by Jenny Colgan

March 2005
ISBN: 0-312-33198-3
Reviewer Graphic Button St. Martin`s Press
Trade Paperback

Everyone has wanted to turn back the hands of time at one point or another. For Flora Scurrison, that point comes during her best friend Tashy’s wedding, when Flora realizes that her boyfriend Oliver is going to propose to her. Flora can’t imagine agreeing to Oliver’s proposal so she does something any self-respecting woman does when faced with a similar situation: she wishes she was sixteen again.

When Flora wakes up the next day however, she can’t remember anything. And to make matters worse, she wakes up in her bedroom in her parents’ house, not in her bedroom with Oliver. When she passes a mirror, the changes in her body astound her. She’s not a thirty-two-year-old anymore; she’s a young girl, a teenager with a crop of pimples and smooth skin.

But all is not quite the same being sixteen this time around. It’s not 1987, it’s still the present time, and though she looks sixteen, she still has the mind of a thirty-something. When she finally gets in contact with Tashy, Flora discovers that she has gone back in time. Tashy’s wedding hasn’t even happened yet!

Things are changing for Flora, but she hopes that perhaps this time around, sixteen will be even better. Sure, she has to go through school again, and she has to figure out what to tell Oliver, but, that doesn’t mean she still can’t have a lot of fun right?

The Boy I Loved Before is an engaging look at what may happen if you could go back in time, if you had a chance to change your life. Flora is a lot of fun as a sixteen year old because she gets to experience so many things over again: first love, school, tests, friendships new and old, and of course, high school cliques. Ms. Colgan gives Flora a fresh voice to not only relive being sixteen again, but also to look at her life as a thirty-two-year-old and see how she might want to change things.

Rest assured romance fans though! There is a new love for Flora on the horizon, a high school romance, but also plenty of adult adventures. This was an intriguing story that took what could be a clichéd topic and turned it upside down with fresh and funny dialogue, zany situations, and of course, high school gossip that spills over into Flora’s real life. The Boy I Loved Before is definitely not your typical chick-lit novel. Jenny Colgan has penned a winner!

Reviewed in February 2005 by Sarah.

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