In The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston, Clementine West is plagued by grief. She lost her beloved aunt six months prior and was now living in her Upper East Side apartment – though Clementine would rather live anywhere else. Though six months have passed and Clementine claims to be “fine,” she still hasn’t fully addressed her grief and after hearing the news of upcoming changes in her role as a publicist for Strauss & Adder, a publishing company, she stands at a crossroads in her life. That’s when something weird happens in her aunt’s apartment – something magical – where all of a sudden she was seven years in the past.
Startled by an intruder who wasn’t exactly an intruder, Clementine refuses to believe she’s in the past until her apartment refuses to change back to the present. She has no choice but to accept her strange reality until her apartment wills her back to the present. The intruder that alarmed her, a young and gangly young man named Iwan, who subletted her aunt’s apartment for the summer. Iwan is trying to break into the culinary world, as a dishwasher and work his way up. A dream he’s had and shared with his grandpa, Iwan is passionate about food and cooking, and shares this with Clementine – along with some delicious food. Since Clementine can’t really do much, she ends up hanging out with him and gets to know him a little while trying to keep her aunt’s second rule in mind: do not fall in love.
As Clementine is thrown back and forth through time at her apartment’s will, she experiences Iwan in the past and in the present, where it becomes startingly clear that a lot can happen in seven years. Clementine is not the biggest fan of change and she realizes that trying to cling onto past versions of people, herself included, isn’t conducive. She thought she was supposed to follow in her boss’s footsteps, because that seemed like the right trajectory for her, but wasn’t sure that was what she even wanted. She didn’t want to accept the present version of Iwan because that’s not the version she knew, and she refused to accept the reality that her aunt was battling her own monsters despite her whimsical disposition.
Clementine’s reluctance to accepting change came with the grief she carried for her aunt. While she mourned her death after she died, she still hung onto the feelings of sadness, guilt, and anger; it was weighing her down and she didn’t realize this until she finally let the floodgates open. Grief is a very weird process that isn’t linear, and part of Clementine’s growth was accepting the fact that her aunt was no longer alive but that she would always carry her with her in all the good times they had together. In turn, finally accepting this granted her the ability to see what she wanted for herself clearly for once.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Seven Year Slip. I was already a big fan of Ashley Poston, after reading The Dead Romantics last year (read my review here) – there’s even an Benji cameo in this one! I felt immersed in the story and was hooked on finding out what happened between Clementine and Iwan, but also what she was going to do with herself. It’d be a crime to not mention her friends and how good they are to each other, especially since they saw Clementine’s need for distraction as she managed her grief.
Overall, I give The Seven Year Slip five stars for the story dotted with magical realism, romance, and a coming of age for Clementine. There’s also a mildly spicy scene in here that made me squeal a lil. If you read The Dead Romantics, then I definitely recommend picking up The Seven Year Slip!
Have you read The Seven Year Slip? Let me know in the comments!