Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia
Release Date: 12th February 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Friendship, Love & Romance, New Adult
What if you had a second chance to meet someone for the first time?
Cal Logan is shocked to see Nicole Bentley sitting across from him at a coffee shop thousands of miles from their hometown. After all, no one has seen or heard from her since they graduated over a year ago.
Except this girl isn't Nicole.
She looks exactly like Cal's shy childhood crush, but her name is Nyelle Preston and she has no idea who he is. This girl is impulsive and daring, her passion for life infectious. The complete opposite of Nicole. Cal finds himself utterly fascinated and falling hard. But Nyelle is also extremely secretive. And the closer he comes to finding out what she's hiding, the less he wants to know.
When the secrets from the past and present collide, one thing becomes clear: Nothing is what it seems.
I’ve been staring at my computer for an hour now trying to figure out how to start this review. All I can come up with is “hey, WHAT IF is the first NA I’ve read while being at uni.” But that’s not exactly helpful, is it. Well I guess maybe in the fact that NA is a genre I read only occasionally, and usually on holidays when I devour it in a day or two because I’m in a romance mood.
The lack of thoughts does not stem from the fact that WHAT IF was a meh or bad book. It was actually quite decent, I enjoyed reading it and it delivered more than I expected it to. I just can’t think of what I want to say or how to say it.
Just like the other NA I’ve read, WHAT IF has a big focus on romance. Not “let’s have sex all the time and ignore all our classes” romance, but fairly slow burn romance. Although it’s slow burn, the main character, Cal, (OMG a NA narrated by a male!) does spend a lot of time thinking about Nyelle who strangely resembles his childhood friend and crush Nicole. Too much time thinking about her if you ask me, it was starting to get a little creepy. Fortunately not stalkery or my opinion about this book may be very different. Still it would have been nice to know a little more about people who weren’t Nyelle/Nicole, or maybe his classes or something. (Granted, the novel does centre on the whole mystery surrounding Nyelle and whether she is or isn’t Nicole)
Some of things that wasn’t romance I really enjoyed were the childhood flashbacks between chapters and how the mystery surrounding Nyelle was constructed. The flashbacks themselves were cute and I loved seeing what the characters were like. They also made you wonder more and more what happened to make Nicole change so much, if Nyelle really is the same person? What happened? Clues to the whole mystery are dropped excruciatingly slowly as you read and it was so hard to wait patiently for answers. I just needed to know. The answer to the mystery had surprisingly more feels attached than expected (though not so much that I cried) and not the truth I guessed would be included when I first started reading.
WHAT IF was a pretty enjoyable read all round. There is a pretty heavy focus on the romance, but there’s also an interesting mystery that’s well woven with an answer I didn’t guess right from the start. WHAT IF is a novel I’d recommend to people looking for a New Adult romance with interesting characters and not excessive/explicit adult content (if that type of thing turns you off books).