The Other Year - Rea Frey



2023 Target Book of the Year Finalist

Can the entire course of a life be traced back to a single instant? And can hope be found in every moment after?


On a coveted two-week beach vacation, working mom Kate Baker's nine-year-old daughter, Olivia, vanishes suddenly among the waves--a heart-dropping incident that threatens to uproot her entire reality. But in the next moment, Olivia resurfaces, joyously splashing.

What would I do if she didn't come up? Kate wonders. How would I live without her?

In another set of circumstances that hold a different fate, Kate doesn't have to wonder. Because in that "other" world, in the pulse-pounding seconds after Olivia goes under, she doesn't come back up.

Told in parallel timelines, Kate begins to live two lives--one in which Olivia resurfaces and one in which she doesn't. In the reality that follows her daughter's death, she maneuvers through every mother's worst nightmare, facing grief, rage, and the question of purpose in the aftermath of such profound loss. She endures, day by day, in a world without her daughter.

In her alternate timeline, while she explores a tremulous romance with her best friend, Jason, she finds herself grappling with the ex-husband who abandoned Kate and Olivia years prior. Even as Kate scrambles to hold her daughter close, Olivia pulls further away. The line between joy and loss seems to get thinner with each passing day.

Woven into a single story, both Kates discover a breathtaking fragility and resilience in their respective journeys. Bringing to light the drastic polarities dire circumstances often create, The Other Year explores truths about love, loss, and the sharp turns any life can take in the blink of an eye.


By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from Harper Muse, a division of HarperCollins Focus (501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 USA) providing information about products and services of Harper Muse and its affiliates. You may unsubscribe from these email communications at any time. If you have any questions, please review our Privacy Policy or email us at [email protected].



"In this world-altering women's fiction novel, single mother Kate Baker looks away for a single moment, only to lose sight of her daughter in the ocean. As a result, her world splits into two separate realities: one where she gets to keep being a mother and the other where she doesn't. The message is clear: Love your people. A tear-jerker with heart."

—Brenda NovakNew York Times bestselling author

"Intriguing, thought provoking . . . Rea Frey breathes life into universal themes concerning love, family, parenthood, forgiveness, grief, and second chances."

—New York Journal of Books

“Tenderly observed and heartfelt. Raw and emotional. The Other Year is sure to strike a chord with readers everywhere.”

Josie Silver, New York Times bestselling author

"A clever and beautiful novel–the ultimate ‘what if’ book. The emotional pull of Frey's words made me cry on many occasions and the last line broke me. What a read!"

—Cesca Major, author of Maybe Next Time


Rea Frey


Rea Frey is the award-winning, multi-published, bestselling author of several nonfiction books and four domestic suspense novels, The Other Year, Not Her Daughter, Because You're Mine, Until I Find You, and Secrets of Our House. She has been featured in Us Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Marie Claire, Hello Sunshine, and more. She is also the CEO and Founder of Writeway, where aspiring writers become published authors. Her weekly podcast, The Real Story, demystifies the publishing industry for writers everywhere.

To learn more, visit or
Instagram: @reafreyauthor