Thursday, August 6, 2015

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Status of All Things, by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke {ends 8/14}

The truth of her words strikes me hard. I think of Courtney and her big day at Max's company. Her new job that I'm indirectly or directly responsible for, despite my best efforts to keep her away from Max. My mom was right, I needed to hang on to him. But I couldn't get the word Ruby had used out of my mind - fate. Because what I really needed to know was why the universe had sent me on this journey in the first place - and there was really only one way to find out. I had to stop using magic and let fate take its course - no matter what the outcome.

This is the second book I've read by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, the first one being Your Perfect Life, which I reviewed back in January. The author duo likes to write about new or unusual situations, and that's what we have here as well: after being dumped by her fiancee, Max, at her wedding rehearsal dinner, Kate wakes up the next day in bed with him. The hitch: she's somehow gone back in time, and it's 30 days prior to their wedding.

Official synopsis:
What would you do if you could literally rewrite your fate—on Facebook? This heartwarming and hilarious new novel from the authors of Your Perfect Life follows a woman who discovers she can change her life through online status updates.

Kate is a thirty-five-year-old woman who is obsessed with social media. So when her fiancĂ©, Max, breaks things off at their rehearsal dinner—to be with Kate’s close friend and coworker, no less—she goes straight to Facebook to share it with the world. But something’s changed. Suddenly, Kate’s real life starts to mirror whatever she writes in her Facebook status. With all the power at her fingertips, and heartbroken and confused over why Max left her, Kate goes back in time to rewrite their history.

Kate's two best friends, Jules and Liam, are the only ones who know the truth. In order to convince them she’s really time traveled, Kate offers to use her Facebook status to help improve their lives. But her attempts to help them don’t go exactly as planned, and every effort to get Max back seems to only backfire, causing Kate to wonder if it’s really possible to change her fate.

In The Status of All Things, Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke combine the humor and heart of Sarah Pekkanen and Jennifer Weiner while exploring the pitfalls of posting your entire life on the Internet. They raise the questions: What if you could create your picture-perfect life? Would you be happy? Would you still be you? For anyone who’s ever attempted—or failed—to be their perfect self online, this is a story of wisdom and wit that will leave you with new appreciation for the true status of your life.

I am a big Facebook user, so this was definitely a fun book. Some of Fenton and Steinke's observations were spot on - we put our "best selves" on Facebook and other social networks, sometimes with edited photos, so you have to take what you see with a grain of salt. Near the end of the novel, Kate runs in to her college roommate, who has two kids and is pregnant again, and sees her looking harried and stressed out; on Facebook, though, she's posted photos with her two "perfect" kids on their beach vacation.

Much like in their last book that I read, this is a bit of a "Freaky Friday" concept - minus the body switching - in that not only has Kate traveled 30 days back in time, but she finds that she can wish for things using her Facebook statuses. Those new shoes she didn't buy, but wishes she had? They're now sitting in her closet. Her friend Jules wants to look less tired, and more fresh? Done - Kate wishes for an instant makeover. Kate also has a "magic genie" of sorts, Ruby, who she runs in to in various places (Starbucks, restaurants, etc.), and Ruby warns her that these wishes aren't unlimited; Kate will now have to conserve them and really think about on what she wants to use them. 

I liked the ending of this book even though it wasn't conventional. Kate was devastated when Max leaves her at their rehearsal dinner, and she's determined to make things work "this time around" - the woman he leaves her for is one of her best work friends, so she uses one of her wishes to have their boss dislike the woman, for example - yet fate has a funny way of intervening. Near the end of the novel, Kate has to decide if she really wants to be with Max or not, and the consequences of marrying a man who she knows left her pre-altar in her "other life," the first time around. I also love books about alternate timelines (like Maybe in Another Life, which I also read recently), and this one was a great addition to that genre.

4 stars out of 5.
{Click here to purchase}

GIVEAWAY:

I have one paperback copy of The Status of All Things for a lucky reader to win!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Friday, August 14th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be contacted the next day via email and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Status of All Things book

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