Cover Image: Five First Chances

Five First Chances

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I received a complimentary copy of this book "Five First Chances" and all opinions expressed are my own. I found this a bit difficult to get into. It was an interesting story. I do like time loop stories but this one didn't flow well for me. It was an okay book.
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Before you start this one, make sure to grab your tissues!  Five First Chances starts off pretty light, and perhaps a little cliche, but very quickly the characters become nuanced and intriguing.  After about a quarter of the way in I was hooked and did not put this book down.  The story covers some heavy topics, and it is one of those stories that will both break and warm your heart.  I absolutely loved this one!
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4 stars!

When I began reading "Five First Chances" by Sarah Jost, I was not sold until about 20ish% in. It took a long time for the story and characters to click for me, but once they did, I really found myself enjoying this book. Don't go in expecting a fluffy, easygoing romance... it gets really dark and hard to read at times because of its subject matter. It can be bittersweet and heartbreaking, but it can also be miraculous, joyful, and restorative. As Lou, the female main character, relives a portion of her life over and over again, she learns how to be a better person, more open and honest, and someone who doesn't just live in the shadows of her life. She also connects with the main male character, Nick, more and more every go-around. She finds out that Nick is her destiny rather quickly. The question is: can she stop the inevitable from happening so she can get her life right? I liked the characters in this book, and I like how they learn from their mistakes and change over time. Lou starts out as selfish and kind of hard to root for, but her motivations and mannerisms are explored as the book continues. She learns to be strong, to be independent, to ask for what she wants, to trust herself, and to not take life for granted. Each of Lou's "chances" are *just* different enough to not be overly repetitive. Some might call me weird, but I actually love the way this book ends. I think it makes Lou's story and her struggles all that more impactful. I also liked Nick as a character, as well as many of the supporting players who also learn and grow as the story moves on. This is a slowly paced read, so I have a hunch many people will give up on it before it gets good... please don't do that! Take a chance on this book. You won't regret it. It will make you feel things you didn't know you were capable of feeling, and it will make you think about things you may not have considered in the past.

Thank you to NetGalley, Sarah Jost, and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for providing me with an ARC copy of this book! All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for my review.
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Thanks to Sourcebooks for the copy of this book!

Sad romances are absolutely my JAM, but I do sometimes struggle with time loops, so was interested to see what I'd think of this one. It took awhile for me to connect and it touched on a lot of heavy subjects, but I did enjoy the character growth in this novel.
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I think this was just not a good fit for me. I couldn't get into the flow of the story. Doesn't mean it won't work for others.
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I can't believe Five First Chances is a debut title! The writing is lyrical and flows so well. The many difficult themes were portrayed with sensitivity and grace. Time loops can be hard to do but Jost writes it with intelligence and makes it so interesting. This book will take over your entire life until you are done reading it.
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Five First Chances by Sarah Jost
First things first: don’t go into this book expecting a love story. 

This is a story about second chances, I mean more than one chance at happiness in life. There was a bit of “Butterfly effect” to the story. Lou feels like she is not living a life she wanted so when she gets a do-over she changes something to try to make herself happier. Little does she realize that there are many things that make up a happy life.
I liked this book for what it was, which was again not a love story. There was a message I picked up throughout this book that we need to be more aware of not just ourselves and what makes us happy, but WHO makes us happy and how they are thinking and feeling. 
Also this book is pretty incredibly sad. I didn’t sob my eyes out but there was a lot of sad emotions for a major plot part of the story. 
4⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Thank you sourcebooks 
Posted to @staciathebookworm 5/8/23
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Time loops throw me for a loop (literally). The back and forth frustrates me but overall it was a decent read.
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Five First Chances by Sarah Jost is a jump back in time. Louise finds herself in groundhog day as things keep replaying for her giving her new chances at things in her life. As she goes through each one she makes different choices. For example, her relationships are impacted with these decisions.  You know a book is good when tears are shed and this definitely had them for me.  I would recommend if you enjoy a second or in this case five chances.
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I enjoyed the concept of this story, but didn't much care for the execution. I didn't like the prose very much, it seemed too wordy at times and I found myself wanting to skim over larger paragraphs to get to the point.
Louise was unlikeable as an MC to me. I got frustrated with her most of the time, she was a grown woman but behaved immaturely. At first I was interested to see what she would do differently the next go-around, but I became annoyed more than once.
The book was also a bit slow-going and took me longer to get into than I would have liked. It was almost a DNF for me, but I kept going because I was impatient for the fifth chance to happen.

