Popsugar Reading Challenge 2021 – Book 8

Prompt: A magical realism book

As far as possible this I am trying to read books that I already own for this challenge. Magical realism isn’t a genre that I tend to go for, but I received a copy of In Five Years by Rebecca Serle in one of my MynBook Moment subscription boxes last year and it fits the prompt well enough for me to be able to use it. It was also a surprisingly quick read.

What it’s about?

From Goodreads:

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.

What I think:

I started reading this while my Little Monster wasnhaving a zoom ballet lessons and I could not put it down. I flew through it in two quick sittings. Admittedly it is a fairly short book – my paperback is just 251 pages – but it’s really compelling.

While I personally don’t think I am particularly like either of the characters, both Dannie and Bella are easy to identify with. Dannie is hard working and focused. She has a career plan and works hard to achieve her goals. Belle is creative and spontaneous, warm and loving. Childhood friends, they have maintained their friendship and emotional closeness well into adulthood.

This is not a typical example of magical realism. The magical element is based around one central event – a dream that Dannie has – she can see everything so vividly – the apartment and the man she is with, and it’s five years in the future. The writer herself says that the magic is not “overarching”, but it is important that Dannie believes her experiences and they have power over her imagination and how she acts in the future.

The future that Dannie glimpses sees her leaving her life plans, her fiancé and her accustomed style of white apartments and tailored suits.

The dream is so real that it haunts Dannie for years to come. And when she meets Aaron, the man she is engaged to she starts to think about her future and whether or not she is able to control her destiny and be happy.

The central love story in this book is actually the friendship between Bella and Dannie. Despite being opposites, they bring harmony to each other lives. Dannie brings security, efficiency and practicality whereas Bella brings energy colour and spontaneity. Their love for each other has grown and faced many challenges as they have matured but ultimately it is what endures.

This was an enjoyable read. There are parts that are incredibly sad without being sentimental. Dannie is a really strong protagonist and her story definitely continues beyond the pages of the book.

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