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The Regrets

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  177 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Reality and dream collide in Amy Bonnaffons' dazzling, darkly playful debut novel about a love affair between the living and the dead.For weeks, Rachel has been noticing the same golden-haired young man sitting at her Brooklyn bus stop, staring off with a melancholy air. When, one day, she finally musters the courage to introduce herself, the chemistry between them is ...more
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published February 2020 by Little, Brown and Company
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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"You're insufficiently dead," he said.

"I'm what?"

"Insufficiently dead. You lack rupture with your life. You have no exit narrative."

Somebody made a mistake with Thomas Barrett, and, yeah, he's no longer really alive. In the traditional sense. So, he's sent back to earth for three more months, with a set of rules, something along the lines of this:


Rules that, if followed properly, will keep Thomas from experiencing "the regrets."

His interactions with the living are to be somewhat limited,
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This isn’t like any love story you’re likely to read. And not just because one of the lovers is dead. Technically ghost lovers have been done before (cue in The Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody), but this is something radically new and strikingly good. The Romeo here is a recently dead man who due to a bureaucratic snafu in processing gets to have some more time on mortal coil, albeit circumscribed (no social interactions, daily reports, etc.). Eventually this gets to be unbearably tedious, ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
via my blog:
“You’re insufficiently dead,” he said.

“I’m what?”

“Insufficiently dead. You lack rupture with your life. You have no exit narrative.”

This is a playful story about being dead and being alive. It’s just a state, really. Thomas Barrett has been trapped in nothingness due to some… mistake. He is insufficiently dead according to his visit to ‘the office’ and for the time being will exist in a state most will never have the chance to experience.
Thank you to NetGalley for a Kindle ARC of The Regrets.

I was so excited when my request was approved.

I love ghost stories, the darker, macabre, and scary, the better.

The Regrets was more than that, though, not what I expected, but not in a bad way.

When Thomas is prevented from achieving his proper death due to bureaucratic red tape, his respite on earth for a few more months is shaken by the appearance of a young, beautiful woman named Rachel.

The two of them begin a strange, wondrous,
I really love all those beautifullycrafted slice-of-life styleobservations that are prevalent in literary fiction, but I just can't seem to get excited aboutthem unless they're in the contextof someweirdo fantasy setup. In that regard thisbook was just *chef kiss*perfect.

The story follows Thomas, a guy who had an encounter with an angel as a kid when the angel mistook him for a different boy she was there to collect. When he dies for real many years later, the angel that comes for him is
Jan 21, 2020 marked it as to-read-so-bad-it-hurts  ·  review of another edition

Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5. This was weird.... in the most delicious way.
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very strange story that mixes in the supernatural, but that’s not the point. The point is to write a book about desires, about existing, about the bigger questions about life. Here is the kind of literary fiction that I crave-the words sing, the ideas sear and it leaves an impression that you weren’t expecting and didn’t think you’d appreciate so much.

Thank you to the publisher for the advance reading copy.
"In my defense: is there a form of love that's not a welcome unraveling?"

I can tell the extent to which I will love a novel by the amount of notes I jot down while reading. By page 90 of The Regrets, I had two full pages of notes, and I didn't plan on slowing down. With my trusty Sharpie pen in hand, I went on to write even more quotes, key words, and all the emotions this story evoked in me.

This is a ghost story. It is also a romance---sensual and at times unflinching in the candid ways in
Auderoy Lin
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

That's the best part of being single. Farting with impunity.

Most people don't notice most other people. Most people don't notice much of anything. Their lives fit them too snugly; noticing requires space.

Life, no matter how raw and fragile and doomed, will do what life does: reach out toward other life.

In my defense: is there a form of love that's not a welcome unraveling?

How about that. We've got complementary weirdnesses.

We generally expected little from other humans besides absurdity.
Amy (TheSouthernGirlReads)
Feb 04, 2020 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amy (TheSouthernGirlReads) by: Storiesandcoffee
Thank you for the ALC.

