Friday, January 28, 2011

Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen

5 Star

Julia and Michael have been so ambitious in their respective careers that they don't discover they've been less ambitious about their marriage until it's too late.  When Michael suffers a near death experience and wakes vowing to change everything, including leaving behind their overabundant lifestyle and repairing their now distant relationship, Julia has to make a terrifying choice. Is it worth leaving behind her comfortable life to fall back in love with him or should she leave the man who had already become a stranger years ago?

Lydia - 5 Star

I loved everything about this novel from the unique story line, to the dynamics between Julia and Michael and the supporting cast. Skipping a Beat explores love, marriage, family, ambition and success, and its unique and intimate voice delivers an intensely compelling and satisfying read.

Reading Skipping a Beat felt like curling up in front of a fireplace with a glass of wine and new friend while she unveiled her life story.  It was that intimate.  It was that real.  It carried that much depth of emotion. The way the story unfolds felt exactly like someone would tell it in confidence to a new friend who wasn’t aware of her situation or history. I found this fascinating and am certain I've never read another novel that had quite the same feel or drew me in as casually and intimately as Skipping a Beat. 

I loved Julia's character. She felt so real to me and was so complex that even though I didn’t always agree with her or felt her cold at times, I understood her decisions and feelings at every turn.  I rooted for her and related to her even without the same marital or financial situation. I wanted her to fall back in love with Michael, to see past her own financial insecurities and move forward and I couldn’t stop flipping pages to see what would happen.

The possibility of falling back in love with your spouse after veering so far apart appealed to my romantic side and the other marital discussions including the exploration of trust within a marriage had me thinking at every turn. Even though I thought I knew what was going to happen, there were surprises that held predictability at bay. 

I'm normally not a fan of the flashback, but Pekkanen doesn’t fail to deliver. Each memory is unraveled exactly when it needed to be and was impeccably tied into the present day plot. I'm not sure this story would have worked any other way, especially with the intimate voice.  
Pekkanen has just raised the chick lit bar.  This was storytelling at its best.  Chick lit fans, and anyone leery of the genre won’t be disappointed. I am certain we will be hearing from Pekkanen for a long time to come.  Pre-order Skipping a Beat today. You won't be disappointed.

Kathryn - 5 Star

Lydia loved this book so I was hopeful that I would relate more to the characters than I did to those in my last Pekkanen read.  From the very first pages I was intrigued by Julia’s seemed indifference to her husband’s heart attack and from then on found the entire novel to be an emotional roller coaster.  Although I didn’t always like or agree with the main characters their situation came across as realistic so it didn’t bother me that I sometimes  would have done something differently.

Their journey from teen romance to adulthood is well written and as the history between Julia and Micheal is unveiled slowly throughout the novel, the timing of each bit of information given to the reader is flawless and really gave me a sense of their love and then how it gradually unraveled through their miscommunication.  It was utterly relatable and honest.

There were a few things I noted through the read that I particularly liked.  For example the character of Noah was thoughtful and provided a lot of insight for them both about how they’d been living their lives.  I also appreciated Isabelle as Julia’s closest friend- it was a little strange to me that neither Micheal nor Julia had any friends from their hometown and I would imagine that that fueled some of their own miscommunication- without friends to bounce things off of perhaps you can’t have the vision to see the other person’s viewpoint?

I really enjoyed Skipping a beat- it made me think and cry on occasion- but I appreciate most that it reminded me about the importance of not jumping to conclusions.

Thank you to Atria Books for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
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