Dec 8 2014 1:00pm

First Look: AJ Pine’s What If (December 8, 2014)

What If by AJ PineAJ Pine
What If (If Only)
Entangled / December 8, 2014 / $0.99 digital

Sometimes it takes letting go of the past to find out who you want to be.

During his semester abroad, Griffin Reed almost gave his heart to a girl who loved someone else. Lesson learned. Now he’s home, where following in his father’s footsteps may not be what he wants, but it’s what his parents expect. It might be taking the easy road, but he doesn’t see a way out.

Something that could have killed Maggie Kendall took away the person she used to be instead. Her condition makes her dependent on sticky notes, photos, and medication just to get through each day. The last thing she needs is a distraction—or someone new to disappoint.

What they refuse to see is they are perfect for each other. Maggie makes Griffin want to be a better man, and he makes her believe a future is possible. But these two have to find a way to share the secrets ripping them apart, if they’re ever going to have a chance at happiness.

In the first book in A.J. Pine’s If Only series, Griffin is part of a love triangle that ended badly. For him. A couple years later, his former love is still happily dating his rival and Griffin no longer believes in happy endings. Which in true Romancelandia style, he hides by being the 21st century version of a rake. The broken and broken-hearted bad boy falling in love is one of my favorite tropes and Griffin does not disappoint on that front.

But it’s Maggie who sets the tone for this book and this romance.

Scarred and damaged heroines are thick on the ground in the romance section, but Maggie’s challenge stands apart. Her short term memory is damaged and she literally can’t remember anything. She forgets names and faces, even of the regulars in the coffee shop where she works. She forgets what time the bus comes every day and to lock her front door on the way out. Post-Its and Polaroid pictures are her paper memories. Her friends step up to prompt her when she falters. Which she does. A lot.

Maggie’s particular disability impacts not just the ease and convenience of her life. It robs her of the careless life of a college student. There’s no deviation from her routines because she needs that structure in order to get through the day. She has to use regimentation in lieu of recall. Worse still is the way her relationships are impacted.

If you can’t remember that you met someone, how can you form a friendship? Or a romance? Our past makes us who we are. But what if you can’t remember your past? What if you can’t remember yesterday, an hour ago, five minutes ago? It’s like literally losing a little bit of yourself.

Day after day.

Maggie just keeps her head down and struggles on, fighting past her fears and her bitterness and her sadness. She gets discouraged and disappointed and frustrated but she just keeps trying. She refuses to give into despair for long but she’s so busy trying to reclaim her old life as best she can, trying to appear “normal” that she’s closed herself off from much of life.

Then she meets Griffin. And she remembers him. She has to work for those memories, but even so, she recognizes him, without referring to her deck of Polaroids.

And even more, Griffin makes Maggie long for something more.


Learn more about or order a copy of What If  by AJ Pine, available now:

Buy at Amazon

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Julia Broadbooks writes contemporary romance. She lives in the wilds of suburban Florida with her ever patient husband and bakes ridiculous amounts of sugary treats for her teens' friends. Find her on Twitter @juliabroadbooks.

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1. wsl0612
This sounds really really sweet! Thank you for the review.
Julia Broadbooks
4. juliabroadbooks
I loved how real the whole thing felt, from Maggie's notes on pictures to remember people to waking up in Griff's bed trying to figure out if they really didn't have sex or if she simply can't remember! (Spoiler: they didn't)
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