Plot: 2/5 Characters: 3/5 Writing: 3/5 Entertainment: 3/5 World Building: 2/5
“If I Could Turn Back Time” is a passable love story. Due to its short length and the fact that I’m not usually one for romance, there’s really not much else to say about it. For the sake of a decent word count I’ll add that that the title made me want to break into song every time I turned on my kindle, but I’m not sure how useful that information is.
Sarah is a college senior who has carried the weight of regret on her shoulders every day for the past four years. When a heart-breaking news story brings her pain back to the surface, she’s uncertain how to process it or why it’s come back to haunt her in the first place, but that all comes to screeching halt when she wakes up to find herself at home, four years in the past. Now it’s up to Sarah to right past wrongs, make new choices, and even save lives.
The premises is interesting and relatable enough. Who hasn’t wished they could back and make different choices if they had the chance? The idea lends itself to a lot of creative scenarios, especially since Cowles placed the story in the future, and great character development, but due to the book’s short length (152 pages to be exact), very little of that is taken advantage of.
The characters are believable enough, but we don’t get a lot of time to get to know them or, more importantly, come to care about them. Sarah’s internal struggle has a similar problem in that the reader can understand why she wants to change things, but she does it so fast and with such ease that there’s never any sense of urgency. The writing is good (with the exception of some misplaced quotation marks and odd formatting choices), but I don’t think I’d recommend anyone read the book for its craft alone like I have with books in the past. Over all, the elements come together to make an okay, but not great, read.
So, if you’re a die-hard romance fan, have enjoyed Cowles’ other books, or just need a quick read, you might enjoy “If I Could Turn Back Time.” If you’re looking for something with a bit more meat to it, you might want to keep browsing.