As a general rule, I HATE second chance romances… but I LOVED this. I was hesitant to pick this up because of the couple’s complicated past, but that all faded into the background as I became immersed in this truly unique love story. Told in flashbacks, present day, and snippets of articles that fill in the gaps, we see how these characters have changed and grown over the last ten years. We see all of the ways they messed things up in the past, as well as all of the ways they are PERFECT for each other in the present. If you’re someone who enjoys puzzling out a mysterious hero, then you’re going to love this one – piecing together all of the little breadcrumbs that show the depth of his feelings and just how much he thought of her in their time apart. These two fell hard and fast over the course of a single weekend, and they’ve had ten years apart to let those feelings simmer, fester, or grow. There’s really no way to tell until the whole story is told. And one of the best things – beyond the obvious zap of chemistry – is that the story is told in such a way that I was completely and utterly invested in seeing how things played out in the past AND the present.
The story follows Chani, a journalist who couldn’t have predicted the countless ways that one interview would change her life. As a 26-year-old, she was starstruck and smitten to meet sexy actor Gabe. Tasked with writing an article that would make Gabe look good, Chani was surprised to discover that they seemed to have a connection that had nothing to do with the article she was writing. And the time they spent together that weekend seemed to confirm that… until it didn’t. Ten years later, Chani would like to believe that she’s both older and wiser. That article changed the trajectory of her career, and the whispers about that weekend have not quieted in the years since. So when Chani is asked to interview Gabe again – now a star who has lost his shine after a divorce and a few trips to rehab – she’s hoping to get some closure and move past it once and for all. But spending time together again makes those old feelings come rushing back, and it’s possible that finally getting everything out in the open will change everything.
I’ve gotta give it to Sussman – she managed to make this relationship feel rich and deep, despite the fact that Chani and Gabe have only spent a handful of days together. They had that first potential-filled weekend that went horribly wrong, then only brief interactions in the years since. So it’s amazing how much history they have, and how much the intimacy grows between them. The story seems to be a bit polarizing to readers, and I can see how that element wouldn’t work for some – but it definitely did for me. There are plenty of lighthearted moments, splashes of angst, longing, and a TON of unfulfilled potential. As much as I wanted to shake them over the miscommunication, it was also easy to see that the Chani and Gabe of the past wouldn’t have worked out. They needed that time apart, and Gabe needed to get sober. I was even (shockingly) okay with the fact that they both married and divorced other people during those years as well – hurt people hurt people, and returning to safer relationships made sense to me. Besides, they’d only spent a matter of hours together, and neither one was entirely sure of the other’s motivations. Once they face the truth of their feelings, the entire dynamic shifts. It’s a complex story that drew me in more and more as it progressed, until I was incredibly engrossed. I loved it.
The audio is great! The story is told exclusively from Chani’s point of view, so it’s a single narrator, but she does an excellent job. Her performance brought Chani to life, and it was also easy to differentiate between the characters. The runtime (under 8 hours) was perfect for bingeing in one sitting, which is great because that’s exactly what I wanted to do. And the tone of the book was ideal for the audio format, especially given the narrator’s strong performance. It’s an achingly slow burn with just a little spice, so the book is also a good pick for a workday listen – you’d even be able to fit the whole story into a day at the office. While this would be a great read in any format, the audio enhances it even further.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A restless young journalist with big dreams interviews a Hollywood heartthrob—and reunites with him ten years later to discover exactly how he feels about her in this sexy and engrossing novel
Then. Twenty-something writer Chani Horowitz is stuck. While her former MFA classmates are nabbing high-profile book deals, all she does is churn out puff pieces. Then she’s hired to write a profile of movie star Gabe Parker: her number one celebrity crush and the latest James Bond. All Chani wants to do is keep her cool and nail the piece. But what comes next proves to be life changing in ways she never saw coming, as the interview turns into a whirlwind weekend that has the tabloids buzzing—and Chani getting closer to Gabe than she had planned.
Now. Ten years later, after a brutal divorce and a healthy dose of therapy, Chani is back in Los Angeles as a successful writer with the career of her dreams. Except that no matter what new essay collection or online editorial she’s promoting, someone always asks about The Profile. It always comes back to Gabe. So when his PR team requests that they reunite for a second interview, she wants to say no. She wants to pretend that she’s forgotten about the time they spent together. But the truth is that Chani wants to know if those seventy-two hours were as memorable to Gabe as they were to her. And so . . . she says yes.
Alternating between their first meeting and their reunion a decade later, this deliciously irresistible novel will have you hanging on until the last word.
About the Author:
Elissa Sussman is the author of the novel, FUNNY YOU SHOULD ASK, as well as the young adult novels, DRAWN THAT WAY, STRAY, and BURN.
She has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, a MFA from Pacific University, and in a previous life managed animators and organized spreadsheets at some of the best animation studios in the world, including Nickelodeon, Disney, Dreamworks and Sony Imageworks. You can see her name in the credits of THE CROODS, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG and TANGLED.
She lives in her hometown of Los Angeles with her husband and their two dogs, Basil and Mozzarella.
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