ONE YEAR LEFT, BY J.C. ROBINSON
PUBLICATION: APRIL 29, 2017
About the book: In the last year of his life, Will moves to Portland in search of happiness, but the disappointment and despair of his past aren’t influenced by distance. Then he meets his new roommate, Kristen. Even with her own emotional scars, she’s everything he’s ever wanted. The trouble is, old habits are hard to break and if they can’t find a way to move forward, they risk losing their best chance at love.
One Year Left is an upcoming novel from author J.C. Robinson about a young man named Will that leaves Maryland for Portland to begin “his last year.” Will and his best friend, Daichi are starting a food truck/ice cream truck and Will moves into an apartment and meets his new roommate Kristen. Although socially awkward and not one with a good track record with girls, Will feels an instant connection to Kristen. Although Kristen also feels the instant connection, they both have to overcome past issues in order to move forward.
Let me start with what I liked about the book. Honestly, there wasn’t much, but I am a sucker for “love at first sight” stories where characters have an instant connection. Will and Kristen’s relationship was so easy and effortless from the very start. There was an obvious attraction but there was also an instant friendship and respect between them. Even though Kristen had a history with dating the wrong guys, I also like how she quickly got rid of her boyfriend Cooper. He wasn’t monstrous or anything, but just not a sweet, loving guy. I like that she stood up to him and sent him packing.
I don’t typically like to reveal or discuss things that give away spoilers, but let me address the title of this novel (actually more of a novella, it’s very short). Will claims to have one year left and when he first gets to Portland he tells his friend Daichi that all he has planned during his “last year” are 4 doctor appointments. So, I was thinking he’s terminally ill – especially because he gets all tired and worn out carrying things up or down the steps. Anyway, the title and his premise never made any sense. He explained further that he wanted to find purpose, which also leads me to believe he was wanting to do something meaningful with his life before dying. Nope, not it at all. I’m guessing the “one year left” was a metaphor about needing to change his ways and change his life in order to lead a happy and productive life, but who the hell knows? Maybe he was going to commit suicide at the end of a year if his life didn’t improve? He has no job, no money, no plans, and just ups and leaves for Portland. Is his family wealthy? Did he sell his belongings? Rob a bank? I can’t help but think of the practical and logistical things in these stories, so just some thoughts.
Also, I need to address the flashbacks in this book. Certain author friends of mine – you know who you are – know that I am a flashback fan. However, I also feel that they need to be necessary and identifiable. The way the flashbacks are presented, it’s difficult to realize that you are, in fact, reading a flashback. I kept thinking that I was still in the present when it would turn out Will was talking about something from the past. I do think the flashbacks were relevant and contributed to the characterization, but actually, they just made me dislike him more. I just couldn’t find many redeeming qualities within Will anyway and the flashbacks to his lifetime of no self-confidence just made it worse.
Despite my somewhat ranting review, I think that this story had a lot of promise if things would have been better explained and most importantly if I would have been giving more time with Will to see some progress regarding inner thoughts, self-esteem, self-worth, and so on. I also would have liked more explanation and development of the “one year left” thing. Sweet idea, but didn’t do it for me.
*Thanks to the author for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.