Staff Review – Expiration Dates by Rebecca Serle

More than just another romance novel, Rebecca Serle's latest novel really gives readers something to think about. In "Expiration Dates" we meet Daphne, a woman in her 30s looking for love. Daphne has had some help over the years though, in the form of notes. Before meeting her next love interest, she will recieve a note - whether a post-it, postcard, or some other kind of communication, with the name of her new beau and the length of their relationship (ex. Josh, 6 months). However, all bets are off when Daphne gets her latest note - this time, with no time limit. Is it finally happening? Has Daphne finally met the person she's supposed to be with? Could it really be that simple?

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel for a few different reasons. Throughout the novel, I questioned Daphne's commitment to her previous relationships. Since she knew that they were destined to end at a certain time, it seemed to me that she didn't fight particularly hard for them. Early on in the novel we meet Hugo (3 months, according to the note) who Daphne dated and is now friends with. As we learn how their relationship ended, it's clear they both really cared about each other. I started to wonder: if Daphne didn't know about the time limit, would she fight harder for some of these relationships? Or did she decide that the note was her fate and that her own free will was not in the cards? It reminded me of the YA novel I also reviewed, They Both Die at the End. I was happy to see this existential question addressed in the novel, and really enjoyed the way Serle handled this dilemma. There was also a pretty surprising (for me) twist towards the end of the novel that I did not see coming at all, which added to my enjoyment!

While this novel is a romance, it's also a really great novel of self-discovery. Daphne learns new things about herself during the novel, and reveals some well-kept secrets about herself to those around her. Seeing how she evolved over the years, from the first note to the present day, we see the growth of a young woman discovering who she is and what she wants. The side characters in the novel were also excellent, including Daphne's ex/best friend Hugo, her boss Irina and friend Kendra. Serle has cemented herself as an author who can add a bit of wonder into a novel - call it whimsy, magical realism, or just plain magic. Her latest novel is, of course, no exception. Be sure to place a hold on Rebecca Serle's Expiration Dates today!