Monday, July 3, 2023

The Second Chance Store - Fiction Review

Goodreads: The Second Chance Store by Lauren Bravo

Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  City dweller Gwen feels like she’s living a secondhand life. She’s thirty-eight, perpetually single, and in dire need of a dentist’s appointment. Her friends are busy procreating in the country, and conversations with her parents seem to revolve entirely around hedge borders and the trash pickup schedule. Above all she’s lonely. But then, isn’t everyone?

Then she’s let go from a job she drifted into a decade ago and never left, and Gwen realizes it’s time to make a change, starting with cleaning out her apartment. In the charity shop where she literally and metaphorically unloads her baggage, she discovers a group of weird and wonderful people devoted to finding a new home for donated items that have lost their use elsewhere. Gwen volunteers there—and finds a new home for herself among her fellow workers while discovering joy in the untold stories of secondhand things.

Now it’s time for Gwen to get out of her life in pause, and to find a way to move forward with bravery and humanity—and more regular dental care.

Genre: Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:  I love books about people starting over and this sounded wonderful.

My Impression:  There was a lot I liked about this book.  Gwen is definitely in need of a change.  Everything in her life has kept going while she has stalled.  The environment of the charity shop was interesting with an assortment of customers and volunteers all of whom were interesting with their own backstories and problems.  The setting makes the characters a real cross section of the community as we see people from all professions, financial situations, and ages both volunteering, donating, and shopping.  

What kept this book from being a total win for me was every other chapter focusing on an item that had been donated.  While each item was interesting the backstory of the object was fleshed out to the point that I would get invested in that and then feel pulled out of the book when the focus would change back to Gwen.  On the other side it felt like just I was starting to connect to Gwen and the other volunteers I was yanked out of the plot to read about a random item.  I liked getting the stories of the items but I think I would have enjoyed it more if it the story of the item was a small paragraph at the chapter heading.  

This was a great concept that didn't quite live up to its potential in execution.  That said I still enjoyed this and will be looking for other books by this author.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would!  I did enjoy the author's voice and her ability to make the fictional worlds really come alive.

Would I Recommend this Book? Despite my issues with the pacing I would though I would recommend going in with expectations that this won't be the fastest paced story.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. Interesting that she tells the story of a donated item intermingled with the other main plotline. I have a copy of this one that I got free from Goodreads, but I haven't read it yet, which makes me feel a little guilty, but other books keep getting in the way.

  2. I'm betting my thoughts about the stories on donated items would be the same as yours.

  3. I can see how the chapters switching the stories focus for a bit would pull the reader out of the story. I enjoy added features like that, but finding good balance so what happened for you with this one doesn't happen at all is important. I think I may still give this one a try. Thank you for the warning though--I will hopefully be more prepared for it knowing what to expect.

  4. Totally with you when a book invests you in something - person or object and then pulls you out of it to something else.

  5. It's a bit strange to keep focusing so much on an object every other chapter. I do like that it's a starting over story. Those are comforting!

  6. I really considered this one but knew that I just wouldn't have the time. What an interesting way to tell a story. I don't think that I would care for so many chapters of random objects.