I like stories about time loops and glitches, but in this case it just felt a bit messy. There was no explanation to the time loops, they just happen. Why are they happening? What is making them happen? The fact that the do-overs lasted a span of two years made it confusing, I found it difficult to keep track of the significant days. Also, there is bound to be some repetitiveness, but I think this book was too long and some of it could have been avoided.
The story just didn't come together very well in my opinion.
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Five First Chances by Sarah Jost missed being a DIK for me only because I don’t think I could ever read it again. Part of this is because one of the joys of this story is how it reveals itself in carefully building layers (a one-time experience impossible to recreate after reading), and the other is because the ending is a tough one.

Louise - Lou - Saudan is devastated when she learns, while attending a funeral no less, that her ex-boyfriend has become engaged. Four years earlier, she had fled her native Switzerland after Romain broke her heart, hoping to find a new start as a French teacher in London. Things hadn’t worked out quite as she’d planned, though. The one good friend she’d made - her flatmate Suki - asked her to move out and they’d lost the closeness they once shared, and teaching a bunch of high schoolers proves to be a real challenge. She’s just so very lonely.

Worst of all, Lou is convinced that she and Romain could have made it work, if only she hadn’t blown off a text he’d sent her a couple of years back. She had been attending Suki’s birthday party at a local pub and hadn’t known how to respond to Romain’s message. “I was thinking of you. Will I have the pleasure of seeing you at my book launch?” Fearful of having her heart broken again, she never answered his text, and, she fears, has blown her chance at real happiness forever. Now, she would give anything to be back with Romain, to do things all over again.

Then something odd happens, and Lou finds herself sent back in time to the night of Suki’s birthday party. Not really knowing what’s happened to her beyond a strong sense of déjà vu, she’s fully aware, however, that she’s been given a second chance to do things right. This time, Lou replies to Romain that she misses him as well, and before long, she’s returned to Switzerland and is back with the man of her dreams. But things aren’t as perfect as she imagines they should be. Her mother is suffering from severe depression after the death of Lou’s grandmother, and her sister, Marion, is resentful that Lou left her behind to deal with things. Romain isn’t quite the charmer she remembers him to be. She’s dismayed to discover that this life is pretty awful and that if only she hadn’t returned to Romain, things might be better. Before she knows it, she finds herself transported back in time to two years prior and the night of Suki’s birthday party…

Over the course of the story, Lou is afforded more chances to go back to the same night to start over and make changes to try to build a happier outcome. With each new cycle, she learns things about herself and grows stronger and more confident in who she is and what she wants.

I can’t speak too much more about the plot without giving away major spoilers. This is truly the case of a story revealing itself slowly, like the layers of an onion peeling away. Each passage through the same two year time period allows Lou to interact with the people in her life in different ways, discovering where she’s made mistakes and how to do it better this time around. With each round the other characters also change as Lou reformulates her relationships with them. Five First Chances does contain a romance, but much of the focus is on Lou’s learning to be her best self and on her relationships with the people in her life.

The time travel element is handled in a unique way, accepted and never really questioned by Lou once she realizes what is happening. We don’t get any explanation for how or why it happens either, in general, or to Lou specifically. You just have to go with it. The first ‘chance’ sets up Lou’s life as it progresses based on her decision to ignore Romain’s text. Each subsequent one she receives covers roughly the same handful of dates and events that unspool in different ways based on the new choices Lou has made each time around. Jost does an amazing job of offering vastly differing scenarios of how things might play out, and I was hooked from the very beginning.

One thing I really loved is how some characters appear in each chance in a different capacity depending on Lou’s choices and what she’s learned over time (lawyer Ben), or how some events become central in one iteration but are only mentioned off-handedly in another. Jost weaves story elements in and out of each scenario organically like special threads in a cloth that you can spot if you look carefully.