I’m not exactly sure what just happened there? I’m going to take some time to process before I attempt a rating and a review .
Laura Mills
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Note: I wrote this review 30 minutes after finishing this book, so these are my unfiltered post-book thoughts) Wow. Just freaking WOW. This book is weird. Like possibly one of the weirdest books I've ever read. It's surreal and philosophical and very sexual. And I LOVED it.

I read Amy Bonnaffons' short story collection, The Wrong Heaven, last year and loved it cautiously. It's not the kind of book you hand to people and say here, read this, because you have no idea if they're going to read it
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THE REGRETS was such a fantastic and unexpected little novel. I feel like I can sum this book up as the perfect explanation of why daydreams coming to life isn't always what you hope for. Thomas has died, but due to some clerical errors, he hasn't died completely and still has to roam the earth as a not quite fully formed human until he can get to heaven. Rachel, a librarian who lives a quiet life in Brooklyn and is known for daydreaming and falling for emotionally unavailable men, has an ...more
Laura plantladyreader
This book was part haunting ghost story, part fiction, with a side of romance, and little bit of huh??

It is focused around a very interesting concept - a clerical error sends you to limbo instead of “on”. But limbo still leaves you on earth, in your same environment, with a different body to those around you. Everyday you wait until the paperwork is fixed and you can move “on”. But, you must be careful what you do while you’re waiting, or you’ll experience Regrets.

We follow Thomas in his
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-tbr
8/26/19. I just looked yesterday to see if Amy Bonnaffons has a new book coming out via NetGalley. Nothing. Then today, this. Oh, please Little, Brown, I want so badly to read this book.
David Busis
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently left this book, finished, on my nightstand, but—like a ghost that inhabits a body (hint, spoiler, sorry!)—it refuses to leave ME.

Let’s get this out of the way. From a thousand feet away, the plot looks a little twee. A woman starts a relationship with Mysterious Handsome Glowing Guy who has a mysterious glowing secret. Parts of his body start to go missing because, crap, he’s dead. (He’s not a murder victim or vengeful poltergeist, just a manifestation of a screw-up in a hilariously
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
But I'd never felt my existence more sharply, the painful way you might feel the light in a room when it starts to flicker, when the bulb is just this side of burnout. Dozens of times a day, I started to fall out of myself and the snap, startled, back in. My existence buzzed and crackled. It was impossible to forget.
I'd been in one of my dark moods all day, the moods that settled onto my body like medieval armor - a heavy helmet on the brain, a steel girdle constricting the gut.
There is a
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading Amy Bonnaffons’ short story collection – The Wrong Heaven – last year, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her first novel. This is an author whose imagination knows no barriers, sort of like Karen Russell or Yoko Ogawa, but in her own unique way.

My only qualm is how she would handle the hackneyed subject of a woman in love with a ghost. I shouldn’t have wasted a minute in worrying. This book is highly original, inventive, witty, perceptive, and (can’t resist) haunting. I guess you
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

3.5 Stars

What do I even say about The Regrets? Really the only way to even describe it for me is a “literary love story.” It’s certainly falls into the category of . . . .

And it’s a little bizarre to me that the above blast from the past courtesy of Sade has her as a mermaid because even though it made me all . . . .

The Pisces is another ill-fated little romance read that comes to mind when I think of who might want to give this
Feb 07, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2020
3.5 stars

What happens if you’re almost dead but you fall in love? What if you’re not dead and you fall in love with a ghost? And this ghost becomes a haunting constant in your life. How do you get rid of him? What in the what??!! Yes, this sounds like a crazy premise and my bumbling words can’t do it justice. It IS good. It’s a love story, it’s a ghost story, and it certainly deserves some buzz. Not only for being unique but it’s written in such a lovely way. I could relate to these characters,
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Regrets
A novel byAmy Bonnaffons

