This book combines a lot of my favorite things all into one: “time travel”, marriage, children, and a “not-too-sappy” love story. I enjoy YA novels, but much more enjoy then when they are geared towards older, married/have children, audience.
Georgie (main character) and her husband Neal, who have 2 young daughters, have been together since college and married for ~15 years. She and Neal are polar opposites in their work fields, he studied oceanography (now a stay-at-home dad) and she became a sitcom writer. She loves California, grew up there, and is required to stay there for her job. Neal would love to move back home to Nebraska, but sacrifices this for Georgie and her career. The present Christmas, Georgie and Neal are supposed to go home to Neal’s family like they do every year. However, because Georgie and her best friend/writing partner, Seth, have landed the biggest deal yet on making their own TV show, but the deadline makes her need to be home during the time they are supposed to go to Nebraska.
Naturally, Georgie stays for her career and best friend, but instead of Neal staying with her and being with her for Christmas, he up and leaves with the girls in tow to Nebraska. This is where I, personally speaking as a mom and wife, would just say it can wait until after Christmas and just go and be with my family. But no, she still stays. As many times as she tries to contact him, though, he never answers. So, she thinks that this may be the last straw to a never-ending argument that has been going on for years, where Georgie always puts herself first and never considers Neal’s feelings whatsoever. I mean, go be with your family, the show and Seth will still be here until you get back. Jeez, at the very least take your laptop with you and do your writing and send it to Seth while you’re up there.
While she can’t get Neal to answer her, she doesn’t want to go home to an empty house. She instead goes to stay at her mother’s house with her, her step-dad, and sister (who is still in high school, so her and Georgie have a significant amount of years between them). She stays in her old room, which hasn’t been changed much since she left for college many years ago, and she sees and old (yet still new) rotary landline phone. Here’s where things get interesting. Since she doesn’t want to go home, where her chargers are, her cell is dead 99% of the time, so to try to get a hold of Neal, she uses the landline. When she calls, Neal’s mother answers, then she gets Neal, but he sounds different. Younger. And then she hears Neal’s dad. Who’s been deceased for years. Odd.
Upon several conversations over the next few days, she realizes that she is talking to the young Neal. From when they were in college, before they got engaged, married, and had kids. She’s also worried that her talking to him might alter their current future where they are married with children. So, she has to be careful on what she says, otherwise she might end up talking Neal out of marrying her and therefore end her current life as she knows it.
***This is a story of love, family, and not taking for granted what and who you have. This is by far one of the better love stories I’ve read, especially in the YA genre. I highly recommend reading this around Christmas time because of the feels. Also, if you have any doubts on this book because you read Fangirl, please put that judgement aside, because this is definitely a book you want to read. I don’t enjoy sappy love stories and this is not one of those. This hit the nail on the head as far as what “real” relationships and marriages are like. Don’t miss out.***