Welcome back goons to the column that has persisted longer than I ever intended it to. I don’t have TikTok, but I write this BookTok—a subset of TikTok—column. Why, you may ask? Because it’s a fun log of books I read and hopefully it will help someone choose their next read or decide to pick up a book for ~fun~ instead of for class.
Now I made some big promises last week about reviewing “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro. However, the truth is I honestly cannot bring myself to write about that book right now because of the damage it has caused me. And since we are in the thick of the semester with midterms and having the world literally feel like it is coming down on us, I just figured why write a review that is going to bum me out all over again when I can write about something happy. So I hate to have lied, but for everyone’s well being I think it’s best we talk about the lighthearted stuff for this edition.
Luckily for you, to cope with reading “Never Let Me Go” I immediately read “This Time Next Year” by Sophie Cousens to cope. I had purchased “This Time Next Year” as a part of my thrift book haul where I got five hardcover books for $7 (with free shipping). I had seen the book on BookTok a couple of times because it was chosen for Book of the Month—a subscription service where books get sent to you every month (as the name implies)—but hadn’t really seen any outstanding opinions on whether it was good or bad. But anyway a $7 hardcover book in perfect condition is a $7 hardcover book in perfect condition, so who was I to pass on the offer. And boy oh boy this book did not disappoint at all. Now I will say I went in with almost zero expectations; it was 100% an impulse buy so I could get free shipping so I could get “Midnight Library” by Matt Haig. But I genuinely loved this book so much and I feel like it’s worked its way up on my romance book ranking. Anyway, here we go, book review in five, four, three, two, one.
“This Time Next Year” by Sophie Cousens
“This Time Next Year” opens on Dec. 31—New Year’s Eve. A pretty big day for a lot of people filled with hopes for the new year, ready to say goodbye to the previous year and all those cliche tropes. We meet our main character Minnie—Minnie Cooper. An unfortunate name for a main character but would it even be a romance book if the main character didn’t have a wildly unbelievable name **cough cough Lily Bloom who is a freaking florist. That’s right I’m looking at you Colleen Hoover fans**.
I digress, as per usual. Like most people do, Minnie finds herself going out with her boyfriend on New Year’s Eve to celebrate with his friends. He’s one of those boyfriends where you know he sucks from the beginning but he is there for critical character development. But he actually turns out to be a not-that-sucky character, so props to Cousens, who shows how relationships can end and things can be amicable and not a dumpster fire.
At said party, Minnie—with all her luck—gets trapped in the bathroom, with nothing but her dead phone. Abandoned, Minnie spends the rest of the night in the bathroom until Quinn Hamilton enters the scene. Quinn comes to check the bathroom to find Minnie trapped in from the night before. Now get ready for some classic romance book absurdity, but Quinn and Minnie’s lives have actually crossed paths before. The two were both born on New Year’s Day, on the same day in the same hospital, and their mothers actually knew one another. But things went awry after a series of unfortunate events. See, there was a big prize that would be granted to the family who had the first new year’s baby of that year and Quinn was born just before Minnie. On top of that Quinn’s mother after talking to Minnie’s mother about name ideas decided to name her son Quinn, which is what Minnie’s name was supposed to be. Because of this, Minnie’s mother always told her she was the unluckiest girl in the world all because of Quinn Hamilton stealing her name. This became so ingrained in Minnie that for her birthday she locked herself away from the world to avoid bad things from happening.
Now I have to say, this book was really cool for a romance book because it has so many undertones that take away from the romance element of it. Now obviously you are following the love story between Quinn and Minnie but there are so many moving parts to it that you have to love. Cousens really goes in to try and show that no one’s life is perfect and even our ideas of perfection come at a cost. Cousens also goes into family dynamics and what can break down a family. Seeing the relationship between Minnie and her mom versus Quinn and his mother is so interesting.
And it’s not like Cousens is trying to make anyone a villain in the story, she simply shows that everyone is dealing with their own sh*t in their own ways. I think I really liked the book because of how messy it is. Minnie is 30 and doesn’t have her life figured out. Great, I’m 21 and I have no idea what I’m doing. Minnie is who we should strive to be like—trying to be the best we can be to others. But it also shows the risk of how we lose ourselves when we are constantly putting everyone else first.
I also love this whole invisible string concept. Cue Taylor Swift music. The book does have a number of jumps in time to various New Year’s Eves and we see Minnie’s and Cooper’s lives crossing multiple times without the other knowing. Now is this realistic? No, you silly goose. But it’s a romance novel so let me live and don’t talk to me about the practicality of it.
It’s a fun, flirty and cute read. It’s also an incredibly quick read, like I’m talking under two days of reading. It also is wonderfully distracting from whatever is stressing you out in your life. Would recommend to a friend. Come back next week where I muster up the courage to finally review “Never Let Me Go.”
Jamie Trope’s brief review of Victoria Morrongiello’s ‘This Time Next Year’ review: what a fantastic review. I want to read this book now. Adding it to my Goodreads To Be Read list immediately.