Thursday, July 8, 2010

Review of Second Time Around

Second Time Around by Beth Kendrick
Pages: 336
Genre: Adult Fiction (Contemporary)
Pub. Date: March 30, 2010
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Every summer, four college friends hold a mini-reunion. They laugh, reminisce, and commiserate about their soul-sucking jobs. Maybe they should have listened to everyone who warned them to study something “practical.” Then an unexpected windfall arrives—one million dollars, to be exact—with the stipulation that they use it to jump-start their new careers. Almost overnight, a professor, a bartender, a copywriter, and an administrative assistant reinvent themselves as a novelist, an event planner, a pastry chef, and a bed-and-breakfast owner. But the changes in their professional roles create unexpected turbulence in their personal lives, and soon the secrets and scandals from their past start to resurface. For anyone who has ever wondered “What if?,” this engaging novel provides a sweet, funny look at friendship, romance, and second chances."

I was drawn to the premise immediately.  A group of English majors and best friends who graduated ten years ago from a small liberal arts college meet every 4th of July to catch up.  They discuss everything and anything, but mostly how they wish they had different jobs and perhaps didn't major in English.  Arden, their wealthy friend from the group, is dying of lupus, which saddens this group of girls tremendously.  A few months after their 4th of July get together, she passes on and leaves them each $250,000.  But there is a stipulation.  They must use this money to pay off their debt and pursue their real dreams, whether it be to become an event planner, a pastry chef, a novelist, or a bed and breakfast owner.  Beth Kendrick's Second Time Around is like a fresh breath of air. While reading this entertaining novel, I enjoyed fantasizing about dropping everything and pursuing my own dreams if I were given a chance just like these women.  This is a must read for anyone who is a fan of chick-lit and has ever pondered the important question of.........what if?

What is so great about this novel is the simple fact that there are four women that are extremely relatable.  There's Jamie who is a bartender and has traveled around the world serving up drinks.  She never really sees things through.  Then there's Brooke who is a southern belle and resident nice girl that works for the college they graduated from. Cait is an English professor that always falls for the wrong guy and Anna, a copywriter, who rarely works and is trying to conceive, but finds out she's infertile.  Most women could relate to at least one of these characters; they were very realistic.  Which leads me to another thing I enjoyed about this novel: friendship.  Second Time Around illustrates true friendship and strong female characters that support each other through time times.  I feel like this is rare in chick-list; there's always that one mean girl, but these four women got along swimmingly.

I also enjoyed Kendrick's incorporation of classic literature.  Since I, too, was an English major, I particularly liked the various allusions to Shakespeare or Dickens.  I also liked that Kendrick put a quote before each chapter. It was a nice touch.  However, you don't have to be an English nerd to appreciate this.

My only issue with this novel is that things sometimes worked out too easily for the girls. It was rather unbelievable at times.  Some of the girls didn't have to work too hard in order to achieve their dreams.....sometimes it fell into their laps.  I also wasn't a fan of Cait's writing. She wanted to become an author and found herself writing a romance novel.  Kendrick incorporated a few excerpts from her writing, which in theory sounds entertaining; however, I am not a fan of romance novels. At all.  Personally, this drove me nuts, but if you are a fan, they you will appreciate this glimpse into Cait's writing.

All in all, I felt this was an interesting summer read that makes you think about the fact that maybe it isn't too late to strive for some of the goals that were set in college.  Anyone, not just English majors, will enjoy this novel and the premise.  I mean comon'.......Who doesn't dream of dropping everything to chase after your dreams?


  1. I'm not really sure if this is for me. It doesn't really sound like me excepting for the bit about following your dreams. I like the sound of that. Lovely review. This book weirdly reminds me of a film called The Bridesmaids.

  2. I like the sound of this. I hadn't heard of it before, but it sounds like fun, er, apart from the friend dying. Will check it out! You are bad for my wishlist, Christina! lol!


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