The Seven Year Slip Summary, Characters and Themes

The Seven Year Slip is a romantic comedy novel with a speculative twist by Ashley Poston. It follows the story of Clementine, a book publicist in her twenties who inherits her late aunt’s apartment in New York City. 

When she arrives, she finds a stranger named Iwan living in the apartment, who is living seven years in her past while she is living seven years in his future. The book explores themes of love, loss, second chances, and the idea that we might meet the right person at the wrong time. It has been praised for its charming and romantic plot, as well as its unique premise.


Clementine West, a book publicist in New York City, inherits a magical apartment from her late aunt. While grieving her loss, she discovers the apartment’s time-slipping ability, transporting her seven years into the past. 

There, she meets Iwan, a young aspiring chef subletting the apartment for the summer.

Despite their different personalities and passions, Clementine and Iwan form a quick bond and fall in love. However, Clementine remembers her aunt’s rule against falling in love in the apartment, as it could lead to heartbreak.

One day, Clementine is abruptly returned to the present. She searches for Iwan online and learns he’s now a renowned chef with whom her publishing house is collaborating. 

When they meet, she’s shocked by how much he has changed – his passion for food seems to have faded.

As Clementine is thrown back and forth in time, she grapples with the changes in Iwan and struggles to reconcile the person he was with the person he has become. She also faces internal conflicts about her own identity and what she truly wants in life.

At the opening of his restaurant, Clementine confronts Iwan about his transformation, leading to a heated argument about the nature of change. Sent back to the past one last time, she reveals the apartment’s secret to Iwan and tells him they won’t see each other for seven years, during which they’ll both change.

Clementine quits her unsatisfying job and embraces the uncertainty of her future. Iwan seeks her out, showing her the changes he’s made to his restaurant, inspired by their conversation. They confess their love, reconciling their past and present selves.

Finally, Clementine leaves the magical apartment, accepting that change is inevitable and cherishing the memories and love that remain with her.

The Seven Year Slip Summary


Clementine West

Clementine is a dynamic and complex character. 

She starts the novel grieving her Aunt Analea and feeling stagnant in her job as a publicist. 

Clementine is a workaholic who uses her job to distract herself from her grief and the uncertainties of her life. The magical apartment and her encounter with Iwan challenge her preconceived notions about time and love. 

Throughout the story, she undergoes significant personal growth, learning to embrace her passions (painting) and prioritize her happiness. Clementine’s journey is one of self-discovery, as she learns to let go of the past and embrace the possibilities of the future.


Iwan is a passionate and ambitious chef, full of dreams and aspirations. He is the younger version of the man Clementine encounters in the present. 

Iwan’s character undergoes a transformation over the seven-year gap, evolving into a more successful but perhaps less idealistic version of himself. 

His relationship with Clementine is central to the story, as they both grapple with the changes they’ve undergone and the question of whether their love can transcend time and personal growth.


Although deceased, Aunt Analea plays a crucial role in the novel. 

She is the catalyst for the magical elements of the story, having bequeathed the time-slip apartment to Clementine. 

Analea’s past experiences with love and loss in the apartment serve as a cautionary tale for Clementine. Her presence is felt throughout the narrative, guiding Clementine’s journey of self-discovery and healing.

Supporting Characters

The novel also features a cast of supporting characters who enrich the story. 

Clementine’s friends, Drew and Fiona, provide her with support and comic relief. Her colleagues at the publishing house, including her boss and the author she’s working with, add depth to the professional aspect of Clementine’s life. 

These characters contribute to the novel’s exploration of friendship, ambition, and the challenges of balancing personal and professional life.


The Acceptance of Change and Personal Growth

The Seven Year Slip delves into the complexities of change and personal growth, highlighting that both are inevitable and often necessary. 

Clementine’s journey exemplifies this as she grapples with the changes in her lifeā€”the loss of her aunt, the discovery of the time slip apartment, and her evolving relationship with Iwan. 

Initially, Clementine resists change, clinging to the past and fearing the unknown future. However, as she spends time with Iwan in the past and witnesses his transformation in the present, she gradually learns to accept that change can be a catalyst for personal growth. 

The novel suggests that embracing change, even when it’s painful or unexpected, can lead to new opportunities, self-discovery, and ultimately, a more fulfilling life.

Reconciling Passion and Practicality

The novel also explores the tension between passion and practicality, particularly in the context of career choices and life goals. 

Iwan’s journey as a chef serves as a central example of this theme. In the past, he is filled with youthful idealism and unwavering passion for his culinary dreams. 

However, as he achieves success in the present, he seems to have lost some of that initial spark, becoming more focused on the business aspects of his career. 

Clementine, on the other hand, has always prioritized practicality, choosing a stable job over pursuing her artistic passions. Throughout the story, both characters are forced to confront their choices and consider whether they have sacrificed their true passions for the sake of practicality. 

The novel suggests that finding a balance between passion and practicality is crucial for personal fulfillment, emphasizing the importance of pursuing dreams while also acknowledging the realities of life.

The Complexities of Grief

The Seven Year Slip explores the multifaceted nature of grief and its impact on individuals. Clementine’s grief over her aunt’s death is a central theme, shaping her actions and decisions throughout the novel. 

The time slip apartment becomes a refuge for Clementine, allowing her to temporarily escape the pain of loss and reconnect with her aunt’s memory. However, the novel also emphasizes that grief cannot be avoided or outrun indefinitely. 

Clementine must eventually confront her grief head-on to heal and move forward. The story suggests that while grief is a natural and necessary part of life, it can also be a catalyst for personal growth and transformation.

The Importance of Timing and Second Chances

The novel delves into the significance of timing in relationships and the possibility of second chances. 

The time slip element introduces a unique twist on the concept of “right person, wrong time.” Clementine and Iwan’s connection transcends time, but their circumstances and personal growth in different timelines create obstacles. 

The story suggests that while timing is important, it’s not always the deciding factor in love. 

Second chances can arise, but they require individuals to evolve and align their paths. The novel emphasizes the importance of self-awareness, communication, and willingness to adapt in order to make the most of second chances when they present themselves.