THE DO-OVER by Suzanne Park

From the publisher:

From the author of the “genuinely funny” and “delightful” Loathe at First Sight (NPR) and “cinematic, charming” So We Meet Again (Emily Henry), a fun rom-com about a young Korean-American woman having to return to college after discovering she’s a few credits shy of completing her degree—only to find one of her TAs is her old college boyfriend.

Bestselling author Lily Lee is on a short deadline to deliver her new career guide How to Land the Perfect Job, and she’s been interviewing at all the top companies around town. But when she’s offered a coveted position at her dream company, the employer’s background check reveals she never actually finished her college degree. Unbelievably, her worst nightmare has come true.

Lily returns to her alma mater to relive her senior year of college, after walking across the stage at graduation a decade earlier. Just as she starts getting used to the idea of being a student again, things get even more weird and chaotic when she discovers her computer science TA is her old college boyfriend, Jake Cho.

As Lily and Jake reconnect, she sees that her late-blooming ex has done well for himself: the handsome, charming grad student appears to have his life together, while Lily’s on the brink of losing her reputation and her book deal.  

Told in present day with glimpses of the past, The Do-Over is a delightfully warm and hopeful story about second chances in life and love, and how the future might not be a straight line, but we still end up exactly where we’re supposed to be.

“Park’s (So We Meet Again) latest does an excellent job of navigating topics of anxiety, self-doubt, nepotism, and misogyny through an enjoyable second-chance romance with great characters. This book is an essential read and highly recommended.” — Library Journal (starred review)

“Park’s pitch-perfect comedic timing and knack for creating heartstrings-tugging moments make this thoughtful romance really shine. This is a winner.” — Publishers Weekly

“The story is rooted in complex, relatable issues that are sure to have readers rooting for Lily the whole way through. A story of second chances in life more than love.” — Kirkus Reviews

“It’s a fun and sexy book, as Park (So We Meet Again, 2021) ties in mental-health issues with a strong female protagonist and of course a little bit of love. A fast read full of funny moments among friends, tense moments between rivals, and romantic moments between old lovers.” — Booklist

This was such a fun read! As someone who took about 30 years to complete my bachelor’s degree, I could definitely relate to returning to college years after leaving. In this case, Lily walked the stage, was handed what she thought was her diploma, and moved on with her grown-up life. Until she found out that her advisor gave her some very bad advice her senior year, leaving her half a dozen credits short of actually graduating. Lily had a super successful business book published and how has a second book deal on the line. She sneaks back into college to finish up her remaining credits and earn that degree, not telling her publisher what’s happened. She would prefer her publisher, and everyone else, not know about this, but there is no hiding, as she is eventually found out.

Lily manages to secure off campus housing with a roommate who is an amazing baker and turns into a good friend. Meanwhile, her best friend since her original college days keeps popping up to hang out on campus. When Lily walks into one of her required courses, a computer programming class, she is shocked to find her old college boyfriend, Jake, is the teaching assistant in her class. And he has grown up into a fine specimen of a man.

As Lily works hard to complete her classes, she falls back into a relationship with Jake but much like the first time around, he ghosts her. Not sure if she is more mad at him or herself, Lily throws herself even more into her classwork. When she finds out she is up for a possible internship with one of the top tech companies in the world, she is thrilled, even though it would take her on a different career path. When it leaks that she has returned to college, the internet weighs in as they always do, and Lily is in big trouble.

Eventually, everything works out for the best, and Lily gets her happy ending. I loved spending time with these characters and watching Lily and Jake grow. I loved that ten years after college, Lily is still reinventing herself with a second chance at a different career as well as in love. Park has turned into a must read author for me – and I hope for you, as well.

4/2023 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE DO-OVER by Suzanne Park. Avon (April 4, 2023). ISBN:‎ 978-0063216051. 368p.





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