Sunday, January 8, 2017

review: the year we turned forty by liz fenton & lisa steinke

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What if you got to go back to change some of the decisions you’d made in life? That’s what three friends are faced with in The Year We Turned Forty. Jessie, Claire, and Gabriela are long-time friends who always celebrate their birthdays in one big bash. The year they turn 50, they decide to do so in Las Vegas. All three feel like something is wrong with their lives, so they readily agree to go back a decade when a famous magician performing in Las Vegas reveals he has the power to send them back in time. The trio believes they’ll make things better using the knowledge of the last 10 years, but they fail to realize that their new choices will have consequences too and things won’t necessarily turn out as expected.

The balance of the stories is lopsided with much of the focus on Jessie (who has the biggest other lives-affecting decision to make given that it concerns whether or not she tells her husband the true paternity of her son) and Gabriela’s story feeling a bit weak (she missed the window for having biological children), but Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke’s third cowritten novel is thought-provoking. Fenton and Steinke do an excellent job of bringing in elements from the original life into the do-over life (the magician’s reappearance is fantastic) and create so true dilemmas when Jessie, Claire, and Gabriela are faced with the decision to stay or go back at the end of one year.

About the audiobook: Lisa Larsen beautifully narrates The Year We Turned Forty using a distinctive style for each character. Dreamscape Media published the audio version, which runs 11 hours, in April 2016.
Review copy provided by Audiobook Jukebox.

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