me. I saw it coming pretty much from the beginning when we were introduced to Hugo. But I wasn't 100% sure so it did keep me reading.
The Jewish representation was interesting. I enjoyed those small snippets that were woven into the story but also did not see how they shaped Dapphne's character at all. For me, as a Jewish woman, I do wish there was more to that aspect since it was introduced in quite a few places. I'm not sure if the author is Jewish, though based on the things she incorporates, I feel she is. I just didn't think it leant anything to the book and I wish it had been explored a bit more to shape Daphne's character.
Overall, I did end up really liking this one, though not as much as One Italian Summer or In Five Years. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on Serle for her future books.


Rebecca Serle is the New York Times bestselling author of In Five Years, The Dinner List, and the young adult novels The Edge of Falling and When You Were Mine. Serle also developed the hit TV adaptation Famous in Love, based on her YA series of the same name. She is a graduate of USC and The New School and lives in Los Angeles. Find out more at RebeccaSerle.com.


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