Have you ever wanted a do-over in life? Played “what if?”

In real-life we seem to be stuck with the consequences of our actions, but book characters often get a second chance at getting it right.

I read two books about alternate lives just this year in my book groups, “The Midnight Library” and “The Starless Sea.”  I searched a little and found several other books where the characters get second (or many) chances at getting it right. 

“The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig- A young woman believes her life has been worthless. In the Midnight Library, she has the chance to explore what the results of different choices would be.

“The Starless Sea” by Erin Morgenstern, wherein a young man enters a fantasy world which mixes stories and reality.

“Life After Life” by Kate Atkinson is about a woman who was born with a purpose in life. Every time she failed to get to the point of her mission and died, the author orchestrated a reset and she got another chance to get it right.

“The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” by V. E. Schwab explores a girl’s choice to never die, and what becomes of her through the centuries.

“Should We Stay Or Should We Go” by Lionel Shriver tells the story of a married couple who made a pact to not be a burden to their children. What do they do when that time comes? This book explores the ramifications of a variety of choices they can make.

“How to Stop Time” by Matt Haig- The main character is a history teacher…with a lot of history.

“Before the Coffee Gets Cold” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi where customers can travel back in time to meet with loved ones, but they must come back before the coffee gets cold.

“The Book of Two Ways” by Jodi Picoult where a plane crash offers a woman the opportunity to see what her life would look like if she had made a different choice.

“Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch is a science fiction thriller about a world with parallel lives

“11/22/65” by Stephen King follows a man who is determined to kill Lee Harvey Oswald before he can kill President Kennedy.

“Landline” by Rainbow Rowell explores a woman’s chance to right some wrongs in her marriage, before they occur.

“What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty focuses on a woman who recovers from a coma, and has forgotten the past ten years with her husband.

“Homegoing” by Yaa Gyesi- not so much of a do over, as a book that shows two sisters that end up on two entirely different paths.

“Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography” was a fun read, you can read it straight through, or see where his choices might have taken him.

I haven’t read all of these books, but I have read most of them. All of these books are on the shelf at the Gering Library, and probably some more that I missed in making this list. Let me know what I should have included. If I missed too many choices, maybe this list will get a do over!

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