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Skipping a Beat: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, February 22, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

High-school sweethearts Julia and Michael have left their humble West Virginia roots far behind for a glamorous life in Washington, D.C. As they achieve more in their careers—she as a high-end events planner, he as the CEO of his own sports-drink company—they lose themselves as a couple. After Michael has a near-death experience, he decides to give away all their wealth and focus on his relationship with Julia. But she’s not ready to forgive him for choosing his work over her when she needed him most. Pekkanen’s novel traces the couple’s attempts to make amends for allowing success to replace love. In her previous novel, The Opposite of Me (2010), Pekkanen delved into the complex relationship between sisters, and she now uses the same insightful tone in this examination of a marriage. The moving story and bittersweet ending will draw in readers. --Aleksandra Walker


“The impossible choice between true love and the trappings of success is explored in Skipping a Beat. Sarah Pekkanen proves masterful at creating nuanced, complex characters deadlocked with emotional conflict, and the story culminates in an ending that will leave readers breathless. Evocative and compelling, it couldn’t be more satisfying.”Jen Lancaster, author of Bitter is the New Black

"A provocative, poignant look at marriage, money and the things that matter most." —Beth Kendrick, author of The Pre-Nup

"Original, engaging, and soulful, Skipping a Beat explores the complexity of marriage and what it really means to share a life. I fell in love with Julia, a funny, flawed and utterly real heroine—and felt the weight of her dilemma with every page, all the way through to the surprising, satisfying finish." —Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed and Heart of the Matter

"Tender and funny in turn, Sarah Pekkanen has made modern marriage exciting in this imaginative and heartfelt tale of love and healing." —Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, #1 New York Times bestselling authors of The Nanny Diaries

"In her second novel, Pekkanen (The Opposite of Me) offers a wonderfully compelling, compassionate, and complicated portrait of the marriage of Julie and Michael Dunhill. Meeting in high school, the two were both determined to leave their hometown behind and make something of their lives, contrary to how they were raised. With Michael’s colossal and unpredicted financial success, these once loving sweethearts drift apart and find different foci for their passionate energies—Michael is completely absorbed in his DrinkUp company and Julie in her party-planning business. When Michael collapses on his office floor and dies for four minutes and eight seconds, their whole world changes, and both are left to reevaluate what they thought was important in life. For Julie though, this is a struggle to overcome the disappointment, sense of abandonment, and misunderstandings she’s harbored against her husband for years. VERDICT: In this compelling and satisfying read, Pekkanen offers relatable characters that move you and an ending that surprises and pleases. Highly recommended." —Library Journal, starred review

“A two-hanky weepy… A tragic turn of events redirects what could have been a predictable romance into a drama on the fragility of love and marriage.” —Kirkus

“An insightful examination of a marriage. The moving story and bittersweet ending will draw in readers” —Booklist

"This portrait of a couple forced to take responsibility for the breakdown of their relationship is at once heartbreaking and familiar." —People

“Intelligent and entertaining.” —The Washington Post


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Original edition (February 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451609825
  • ASIN: B0057D8RP0
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,072,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally-bestselling author of the novels THINGS YOU WON'T SAY, CATCHING AIR, THE BEST OF US, THESE GIRLS, SKIPPING A BEAT and THE OPPOSITE OF ME. Please find her on Facebook and twitter @sarahpekkanen!

BIO: Sarah is the mother of three boys, which explains why she wrote part of her novel at Chuck E. Cheese. Seriously. Sarah penned her first book, Miscellaneous Tales and Poems, at the age of 10. When publishers failed to jump upon this literary masterpiece (hey, all the poems rhymed!) Sarah followed up by sending them a sternly-worded letter on Raggedy Ann stationery. Sarah still has that letter, and carries it to New York every time she has meetings with her publisher, as a reminder that dreams do come true. At least some dreams - Brad Pitt has yet to show up on her doorstep wearing nothing but a toolbelt and asking if she needs anything fixed. So maybe it's only G-rated dreams that come true. Please visit

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Sheila A. Dechantal on February 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
In high school they were Julie and Mike and they were inseparable. In college they were room mates and then they were married. In the early years they scraped by on what little they had working hard and dreaming big. Julie started a party planning business that took off and she was able to start putting a little away. Then Mike, always the dreamer came up with an idea that changed the look of health drinks forever. As production rolled out on the flavored waters, Mike, now a more sophisticated Michael, became more and more caught up in the business and the sweet generous man Julie once knew, became second to the business... a mistress, she could not compete with. Her compensation becomes the material things they now own, the large multi million dollar home, the cars, the jewelry, and travel. Julia wants for nothing. Anniversaries were missed, replaced instead by delivered flowers with notes of promises to be there for the next one... and nights became cold and lonely as Julie, not Julia, slept alone as Mike traveled for work for nights than not.

