Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen – Book Review

Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen
Published by Washington Square Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

When Julia’s husband dies, her whole life changes, although not quite the way you might expect. Julia’s incredibly successful, self-made husband Michael suffers a cardiac arrest in the middle of a board meeting and dies for over four minutes. Their marriage has been strained, to say the least, for several years, but it is Michael’s behavior after he is brought back to life that pushes their relationship to the breaking point. After being temporarily dead, Michael decides that he needs to make things right. In his race for the top he stepped on lots of people and did not spend nearly the time he should have with Julia. Hence his split-second decision to sell his company and give all of his money away to charity. Unsure if she even knows her husband anymore, Julia decides that this is all the last straw, although she agrees to give Michael the three weeks he asks for to make it up to her.

I would say that Sarah Pekkanen has done it again, but actually with Skipping a Beat she has done something different – and even more fabulous – than she did with her first book, The Opposite of Me. Everyone who has ever been in any relationship understands things going slowly cold, two people slowly growing apart. It happens in friendships, romantic relationships, and it happens in Michael and Julia’s marriage. The universality of the situation is incredibly appealing about the book, but the story could have ended up trite. Universal can also mean overdone.

I don’t know exactly when Julia became so incredibly real to me, but she absolutely was. Every time she hurt, I hurt; every time she felt hope, I felt hope. Books don’t often make me cry, other than the end of the 5th and 6th Harry Potter books. Skipping a Beat, though, made me sob. For 25 pages straight. That is far longer than I cried during either Harry Potter, and I had spent thousands of pages caring about those characters. I cared about Julia and her marriage to Michael in a way that is rare among the 200+ books I read in a year. Plus there was the fact that I started the book late at night when I was sick and exhausted and finished it less than 12 hours later, because I was just that completely engaged with their story.

I don’t think I can recommend this highly enough.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound | Amazon*

Source: Author’s publicist. This review also makes me eligible in a sweepstakes from the publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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16 comments to Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen – Book Review

  • I felt the exact same way! Sooooo good!

  • I absolutely could not agree more. There’s something very, very special about this story and this book. It resonates so fully and complexly.

    (And boy, am I with you on the crying – so many tears toward the end!)

  • Meg

    Sobbing for 25 pages straight?! Oh goodness, not sure I can handle it… but I’m going to find a way to make it through! All the rave reviews have definitely gotten to me. Hope to buy this one soon.

  • The next time I feel the need for a good cry I’ll pick this book up! I’m tempted to ask you if it has a happy ending, but I’ll wait and see for myself…

  • This sounds like it might emotionally destroy me, but exactly what I need to grab the next time I need a good cry. This isn’t something I’d probably normally pick up but it sounds unique and your review has sold me. Adding it to the TBR pile!

  • Terrific review, I’ve been hearing such good things about this book.

  • That is almost a double-dog dare…can I read this without crying? Usually it is just dying animals that get me. You are not the first person to say that the characterization was spot on in this book. I may need to hunt this one down.

  • Thank you for the review. My copy never arrived so I shall have to have DH pick one up for me.

  • I loved this book too! You’re right – Julia was very real.

  • Crystal

    Jen – I love your review, thanks so much for sharing. Glad you enjoyed the book – I found myself very emotionally invested as well!

  • Jen,
    Thank you so much for this wonderful review… now we’re even. You’ve made me cry! xoxo, Sarah

  • kay

    Oh wow, it sounds amazing! It’s rare characters that make you feel this way, isn’t it? It was already on my wishlist but your review makes me look forward to it even more.

  • Wow this sounds like such a deeply moving read. I love when characters really grab you like that – where you are emotionally moved by what happens to them. This sounds like a book that cannot be missed.

  • MDG

    I loved, loved, loved this book. Your review is spot on. I actually re-read the last 50 pages 3 times (and cried 3x), b/c I just didn’t want to let go of these characters.