Book Reviews, Fiction  |  04.04.2020

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle (Book Review with Spoilers)


Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Kohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny.


Literary Fiction | Woman’s Fiction

Trigger Warnings:

  • False pregnancy
  • Terminal cancer
  • Death of a loved one

Source: The Trigger Warning Database

Review with Spoilers:

I went through so many different emotions reading this book and that is not necessarily a good thing. The first few pages of In Five Years are enthralling – Rebecca Serle can write. I remember thinking when I was 15% in that I could already tell that this had the potential to be a five-star book. Unfortunately, not long after, everything came crashing down.

Dannie is the type-A-personality-person that has her life together. She is methodical and mechanic. She has clear plans for life. She wants to work on one of New York’s most successful law firms and she goes to the interview with a suit she picked out for the occasion three years prior. She lives with her longtime boyfriend and knows exactly when he’s going to propose. They have the same ambitions and dreams. Everything is clockwork-perfect, until… something weird happens.

Dannie falls asleep and wakes up five years in the future. The year is 2025 and she is now living in a completely different apartment in Brooklyn, she’s using a different engagement ring and living with another man who is NOT her fiancee. Dannie spends 1 hour in this future-time/alternate reality and then goes back to her scheduled life in 2020. Of course, she cannot understand what happened but is at the same time haunted by this vision. She even goes to a therapist and tries to make sense of what this could represent in her life.

Then we jump forward 4 years, and the events from the vision are getting very close to the present timeline Dannie is on, and here is where my rant will start, so beware of spoilers. I loved the premise of this book, until around 30/40% I was completely captivated by Dannie’s tale and I saw this vision being a catalyst for her to understand so many things about herself. So, my 2.5 stars rating are exclusively for this first part of the book…

because the way the story unravels from then on makes absolutely no sense. We learn that the stranger living in Dannie’s future apartment is actually her best friend’s boyfriend/fiancee. To resolve this conflict the book introduces a plot that I really dislike out of left-field: terminal cancer. You see, what was supposed to be a contemplative romantic fiction became an overdramatic mess. Yeah, let’s get rid of the friend to clear the path for Dannie, right? No, not right.

What about Dannie’s current and lovely fiancee that does everything for her? Apparently, they have no chemistry and he was only a prop to bring more angst into the story, so of course, Dannie can just cut him from her life after almost six years together.

After Bella (her best friend) passes, Dannie has a sort of one night/day stand with her ex-fiancee (yeah, that happened and it came from absolutely nowhere), but it was out of grief?! And so they can’t be together…. but in the end, it’s implied that she ends up with Bella’s oncologist?! WHAT A MESS.

And the amazing future scene from the beginning doesn’t fit in this new context anymore… The dialogue (jumping forward six years) is absurd and disconnected. Basically, that’s not the way humans communicate with each other. It’s weird, and it doesn’t work. Again, this was such a letdown, because I was so intrigued about the true meaning of that conversation, and I was robbed of the emotional payoff it was supposed to give.

Honestly, I didn’t know it was possible to mess up a beautiful premise so much…

So, anyway… In a nutshell, the first half of this book is amazing. The second part is chaotic, frustrating, and 100% illogical.

Thank you Netgalley and Quercus Books for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


☆☆ (2.5 Stars)

Find the book here.

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