Book Review: How to Change a Life by Stacey Ballis

How to Change a Life book cover

Title: How to Change a Life

Author: Stacey Ballis

Published: 2017

Pages: 370

Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction

Format: Print copy

My rating: 2/5


Eloise is happy with her life as a successful private chef. She has her clients, her corgi, and a recipe for the world’s most perfect chocolate cream pie. What more could she need? But when her long-lost trio of high school friends reunites, Eloise realizes how lonely she really is.
Eloise, Lynne, and Teresa revamp their senior-class assignment and dare one another to create a list of things to accomplish by the time they each turn forty in a few months. Control freak Lynne has to get a dog, Teresa has to spice up her marriage, and Eloise has to start dating again.
Enter Shawn, a hunky ex-athlete and the first man Eloise could see herself falling for. Suddenly forty doesn’t seem so lonely–until a chance encounter threatens the budding romance and reveals the true colors of her friends. Will the bucket listers make it to forty still speaking to one another? Or do some friendships come with an expiration date?


A quick, lighthearted read from beginning to end, How to Change a Life takes us through Eloise’s last year before her fortieth birthday, complete with heartbreak, rekindled friendships, and career opportunities. As someone who is also reaching a milestone of my own in age, I love the bucket list and stretch goals she comes up with along with her two best friends from high school. It makes me feel that there is always time to change things up a bit and do what you’ve always dreamed of and/or are too scared to try.

The interactions between Lynne and Eloise rings true to me because of the nature of secondary school friendships and the reality of growing apart. People change and I feel this element was done well to show how much of that is true and wondering how the friendship sustained in the first place.

There are so few people who know us from those years, who remember who we were, who were a part of our becoming (McDaniel 287)

Timing is important. Here are some other quotes that stood out to me in the novel.

(n)ot only should I have been more forthcoming all this time, but I should be more forthcoming in general. My self-protective, secretive nature might suit my natural inclination to not have to listen to outside opinions, but it isn’t fair to the people I love most (McDaniel 199)

They always say that the things that make you most annoyed in other people are the things you hate most about yourself (McDaniel 253)

Overall, it felt like a beach read that was a little over the top with being obvious with plot points and twists. The flow of content the audience already knew and the predictability of character actions and responses did not overly impress me. We do see character development but the rising action and conflict were not as satisfying as I would have liked. It felt too clean and polished.

Read How to Change a Life if you like the themes of:

  • Friendship
  • Loyalty
  • Family
  • It’s never too late

What are some goals you want to accomplish before your next milestone?

2 thoughts on “Book Review: How to Change a Life by Stacey Ballis

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