Title: OPPOSITE OF ALWAYS
Author: JUSTIN A. REYNOLDS
Released: 4TH APRIL 2019 by MACMILLAN CHILDREN’S BOOKS
Genre: TEENS + YA CONTEMPORARY/SFF
Rep: POC, DISABILITY | TWs: ABANDONMENT, DEATH, VIOLENCE
And I hate the moon. I hate the stars. I hate the darkening sky. And rain and fog. I hate hospitals. And beds with sheets. And every machine ever made. And nurses and doctors. Keep her alive, that was the one thing they had to do. That was the one thing I had to do. And I hate myself most of all.
What if you got a redo of a time in your life that had a massive impact on you?
What if that redo let you fix one important thing at the expense of everything else?
Opposite of Always felt like an investigation into a lot of really big ideas and I really loved it, even if it took me awhile to figure out what was happening. The main premise was Jack meets Kate. Jack falls for Kate. Kate dies (because she has Sickle-Cell anaemia). Jack loops back to six months previous – the party at which he met Kate. Now, I bet you’re like, ‘hello spoiler?’ (unless you read the summary), but I promise you Kate dying is not the point of the story. It’s more about what lengths a person is willing to go to in order to save the one they love. And don’t worry too much, it has a good ending!
This story investigates 4 different timelines of the Jack-Kate story and there are many changes in each. It was really thought-provoking to read and made me question what I might do in a situation I got to relive. Questions it raised for me include: should you regret decisions you’ve made in the past? (Because what good does it do?) What are the important things in life, and what would I do if they conflicted at all? Can you have it all? It’s going to be a long weekend pondering those questions, methinks.
The writing was beautiful and compelling, and I could not recommend this beautiful story more. You should all get it because its a brilliant blend of contemporary and SFF. This is a solid FIVE STAR read.
Jack Ellison King. King of Almost.
He almost made valedictorian.
He almost made varsity.
He almost got the girl . . .
When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. Jack’s curse of almost is finally over.
But this love story is . . . complicated. It is an almost happily ever after. Because Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Beautiful, radiant Kate. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do—and let go—to save the people he loves.
Thank you so much to Justin A. Reynolds and Macmillan Children’s Books via Netgalley for the ARC.