Somehow, despite Rainbow Rowell being my favorite author, I was unaware of this story’s existence. But, in scouring through all the Rainbow Rowell reviews on here, just out of curiosity, I noticed plenty of reviews for this, discovered it was about Reagan from Fangirl, and decided I had to join in on the fun.
If the Fates Allow picks up with Reagan during COVID times. Turns out she’s like my fiancee if she were far rougher around the edges. Seeing Reagan go to such great lengths to limit the risk of transmitting COVID to her grandfather (and anyone else in her family), while the rest of her family can barely be bothered to show even a fraction of that level of caring, instantly reminded me of the situation with my fiancee and her family. As a doctor, she’s been all about cautiousness, while many in her family, like many in Reagan’s family, brush and laugh what she tries to stress to them off.
So the parts not involving Mason have been our daily existence throughout this pandemic, and I really resonated with them. Rowell shows that, no matter who you are, COVID (or any serious threat to your loved ones) can smooth down all your rough edges enough to let your softer side shine through. And she avoids making Reagan seem like she’s out of line for doing what she does, which I greatly appreciate. After my former favorite band, The Reign of Kindo, turned out to be anti-vaxxers, or at least anti-vax-mandate (https://twitter.com/thereignofkindo/status/1484209054125891584), it’s nice to see that one of my other favorites actually gets it.
Onto Reagan’s blossoming relationship with Mason, her next door neighbor, it’s… fine. Maybe I hold her to a higher standard after all her other love stories, but it didn’t work for me like the rest of the story did. It had its cute moments, sure. It’s just tremendously forgettable and almost felt tacked on to me. Like Rowell said, “wait, this can’t just all be about COVID” and threw in a love story to lighten the mood.
I personally wish she’d kept it at a sobering look at the effect this pandemic has had on everybody, even people like Reagan, and not added that love story to the equation. All in all, it’s a fine story, except possibly also her weakest. (Short story, at least; Carry On gives it a run for its money, if we include novels too)