Are certain authors must-reads for you? Suzanne Park is an author whose books are always top of my list for most-anticipated, I love her quirky fun titles that focus on family and culture, which tend to have a bit of geeky charm to them. I’ve read every one of her titles since her debut in 2020, both in the YA and adult genres, and each one manages to surprise me in a good way, leaving me with warm fuzzy feelings and the joy of reading a good book.
The Do-Over has to be my favorite of her books yet, to me Suzanne’s writing style has found its stride, and this title, in particular, gave me the combined elements of what I loved most from each of her prior books. I always enjoy a main character with a struggle, who seems a bit of a hot mess with character growth that feels relatable, and Lily Lee absolutely delivered.
Can you imagine graduating college only to find out YEARS later that you didn’t? At the height of her career, Lily Lee suddenly finds herself returning to complete her degree and while this isn’t my situation, as someone who’s considering a big life/career change I felt like this book found me at the perfect time. While I’m a bit older than Lily, and in a completely different situation, I found her situation so inspiring, even if she had much more of a linear career and mine is to attempt to change direction and find passion in my work. Going from a successful, best-selling author starting a coveted new position to a student is not ideal for anyone, and as Lily tries to keep the classes a secret and find a way to finish her upcoming book, she finds out her TA is also her ex-boyfriend from college, Jake Cho.
I was instantly drawn into the story, many of the moments caught my attention as things that I observed as a college student myself and got me thinking about how they’re the same/different now, as an adult, having a child in college for additional comparison. As Lily struggles with her past mistakes, and how navigating situations can take such a mental toll on a student, I loved reading about the reflections on the admin office, the changing expectations, and how easy it can be for something to get missed.
Personally, I prefer going into books blind, and as an avid fan of Suzanne Park’s books, I didn’t read anything about it even before cracking it open. I knew I would find her perfect balance of family expectations in the Korean-American culture mixed with humor and heart that cuts right to the center of the issues for our characters, in a way that feels raw and real. I appreciated the older student story in a way I wasn’t prepared to love as much as I did!
From the author’s note, I knew there would be more of a dive into our MC’s mental health, but wasn’t prepared for how seen I felt, and how much I would connect with Lily’s innermost thoughts and feelings. It’s not just a simple college student partying and falling in love, but instead a story with self-discovery and finding out you can let yourself be supported by the friends around you.
Add in a second-chance romance (one of my favorite tropes!) and I was smitten. From the way Jake + Lily reconnected to the supportive friendships she has with her best friend and her new college roommate, the camaraderie of her classmates, and the competing authors this story was a wonderful read, the characters were what made the story for me! I hope you pick it up and enjoy it as much as I did.
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GBC Reader Reviews