This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens follows the story of Minnie Cooper (yes, like the car), who considers herself unlucky thanks to her New Year’s birthday. She attributes her unluckiness to someone she’s never met, a man named Quinn Hamilton who was born on the same day, in the same hospital as her. At the time of their birth in London, there was a cash prize for the first baby born in the New Year of 1990, and unfortunately, Minnie lost. Not only did she lose the prize cash, but she also lost the name she was supposed to have, Quinn, and with that her supposed good luck. Since her birth, Minnie has experienced the worst birthdays, each one worse than the next.
Minnie ends up running into Quinn at a New Year’s party on their 30th birthday, where she sees that he really did get all the luck and good fortune that her mom claimed came with the name. Quinn is a good looking, charming business owner with a loving girlfriend who throws lavish birthday parties. On the flip side, Minnie is on the brink of losing her pie making business and her apartment. As she comes face to face with her enemy since birth, she tells him he stole her name and the fortune that should have come with it, which Quinn insists is a big misunderstanding.
Regardless, there is an energy between them that Minnie wants to refuse to acknowledge – one, because of her boyfriend Greg and two, because she thinks Quinn is too different and potentially too good for her. Despite these things, Minnie and Quinn continue to bump into each other, where Minnie now has to acknowledge how she feels about Quinn and wonders whether he feels the same.
Common Themes + Opinions:
Minnie believes herself to be unlucky, that she’s jinxed because of her name and her birthday. Her mother, Connie, believed that the name Quinn, which runs in her family, is tied to good luck and good fortune and was the name Minnie was meant to have. Due to an apparent misunderstanding at the hospital, Connie’s delivery suite roommate gives birth first and names her son Quinn, and earns the prize for the first baby of the New Year.
From that moment on, it’s hammered onto Minnie that she’s unlucky because she wasn’t born first and didn’t win the money, but most importantly because she wasn’t named Quinn and now did not have the supposed luck that came with it. Connie appears to resent Minnie, perhaps because of her time of birth, and reminds her every chance she has that she’s unlucky. Though the chip on Connie’s shoulder is more towards Quinn’s mom; anger that she stole the name and ended up with the prize winnings.
The insistent messaging of Minnie’s bad luck throughout her life causes her to truly believe this and tends to try to hide out on her birthday to avoid any disasters. It’s messed up that she was essentially forced to believe that she’s unlucky when the truth of the matter is that a lot of “unlucky” things are coincidence, and some unfortunate things are consequences of actions – intentional or not.
Minnie appears to cling to this messaging instead of trying to turn her luck around herself, or understand what’s happening around her that is and isn’t out of her control. One part that sticks out is that she lost her coat on her way to the New Year’s party where she met Quinn. She blames her bad luck, but Quinn tells her that it wasn’t bad luck but her being careless.
For Quinn, it’s believed that because he got the name and got the prize money, that he’s swimming in good fortune. That’s partly true given that he’s a successful business owner. However, it’s not all sunshine and daisies for him. Quinn struggles with caring for his mom, who suffers from severe anxiety and is agoraphobic. He spends most of his teen and adult years putting his mom first, where his personal life takes a back seat.
Seeing his parents separate at a young age, plus seeing his mom experience a traumatic event, make him rethink how he feels about love and relationships. As a result, he has deep rooted commitment issues that bubble up again and again with every woman he dates. While Quinn seemingly has good fortune from a money perspective, it doesn’t outweigh his internal issues or his mom’s health.
Final Thoughts + Ratings:
Overall, I enjoyed reading This Time Next Year. The story is set up with time jumps and is sort of dual POV, though the majority of the story is focused on Minnie. With the time jumps, you’re able to piece together significant moments from both their lives, especially at the end of the book. It didn’t even click for me until like an hour after I finished reading!
I honestly picked this book up because I read the synopsis in the back and identified with Minnie and her feelings around her New Year’s Day birthday. As a January 2nd baby myself, I spend a lot of time hating my birthday; it’s a quiet day where barely anyone remembers it’s my birthday. My perspective on the day has changed in the last few years, but I still relate to that initial feeling. That, and I actually bought this book on my birthday this year! All in all, I give this one four stars. As for spice, this is a closed door type of book where the only action we get is a couple of kissing scenes.
Have you read This Time Next Year? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!