REVIEW: Life in Plan B – Jennifer Vessells

Life in Plan B Book Cover Life in Plan B
Jennifer Vessells
Chick Lit

When twenty-eight year old Haley Simpson, a sales associate for her best friend’s clothing boutique in Columbus, Ohio, begins a secret affair with the boutique’s potential New York City business partner, she digs a cavernous hole of deception that not only threatens to end her blossoming career, but to destroy a life-long friendship. 

Jennifer Vessells's debut novel, LIFE IN PLAN B, encompasses everything classic chick lit should: the dynamics of friendship, the nuances of high-reaching career aspirations, and the struggles – both usual and unique – presented by romantic and familial relationships. An entertaining story at every turn, LIFE IN PLAN B is identifiable for readers of any age. In short, Ms. Vessells hits her debut novel out of the park!

I received a copy of this e-book in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

This book made me remember that it is the characters that make a book good, but what you do with those characters that makes a book great. I think Life in Plan B was a good example of that, in some ways.

I loved the cast of characters. In fact, I liked them enough that I’d more than happily read about what happens next in their lives, should Vessells decide a sequel is in order. Protagonist Hayley resonated with me especially, because both she and I are struggling with the concept of what it means to live in your ‘Plan B’ life – ie; to not have achieved the dreams we had for our future selves.

The stumbling block for me came when I went to describe this book to a friend, and saw that it fit the standard chick lit girl-meets-two-hot-guys-and-makes-a-series-of-foolish-decisions-before-coming-to-her-senses plot. In many ways, I don’t mind this, because it’s the unique characters that add a point of difference. However, if you’re the kind of person who reads predominantly chick lit, it can get very predictable.

Vessells did throw in a few twists that blindsided me, which was great. She also gets credit for avoiding the obvious and cliche ending that many other authors wouldn’t have.

I can tell I’m fence-sitting a little here. Essentially, I really liked this book, the characters, and the little details in the subplots. That said, I am sick of reading the same main storyline on repeat, and would have liked this book even more had it deviated from that norm. I suppose that’s an ingrained part of the genre though, and so I can’t really penalise anyone for it.

So, I gave this book 4 stars; as a standalone piece of fiction, it was well-written and engaging. I just worry that it contributed to a wider problem in the chick lit genre. Maybe I should’ve saved those concern for a post of it’s own!  You can get a copy of this paperback, with it’s super cute cover, from Book Depository here, Amazon here – or, the e-book here, if that floats your boat. And honestly, I recommend you read it!

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