This is an unconventional rom-con that follows Minnie Cooper (and yes, that is her real name), who meets Quinn Hamilton at a New Year’s Eve party after Minnie ends up getting locked in a bathroom the entire night. After talking, they realize that they are somewhat kindred spirits in that they were both born thirty years prior, only a couple of minutes apart, in the same hospital on New Year’s Eve. In fact, their mothers met and the hospital and, as it turns out, there’s a bit of bad blood between the two of them. We learn the reason for this at the beginning of the story.
Apart from being born on the same day/same place, Minnie and Quinn couldn’t be more different. Quinn is being a wealthy (though charming) party-boy with commitment issues and Minnie being a hard-working, somewhat insecure business owner/chef who’s just barely getting by. It’s also worth mentioning that Minnie considers herself jinxed because horrible things nearly always happen to her on her birthday. For instance, during the year in which the main narrative occurs, she ends up locked in her bathroom all night long, and later that day loses her apartment. Thus, she tends to stay at home and hide on New Years’s Eve/New Year’s Day.
The story is told via several different timelines, and as we move through the story, we see how Minnie and Quinn are continuously brought together, often without them even realizing it or being aware of it. For instance, some of these strange parallels involve their paths crossing several times during their childhood and teenage years, though they never officially met each other.
As the narrative progresses, which is told through both of their POVs, we also learn the backstory of their mothers, an essential element of the plotline, which I found fascinating. I also enjoyed how Minnie and Quinn change their views of each other once they begin spending some time together; so in this way, they learn not to judge a book by its cover.
This novel consists of so many more layers than merely being a love story. It’s also about family dynamics, the bonds of friendship, self-esteem, emotional baggage, mental health, and following your dreams. But what really made this novel for me were the brilliant and engaging secondary characters, each of whom added depth and feeling to the story. Not only were they complex and well-drawn, but also authentic, quirky, somewhat eccentric, and utterly loyal. The author lured me in with Quinn and Minnie’s compelling story and snappy dialog, then hooked me with the endearing and captivating characters.
All in all, this This Time Next Year is an enjoyable and satisfying read.
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