I first learned about this book on the podcast What Should I Read Next?. It is the story of a young woman born on New Year’s Day. As the clock strikes midnight ringing in the new year and her nineteenth birthday, she finds herself suddenly in a strange place in a strange version of her body. It turns out that she lives the year nineteen on the inside but fifty-one on the outside. And on the eve of each of her birthday’s she has no idea what year of her life she will live next. In this way, she really does live her life out of order. I found this unusual take on time travel interesting and decided to read the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Oona’s father died when she was a girl and her mother was unusual in the way she raised her. She readily accepts the weird life that her daughter is experiencing and is the one person always there for her on each of her birthdays. She learns about an assistant she has when she is 51/19 who is also there for her in her older years. As such, this is a story of relationships explored through unusual circumstances. In many ways, Oona is forced to mature much quicker than young people often do.
What really touched me about this book is how real it felt despite the rather absurd (but fun!) premise. The challenges that Oona faces may be out place time-wise, but they are very relatable to the reader. And the way she addresses them feels very realistic. I can see someone behaving as she does. The book reminded me of a combination of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. If you liked either of those books, you might enjoy this one as well. It is an amazing story of family, love, growing up, aging, and all the other messy things we call life.
My rating: 4.5/5