Young Adult Review: What If by Rebecca Donovan

Title: What If
Author: Rebecca Donovan
Series: N/A
Acquired: Review
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Penguin
Release date: 22nd January 2015

Cal Logan moved on since high school. He’s no longer the skinny, geeky looking kid but now has a new life away at college. The day he sees Nicole Bentley he cannot believe his eyes. No one has seen or heard from her since graduation. 

The girl is not Nicole though, she’s Nyelle Preston; daring, bold and everything that Nicole isn’t. Cal can’t help but want to get to know Nyelle better seeing as he’s had a crush on Nicole since they were both children but she’s keeping secrets and Cal can’t figure out why. 

I’m sure we’ve all got those friends we went to school with, were pretty close to and then grew apart from. I know I have and I’ve often wondered what happened to them. What If is a story about friendship and how things can change whether it be due to moving away or just finding different friends. What If tells the story of four childhood friends who live close to one another. As children they are inseparable but due to various things, they drift apart. 

Cal is the main narrator as the story really does have more to do with him. He’s away at college and has stayed best friends with Rae since they were children. Richelle moved away and they didn’t keep in touch but Nicole is a bit of a mystery. Cal had a crush on her for a long time and it never really stopped, even though he hasn’t spoken to her for years. When he sees someone that looks exactly like her but acts differently, he can’t help but wonder if it really is her and something happened between graduation and the present day. The girl goes by Nyelle though and is nothing like the Nicole Cal used to know.  

While a large part of the book is spent with Cal and Nyelle in the present, there are also flashbacks to the group’s childhood through chapters narrated by each of the four characters. I really liked both aspects of What If as it was important to learn what happened to everyone over the course of many years. Children change, grow, turn into teenagers and learn different things about life that affects who they are and what they do. Cal, Nicole, Rae and Richelle are all really different people with different personalities so I enjoyed figuring out why they all became friends in the first place. 

Another thing I loved about this book was Cal and Nyelle together. Cal thinks Nyelle is Nicole and he can’t get the idea out of his head but he has no way of proving it and Rae thinks he’s insane. So, Cal attempts to get to know Nyelle to figure out if he’s right or not and she has a completely different personality to Nicole. Nyelle is impulsive, daring, fun and crazy and Cal doesn’t know what to make of her at all. Both Cal and Nyelle are really fun characters to read about especially as they get to know one another. They get up to some really silly and crazy things and it gave the story a great feel to it. 

What If is a lot more than the things I have written about in this review but writing about them would really spoil the story for others who want to read it but haven’t yet. As a fan of Rebecca Donovan’s other books I wasn’t disappointed at all with this one. What If is super fun coming of age story but a mystery to try to solve added in. I couldn’t have enjoyed this one more!

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