Book Review: Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 449 pages

Published: March 5, 2019

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction & Literature, Science Fiction, Romance

Synopsis: 

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.


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Ummm…..I don’t know what to say about this book. It was one of the most one-dimensional books I have ever read. First off, this book perpetuates an ideology that you sadly find too often in YA literature: that in order for you to be happy in life that you need to be in a romantic relationship. This idea is found too often in YA books and I know this book solely focuses on a boy going back in the past to save a girl but for once I would love to see a YA book that doesn’t support the idea that you need to be in a relationship in order to be happy.

Two, there is an editor out there who did not do their job properly because this book was too…long! The story just dragged on and caused me to be frustrated with it so much. There was no reason that it should have been that long. There were definitely many chapters that could have been edited out and Jack’s constant long reflections were starting to become tedious. Three, for a book that was about saving a girl, there was very little mention of her. The reader hardly got to know Kate, apart from the fact that she was the “beautiful”. We see very little mention of her personality and more of her looks, which leads me to question the equal representation in this book. Frannie’s relationship with his father given more highlight than Jillian’s relationship with her family. The same goes for Kate. And are we suppose to really believe that Jack immediately is willingly to risk everything for someone who he barely knows, for someone he just met? I’m sorry. I’m not buying it.

The only plus side is that this book features POC characters but even the author squander that opportunity. In fact, I feel that he takes advantage of it. There were some mentioned racial issues that I feel served no purpose to the story, such as Frannie getting shot. I saw another review mention that it felt like the author was checking off a checklist to make sure certain things were in the book he was writing and I could definitely see that. Just because this book features POC characters doesn’t mean you could place certain elements that will make the book more appealing to a particular market. I find that demeaning and exploitative.

This book was cheesy, poorly written and takes advantage of diversity. This is mostly by far the worst book I have read this year.

Overall rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Get it At: Amazon |Barnes & Noble|Book Depository|IndieBound| Your local library

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