Amy Bonnaffons' debut novel, The Regrets, is a many-splendorous thing wrapped around a thoroughly fascinating package – a love story(s), ghost story, a story of discovering yourself, a mystery, a sexy romance, a fantasy, a haunting, a story of unrequited love, of lives filled with regrets and might-have-beens, of aching loneliness and the urgency of connecting, of belonging. .
It is also compelling, dark, playful, wickedly funny, sad and very readable. I read an
Claire M.
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#partner Thank you to @bibliofinder and @littlebrown for my free copy of The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons! I couldn’t resist the irony of pairing this wall with this book

Summary: For weeks, Rachel has been noticing the same golden-haired young man sitting at her Brooklyn bus stop, staring off with a melancholy air. When, one day, she finally musters the courage to introduce herself, the chemistry between them is undeniable: Thomas is wise, witty, handsome, mysterious, clearly a kindred spirit.
Sage Nerd
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I basically picked this up and didn't put it back down until I was done.

This is one of those books where the describing snippets on the back don't seem accurate.

Somethings take a whole book to relate. Something that a long conversation or a hug- even from someone who gets you or the thing you're going through can't concatenate within that act, a singular long or short activity.

A set of characters, background, contexts, perspectives, even if imagined, technically, by a single person maybe what
Girl Well Read
A special thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada, Little Brown and Company, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Rachel Starr is the girl with the bright red lipstick and glasses. She's a reference librarian from Brooklyn. For weeks, she's been noticing the same melancholy guy sitting at her bus stop. Finally mustering up some courage, Rachel introduces herself and the two have unquestionable chemistry. Thomas Barrett is smart and funny and handsome. But there's one tiny
Kayla Mckinney
Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for allowing me to read this ARC!

The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons had an unfortunately appropriate title for me, but it might be the perfect read for February for all of that (especially if you aren't big on Valentine's Day). As is clear from the cover, the book centers on a relationship between a woman (cute, little, childish) Rachel and a ghost, Thomas. (The almost poetic descriptions of Thomas are the best part of the book). However, the book is quick to
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Grumpy about how much I disliked this book. It was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020. I love when literary fiction & ghost stories have beautiful little babies. Plus, something about the description reminded me of The Waiting Room from “Beetlejuice.” Just the synopsis left me feeling tingly — but those feelings quickly faded once I had the actual book in my hands.

Conceptually, I continued to find it interesting. I liked the overall message about living with depression & still
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
3 1/2 stars

The Regrets is one of the more unique books I've read in a while. In my opinion, it combines genres, but is primarily paranormal as one of the main characters, Thomas, is basically a ghost. The story of how Thomas became a "ghost" is a little different. It isn't because he had unfinished business, it's basically because someone messed up on the "other side" and when his time truly came, he couldn't pass over like most people normally did. At this point, he is told to follow a 90 day
Abha Rajan

I liked the intimacy between Thomas and Rachel. They have a good thing together. I liked Rachel and actually pretty much everyone in the book except Thomas. Or rather I didn't like the parts with the first person narrative coming from him- like when he sits around the coffee shop and judges everyone, putting in an extra effort when the person concerned is a woman taking an interest in him.

The relationship between Rachel and Thomas is described with a lot of honesty and the writing is just
Read Ng
This was a GoodReads giveaway win of an ARC of a new book. This book is not due for retail release until Feb 2020.

This book is not on my typical reading list. I would have to characterize this as "chick lit" or at least how I define chick lit books.

I loved the first half of the book. But for me, I started to lose interest at the half way point. I think that has more to do with my feeling that there was just too much casual sex. But that is just the old fashion part of me that has lived my
Cindy Wilkerson
What an odd, little book.
When I first spotted this at my local bookstore, I knew I had to read it. Something about the cover, and also the fact that it’s about a young woman falling in love with a dead man, waiting to cross over to the other side.

There is a danger to daydreaming. It’s not that the daydream bears too little relationship to reality. It’s the opposite: the daydream can create reality. It can become so powerful that it transforms the face of the world, then encounters its own image
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