3 Stars(?) I think 樂
Dang! This hurt and crazily enough, the ending wasn't a devastating surprise, because it was revealed early in the prologue. Thankfully, that also meant there wasn't the emotional manipulation I often feel in these types of stories.
While trying to write this review, it's the most conflicted I've felt when choosing a rating. I struggled with a number of issues, but I still found the story compelling. I mostly felt that the main characters made mountains out of molehills and ended up hurting themselves and others in the process. At no point had the author convinced me that Jake and Mallory were being selfless in their decisions for a "same time next year" relationship. This was disappointing, because I really liked the personalities of the main characters, but not the reasons they committed to their nonsense decisions.
There were also issues in the timeline execution. On two or more occasions, I thought I had missed something vital and had to go back to re-read, only to find out that the dates hadn't been recorded correctly and the jumps in time were confusing. The story spans over 28 years, so careful outlining and dating were critical for the discerning reader.
It took me awhile to get used to the third-person omniscient POV that was intermittently peppered within the story's third-person limited POV. It didn't bother me, but it surprised me the first couple of times it was introduced and it threw off the rhythm of the storytelling. I got used to it, but it wasn't entirely seamless.
My consensus is, if you’re often driven by your emotions when reading, the story can definitely be moving in a number of ways. If you tend to be more analytical, some of the content, character decisions, and formatting can be frustrating. I'm somewhere in the middle where I was emotionally moved, but can't dismiss the glaring issues that I encountered. This author has been recommended to me and I'm under the impression after reading a few reviews by regular readers, that it might not have been the best book to start with. Just my observation.