Opposite of Always, Justin A Reynolds

(Buy it HERE.)

⭐⭐⭐⭐(4/5)

I was expecting this book to be something totally different than what it was. The synopsis led me to believe it was a sci-fi time travel tale focused on fixing sad past mistakes, much like last year’s tear-jerking Netflix original See You Yesterday. And it is all of that, but unlike the film, my main reaction while reading this was… …EWWWWW. ICK. GAG. This book is just so…so SWEET. If See You Yesterday is hot sauce, this book is maple syrup. But gag reflex aside, I liked it. It’s cute. It’s light. It’s funny. It’s totally not what I expected or usually like, but it won me over.

High school senior Jack falls for college freshman Kate and with a little help from his ridiculously loving friends and family woos her in a dozen different cutesy ways that all seem to start with bowls of cereal. Then she dies, and Jack spends the rest of the book inexplicably Groundhog Day-ing his way through the same summer over and over again, trying to help his friends and save his lady love.

**The next paragraph contains mild spoilers**

A few unexpectedly pleasant things occurred to me while reading this. One is that I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book with a main character living with sickle cell anemia before and I appreciated seeing that on the page, even if it was played for narm in the end. The other is that it was really nice to read about a bunch of unapologetic Blerds in a light, fun happy-ending story where racism is not the center of their lives (except for right near the end and I thought including a shooting was a very well-intentioned misstep on the part of the writer.)

**spoilers over**


It’s not perfect, but it’s way better than a first novel has any right to be and after a slow start before we get into the time travel bits, it’s entirely charming. 4 stars and a delicious bowl of Froot Loops to Opposite of Always.

(Hey, fellow readers. It’s late and I’m tired. This is the part where I give you the spiel about something something affliate, something something Bookshop, something something if you click on any link on this site and make a purchase I will earn and commission and isn’t that just something something? Thanks for reading, now go enjoy a good book. Peace!)

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