Thursday, March 7, 2019

Opposite of Always, by Justin A. Reynolds

What if you didn't like how a story ended? What if you got a second chance to try and make it right? I'm not talking about the sort of second chances where you mess up, sincerely apologize, and get put on probationary forgiveness until you prove you won't mess up in the same way again. I'm talking about a real do-over that can only happen with...

Wait for it...

Time Travel! 

This is what happens to Jack when he meets Kate, falls in love, and then Kate dies from a rare genetic blood disorder. Not just once, but many times. So many times Jack loses count. At first Jack thinks he's getting sent back in time to save Kate's life, but what if that's not it at all? And what if, by preventing Kate's death, something bad happens to someone else he knows? What if his actions only make things worse for everyone (like, apocalypse-level worse)? Jack better figure out exactly why he's stuck in this time loop, and he better do it soon. Otherwise, he may be there forever. And that would be a bad thing.

Justin A. Reynolds' debut novel Opposite of Always is kind of Groundhog Day mashed up with Butterfly Effect. And don't let the happy yellow cover with the cute happy couple fool you. This is NOT a light, fluffy love story. And the ending isn't exactly a happy one, although it is much so as a story about time loops can be. 

When I first heard about Opposite of Always, I was intrigued. The concept of time loops is a pretty well-explored trope, and didn't think there would be anything new (there wasn't), but I still wanted to read it because I enjoy me a good time travel story. And it was...pretty good. A bit long for what it is (like, the story could have been condensed by 150 pages). And the characters were pretty much cliche John Green (sensitive boy with Issues meets Manic Pixie Dream Girl with Tragic Secret). Still, I liked it. And I think the target audience will too.


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