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Review: Expiration Dates by Rebecca Serle

Review: Expiration Dates by Rebecca Serle

Editorial note: I received a copy of Expiration Dates in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

Expiration Dates by Rebecca Serle is a vivid love story about fate and choices.

I’m a big fan of Rebecca Serle novels! She really is a master of both creating a sense of place and a story that will tug at your heartstrings. Her novels have a touch of magical realism but never go too far in that arena where it feels like a fantasy story. In fact, her characters always feel so real to me. Highly recommend you check out The Dinner List, In Five Years and One Italian Summer if you haven’t yet!

Expiration Dates is an ideal book to read as the weather warms up. It’s not long—only 268 pages—so you’ll fly through this novel. While she certainly could have written more if she wanted, the story feels very complete. And I think out of all the endings—this one is my favorite of hers so far.

What’s the Story About

Each time Daphne Bell meets a new dating prospective, she is sent a slip of paper with his name and the number—the number details the exact time they’ll be together. So unlike everyone else in the dating pool, Daphne knows when each relationship will end.

She has received the papers for over 20 years—never questioning the intent and just going with the flow. But everything changes when she receives her latest paper and it does not have an expiration date.

Suddenly, Daphne found the one, right? Eh, it won’t be as easy as that. Especially, as Daphne is also holding a heartbreaking secret of her own.

Magical Realism

I’m a big fan of magical realism in contemporary fiction. I don’t want every story to have it, but gosh, when it’s done right, it’s so good. These type of stories really have you reflect on your decisions and past. I think it’s such a wonderful story tool.

But something to know with Rebecca Serle novels, she never gives the reason for why the magical realism aspect is happening. For instance, and this is not a spoiler, but we never know why Daphne receives these papers with the dating expiration dates. And Daphne never really questions is that much either.

So if you’re a reader who wants all the answers, just know you won’t get it about the why but the how is what it’s important—how this impacts the character in the past, present and future.

Daphne’s Choices

I’m a mom to a three-year-old son and I’ve been together with my husband for more than 10 years so dating life is long, long, long gone for me. But no matter how far one gets from that era of life, you never truly forget what it was like—the excitement, but also the confusion and disappointment.

But Daphne doesn’t have to really experience the confusion and disappointment because she knows the relationships won’t last. It provides an interesting experience as Daphne doesn’t try to keep a relationship afloat since she follows exactly what the paper suggests. But what happens if Daphne doesn’t agree with the paper’s expiration date? This novel explores that too.

I like Daphne overall. I tend to like all of Rebecca Serle’s characters. And the setting in LA is very rich, and immersive. You feel like you’re right there with Daphne at all the fun restaurants and scenic locations. I like novels set on the West Coast for sure.


Expiration Dates is an entertaining and enlightening novel. Yes, it’s short but that’s part of the charm. It packs a lot in this small story. The novel will cause you to reflect and think about your own decision making as well. And it makes for a great book club discussion as there are some twists and interesting plot choices.

A great read for spring and summer. It’s charming and heartfelt. I also think this would do well as a film version as well.

For book clubs, check out my discussion questions here.