A side note: I read this book as a combo audio/e-book (multitasking!), and I really enjoyed the narration by Amy Scanlon. She made the characters come alive, expertly expressing the wide range of emotions portrayed in the story.

As I stated in my opening paragraph, this book does contain a rough ending. If you need a traditional happily-ever-after or even a happy-for-now ending, you will be disappointed. But I cannot recommend this book highly enough as a unique take on time travel and great exploration of a woman’s personal growth. We should all be so lucky as to get the chance to do some things over again.
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Lou feels like she’s stuck in a rut personally and professionally. She moves to England from Switzerland for a change and shortly after, her former partner announces his engagement to someone else. She suddenly feels herself slipping back in time to two years ago to try to change the trajectory of her life. 

I love and am obsessed with time loop novels. However, this one didn’t really work for me. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about it didn’t gel right. 

Louise as a character was just ok. I really liked Nick though and the supporting characters like Yuki and Marion. 

I got bored about halfway through, but kept going and was not disappointed by the end. I really did like the ending. 

If you liked In Five Years by Rebecca Serle, you’ll probably like this book too.
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This is one of those books that stays with you long after you read it. Very interesting concept and excellent execution.
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It's a really well written book. I love the style, tone, voice and plot of the book. It was easy to follow along with and it is a interesting story line. I was rooting for the main character as she stumbled through second third and even forth chances. Definitely a good book if you like women fiction and romance books.
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Short synopsis: Lou is given the five chances to live the life of her dreams. 

My thoughts: I almost quit this one a number of times. I didn’t connect with the story until about halfway through. All-in-all I’m glad I stuck with it. There were some great character growth and depth that ultimately came with this poignant story. 

I thought it was fun that the more times she went back, the more she remembered what she’d done before. I loved the way it ended, and the learning experiences Lou and Nick had together. 

Read if you love: 
- Time loops
- Tragic storylines
- Sad romances 
- Character growth 
- Great friendships 

Thank you to Sourcebooks for an early copy of this book!
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I love a good time loop novel/Groundhog Day concept, and this was no exception. I really enjoyed this one even though I thought that it had a bittersweet vibe to the ending. I think you’d enjoy it if you were a fan of The Midnight Library or Maybe In Another Life.
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I received this and as an eARC to read for free in exchange for my honest review. Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for giving me access.

Firstly, this had a good premise.
Secondly, this was not for me.

With time loops and multiple chances to change something, I guess I was hoping for a different outcome. I found myself bored at times and the time loops were inconsistent. Some were fast and some took ages. While some can appreciate the repetitiveness, I find that one time-loop was enough with the amount of heartbreaks involved.
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This book hurt me. I cannot even tell you how hard I cried towards the end and I can honestly still say it was worth it. If you're a fan of a Groundhog's Day-type time loop and an imperfect MC just trying to get her shit together one chance at a time, this could very well possibly be for you. We get to see Louise make both big and little changes five different times around and have a connection with a second character, Nick, in each one of them. These kinds of books always just make me sit and contemplate life. Like I'm not sure I would EVER want to be stuck in a time loop like that, even "just" five times but being able to fix mistakes and find out more about yourself and the people around you each time would really be interesting. Overall, this book will hurt you, but it will also heal you, too.
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Wow! I wasn't sure about this book at the beginning, but I wanted to see where it was going and I am so glad I did. In this story, Lou continues to move back in time to the same night as she tries to figure out how to make her life work out as it should. As she does, she learns about family and love. 

I don't want to give any spoilers, so I will just say that each "chance" reveals a little more about Lou, her family and friends, and the man she feels is the one, Nick. She keeps going back in order to fix her mistakes and notices more and more about herself and things that she didn't before. 

This book will make you laugh and cry. Kudos to Jost for a moving story that keeps you coming back chance after chance!

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for this ARC! All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark for my advanced copy of Five First Chances by Sarah Jost. 

I either love or hate time loop books and unfortunately this one was more on the meh side for me.  I struggled to connect with the main character and ultimately this book was just too long for me.
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