Title: The Second Chance Store by Lauren Bravo
Genre: Contemporary, Friendship, Fiction
Length: 444 pages
Book Rating: C+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher
If clothes can get a second chance, why can’t we? Brimming with life, love, and the stories bound up in even the most everyday items, The Second Chance Store is a tale of friendship, loss, and dusting yourself off and starting over—a novel filled with humor and a testament to the enduring power and joy of charity shops.
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.
The Second Chance Store by Lauren Bravo is a lovely novel of new friendships and beginnings.
After losing her job, Gwen Grundle takes stock of her life which comes up lacking. Deciding to make changes, she begins volunteering at a local charity shop. Gwen works with an eclectic group of people where she also finds unexpected connections and friendships. She also reflects on her strained relationship with her parents. Will Gwen find the impetus to pick up the pieces of her life and find happiness? Or is she doomed to repeat the mistakes of her past?
The novel’s pacing is a little slow as Gwen struggles to find the energy she needs to move forward after losing her job. Two unexpected plot twists offer the reasons for how she ended up in her current situation. Gwen is not the most likable character but the people she meets at the charity shop are quite interesting. In between chapters are short vignettes about the objects that end up in the charity shop. While the importance of these detours is not always apparent, they do play a vital role in the unfolding story. The novel ends on an uplifting note that readers will appreciate.