Title: In Five Years
Author: Rebecca Serle
Summary: When Type-A Dannie Kohan is asked where she sees herself in five years 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’s right on track to achieve her goals. 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—five years in the future. After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again back in 2020. 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.
I’ve seen In Five Years around the bookternet since it was published earlier this year, so I borrowed it from the library thinking that it was going to be at least somewhat romantic (because ending up with your best friend’s boyfriend does not equal fun and flirty). What I didn’t expect was starting the book at 11 pm and then not stopping until I’d finished at close to two in the morning, only to close the book and then start sobbing.
The summary says that “In Five Years is an unforgettable love story, but not the one you’re expecting”—and it is. It’s a story about the love between main character Dannie and her best friend Bella, with Serle touching on everything you could ever possibly feel for another person: frustration, joy, grief, heartbreak, companionship—and, yes, overwhelming, bursting-to-the-seams love.
I’m undecided on whether I would have liked to know how Dannie ends up with the man from her flash-forward (who, predictably, ends up being Bella’s boyfriend), or even what happens towards the end (see trigger warnings below)… but I’m not sorry I read the book. Love is often reserved solely for romance, but that’s not what happens in the real world.
When Bella tells Dannie, “I wish you understood that you could have love beyond your wildest dreams. Stuff movies are made of. You’re meant for that, too.” Dannie immediately thinks she isn’t because her romantic relationship has ended. But Bella responds, “You are. You know how I know?… Because that’s the way you love me.”
Will this book make you cry? Probably. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
Warning: this book deals with cancer (ovarian) and death.