Do Over by Serena Bell is a sweet, easy-to-read romance, but don’t be fooled. The characters still have a depth and their relationship has very realistic pitfalls. Jack definitely comes alive as we basically follow him while he blossoms into the father he never thought he could be and the partner he always wanted to be. This book really is Jack’s story, though Maddie does get a chapter and her say. She seems to be less developed than Jack, but it works because, like I said, this is Jack’s story.
I like the basis of their relationship–childhood friends, co-parents, but with hurts they need to explore before they can move forward. The past is teased out over a series of flashbacks and admissions by the characters. Most meaningful is a very short conversation between Jack and his sister that leaves you wondering just what did happen 5 years ago, when Jack supposedly broke Maddie’s heart. There is no overarching danger in this book, but Bell does a fantastic job weaving the mystery of Jack and Maddie’s past into their rocky present.
Jack’s inner dialogue is hilarious and heart-breaking. His lack of self-confidence in anything besides physical accomplishments makes me want to cuddle the little boy he was and soothe the man he’s become. It’s really refreshing to see this nice guy make his journey into accepting himself and his own past. I was rooting for him from the start, because while he’s kind of a douche-bro, you can see that he’s actually really redeemable…and it turns out that his transgressions aren’t nearly as bad as you thought.
I recommend this read if you’re looking for something light to tide you over or as a read between heavier books. It’s quick and palate cleansing, but still meaningful.