Hello Kittens! I hope that wherever you are, the weather is not awful. We have continued the trend of basically skipping Winter here in the South and going straight into Spring. My primary complaint about that is that without snow days, I don’t get bonus days to read where I’m still being paid unless I actually start using my PTO for these things. I’m not that desperate. Yet. In any case, I did manage to finish a stellar novel last month that is starting to get some buzz, but that I still want to recommend to all of you. It’s called Oona Out of Order and it came on my radar a few months back. I was fortunate enough to win an advance copy in a giveaway from the publisher, and I flew through it once it arrived. This novel would be a great selection for book groups because it deals with the practical complications of time travel as well as the emotional complications of growing up. It deals with all sorts of relationships and is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. I think y’all will like this one if you give it a read.
Title: Oona Out of Order
Author: Margarita Montimore
Author website: https://www.montimore.com/
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publish date: February 25th, 2020
The book opens with Oona Lockhart getting ready to celebrate her 19th birthday, which also happens to fall on January 1st. She is excited, but also anxious, because she is on the cusp of making some very important decisions about her life, her future, her relationship with her boyfriend, her place in her band, and her acceptance to a prestigious university. She is faced with a series of choices, because she can’t have everything that is available to her.
As the party really gets started at midnight, Oona is suddenly transported. She wakes up in a different time, and in a different body…or at least a different-aged body. She comes to with the mind of a now 19-year-old, in a body that is significantly older. There is a young man in the room, who tries to help her understand what has just happened. She comes to find out that this is a part of her life in the future. Every year on her birthday she will be transported to a different year of her life. The leaps will be random and very few people will ever be able to know about them. Every year, Oona starts over. In theory, her future self leaves her a letter each year, trying to prepare her for what the next year holds without letting her know too much.
In theory, it all sounds great, but in practice, it’s a bit like making a wish with a genie…it rarely turns out the way that you expect it to. Even when her future self warns her, Oona often finds herself in difficult situations. The story revolves around how she lives her life with the next year’s leap constantly overshadowing the current year’s life. Oona falls in love, loses important relationships, is betrayed by the people closest to her, and she constantly has to worry about doing or saying the wrong thing.
This book was a phenomenal read for me. Time travel can be a very tricky subject to tackle, and Montimore does it in a way that is seamless, while not bogging the reader down with the “whys” of it all. Oona reacts the same way that I think anyone would if they suddenly found themselves transported into the future. I particularly like when she adjusts to having certain modern comforts, like cell phones and the internet, but then the following year is transported back in time and has to re-learn what life is like before they were invented. Oona is the centerpiece of the book, of course, but it is her relationships with her mother and her trusted assistant that really make this story something special. Her relationships understandably morph throughout her time, but since Oona is unable to tell most of the people in her life about what is going on, these two relationships become so important to her development as a character.
If I had to come up with a negative comment about this book, I would say that it ended too soon. If you’re the kind of reader who likes to have all of the loose threads tied up by the end of the story, you’re going to be disappointed. That’s not to say that the ending was bad. I personally thought it was beautiful, but I wasn’t done with the character of Oona. We end up getting a few snapshots of her life, but we don’t get the full story, and I would love for Montimore to write a follow-up.
Disclaimer: I won an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in a giveaway from the publisher, but there was no expectation of a review in exchange.
4 glasses of lemonade= a book you could recommend to a book group or anybody who reads. You might find controversial subject matter, but it is handled delicately.
I would have loved to have given this one 5 glasses of lemonade, but it does have a few scenes that some readers might object to. Oona gets involved briefly with drug and alcohol abuse. She also has friends with differing sexual preferences and she engages in a drug-infused sexual escapade at a club. All in all, it’s not extremely graphic, but I still might hesitate to recommend it to everyone who comes in to the library.