Loved and Lost

Loved and Lost - Stephanie Kusiak What would you do differently if you got a chance to live your life all over again? Blake, a woman who seems to have everything in life--successful career, wealth, recognition, happily married to the love of her life, Rachel--is given that chance, when she wakes up a teenager again but with her adult memory intact.

My first reaction to that premise was--all Blake needs is to do is remember when to buy the right stocks or bet on the right sports picks and she can spend the rest of her life wining and dining Rachel--and producing broadway plays for her. Problems solved! :D But of course, that only happens in real life,lol, so Blake tries to change only the things she felt went wrong with her old life. Af first, everything seems to work out much better for Blake and Rachel as she uses the power of hindsight to finesse her every move. But even doing your best and lavishing someone with love can have totally unintended and surprisingly negative consequences.

This book is quite the emotional roller coaster. Blake and Rachel don't do nice and easy. And our emotions are yanked along with them from one extreme to the other end. From the initial gut-wrenching (and somewhat detailed and graphic) accident, to the heartbreaking middle, to the tense race-against-the-clock ending to try and alter fate, there is sprinkled throughout some of the happiest and most joyful scenes of them together, as well as some really spicy (and there are plenty) erotic scenes.

There are shades of Glee, Twilight Zone and Final Destination (weird combination, I know, but it works for me :) ). The 'second-chance-at-life thing' is more supernatural than mechanical/scientific and I have no problem with it. However, I did think some of the characters' decisions which resulted in their break-up in the second go-around were rather unbelievable. But this was later saved by the part where Blake tries to win back Rachel-- which have some of the best dialogue in the book. The sexual tension, the hesitancy, the push/pull of yearning vs anger was just so delicious to read.. I also really loved how Blake's love changed Rachel's personality--from the subtle to the totally unexpected. These were some of the best parts of the book.

The book is long (400+ pages) because a lot of words were spent on the narrator pining away, worrying and generally being emo all-around -- which is good if you like this stuff. I must admit though that when things started to get hairy as the final countdown neared, I speed-read and skimmed some of it because the suspense was killing me! :) Awesome race to the end. And then... a fade-to-black? I don't know what to make of the ending. Feels like its missing an epilogue. Maybe there's a sequel?

Still, this is an excellent choice for people who love emotional wringers.

4.5 stars