Do you remember the 21st night of September? Because Barrett Bloom does.
“See You Yesterday” is my fifth Rachel Lynn Solomon novel. I can’t seem to stop reading her rom-coms; they always seem to have the most interesting hooks with the wackiest casts of characters, and Solomon’s latest YA novel is no exception.
Barrett is just beginning her freshman year at the University of Washington, and she’s having a terrible day. Her roommate turns out to be her high school nemesis, and some guy makes fun of her in physics class. But her day goes from bad to worse when she sets a frat house on fire.
And then she wakes up, and it’s the same day. And that guy from physics? He’s been living this day for months now.
Barrett is extremely annoying. She has to be, at the start of the book. Her love interest, Miles, is too. But as they spent more and more of their days (day?) together, I grew to genuinely like them. I wanted them to get out of this time loop so badly that I could not stop reading.
Now, do I think this book was a lot like “Today Tonight Tomorrow,” but in college and with a “Groundhog Day”-esque premise? Yes. The cover is literally the exact same thing but in pink.
But I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. When you pick up this book, you know what you’re in for, and that’s the fun thing about romances — the point of reading it is more about the journey the characters go through to get to where they need to be.
Solomon’s humor is on point as usual; she doesn’t make the terrible millennial mistake of incorporating too many pop culture references, and her characters also don’t sound like they’re from decades ago. Barrett and Miles’ romance is adorable, and despite the confines of the time loop, I also loved the relationships they developed with the side characters.
The one thing I would like to point out, though, is that this book is ultimately written by a white person, and that readers of color should be advised that the representation in this book, though abundant and inoffensive, probably isn’t going to be accurate to real experience. Miles is biracial — Jewish on his dad’s side, Japanese on his mom’s side — and the only time they discuss his identity in the novel was cringe-worthy at best.
This is an issue with pretty much every book written by a white person I’ve ever read, and that speaks to publishing’s need for diverse works told by authors who share their characters’ experiences. (Solomon’s representations of Jewish identity and mental illness are, as always, rich and nuanced.)
That all being said, I loved “See You Yesterday.” Which shouldn’t have surprised me, given how much I loved “Palm Springs,” a Hulu movie with essentially the same premise but set at a wedding.
“See You Yesterday” comes out on May 17, 2022. I received an early copy from the publisher, Simon and Schuster, in exchange for an honest review.