Then a brush with death changes everything for Michael. Suddenly he sees more clearly what is important, and money becomes meaningless to him. Yet Julia gave up on love a long time ago and has grown accustomed to doing things alone and living the high life. Now it looks like Michael wants to turn his back on it all, give it all up and put his full attention on Julia.

Julia feels that it too little....

too late.

Honestly? I loved this book even more than her first! I connected well with the characters of Julia and Michael and found that these two well-developed characters left me feeling like the best friend in the middle.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Bellingham Bookworm on March 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very difficult book to review because I can't reveal too much with giving away spoilers. So with that in mind I'll speak a little generally here.

I will first admit that I LOVE chick lit. Love it! However, after a while the books written in that genre do tend to follow a formula. Nice, yet quirky girl discovers: a) her husband is a cheater and plans to leave her for a younger bimbo, b) she loses her job through no fault of her own, or c) she realizes that she is nearing some big milestone (30th birthday or similar) and discovers that she forgot to grow up. Then various mishaps unfold until the girl finds a happy ending.

You need to know that this book is not like that at all. Instead of a cartoonish main female character, a kooky best friend, and a one dimensional love interest you get real characters that you care about. I love the nuances of these characters, flaws and all. The author has created a story of marriage, drifting apart, staying together out of convenience and regret that is spun so beautifully that by the end of the book you will be bleeding for these characters.

If I had one little piece of criticism it would be that the end wrapped up everything up in a tight red bow. Though I suppose if it hadn't I would have been bitterly disappointed. I had a very satisfying and ugly cry that only a truly excellent book can give you.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Crystal Fulcher VINE VOICE on March 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
Wow, what a book. Ms. Pekkanen really has an inside look on marriage and womanhood. When Michael has a death experience one day during a meeting, he changes completely. Without consulting his wife, Julia, he decides he will give away all he owns in order to make amends for things he has done. He also wants to concentrate fully on his wife Julia who he has neglected since starting his own business on the way to becoming a multi-millionaire. But it's not that simple. Julia has gotten use to their life and she resents him for pulling the money out from under her and she's holding other resentments as well.

Honestly there were times I thought I would put the book down. Julia would seem a little childish but then Ms. Pekkanen would delve into the whys of her actions and thoughts and then I understood Julia so much more. I think every woman will find some of herself in Julia, whether it has to do with marriage or relationship with family members or just trying to get ahead. Julia turns out to be a remarkable character who grows through the book and learns to let go. I enjoyed watching her journey and really felt for her at times. Anyone who is married knows there are always rocky times and you both have to work to make it last. Ms. Pekkanen does a wonderful job of showing this yet showing that sometimes it's better not to give up.

Michael was fascinating and it's not until later in the book that you really get into his motivations as well and you begin to understand the whys of what he is doing. I think the author did a magnificent job of layering the plot so we pulled away layer by layer to see how the characters would develop next.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ava M. on November 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
*Slight Spoilers*** fault. I thought this would be a quick read, fluff stuff. Well, it was not. First it was so hard to commit to reading this for longer than 15 minutes in the beginning. It was so ridiculously slow, however you learn much about the characters, which i did appreciate after awhile. Although there were some things that i could have done without knowing just to save time, the character development was top notch. However Julia drove me crazy. I just find it hard to relate to someone who was so materialistic and, imo, childish. All she cared about was money,her jewelry, her chef, her driver, blah blah blah. she completely lost what life was about. And then we are supposed to sympathize with her when her husband wants to make things better and she suddenly feels that if he gives away all his money, she doesnt love him anymore?? He's a bad guy for giving all his money to charity? **Spoilers to come** She still makes a pretty good living for what i can tell. So you dont have a maid?? Or a driver?? or Chef? Welcome to the real world. What i REALLY hated about this book was the ending **** Spoiler****....seriously, he died??? died??? Come on! And by getting hit by a car?? Really? And then she's conveniently pregnant? Michael knew he had only 3 weeks left apparently, but i couldnt figure out how he knew, other than some divine notion, which i had a hard time buying into. All in all, the writing style is great, but the subject matter just left a stale taste, felt like i had someone sitting on my chest, suffocating me, after i closed this book. I dont even want to think about reading another novel from this author for fear she is one of those authors that deem in necessary to insert some tragedy to make readers feel 'something'. A great big happy ending where michael and julie end up happily together, albeit, poor and fabulous parents would have made for a better ending. Happy endings really do happen, you know.
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