~ I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review ~
I was really excited to read this book, as I’d heard a lot about it in the bookish blogger world online and felt it was going to be a perfectly romantic and fun read involving diverse characters and time travel!
Opposite of Always is about Jack, a boy in his last year of high school who has always felt average at best in everything he’s done. One night, he meets Kate and feels for the first time that she might be his chance for something much more than “almost”, something that’s everything. But then Kate dies and Jack is somehow sent back in time to the day they met. He relives their time together over and over, each time trying to figure out how to save Kate, his friends and himself.
I really like the premise of this book and for the most part, it delivered a comical and touching story. But I feel like time travel plots as a central arc are a really hard thing to get right and unfortunately with this book I didn’t always feel like it was. I struggled getting lost in the story at times and that was partly due to the repetitive nature of the narrative. That is not to say that Jack doesn’t do things differently each time he goes back to the past because he certainly does and each time is entertaining in its own way, but there were still certain key plot points that I just found myself being either bored with or frustrated by. It simply didn’t grab me as a story as much as I’d hoped. I finished the book because I wanted to know what happened in the end, but I didn’t always love the journey there. This meant that I couldn’t connect with Jack and Kate’s romance as much as I wanted to because the plot felt a little disjointed.
Another reason I struggled with reading this ARC is that it was poorly formatted for kindle. Though of course I appreciate receiving it for free and that it’s not the final copy, the lack of proper formatting didn’t help my general reading enjoyment.
Moving on from the negatives, there are things that were really strong in this novel that made it a good read. First of all, the characters are dynamic, genuine and hilarious. Jack is a fantastic main character, I really enjoyed his perspective and his overall journey throughout the book. Kate is both sassy and vulnerable, which is an interesting mix especially when you know she’s going to die. There are many scenes between the pair that are adorable and funny. Jack’s best friends Franny and Jillian are great additions to the story, though I found some of their roles in the plot frustrating and also got annoyed at the way they always told Jack how selfish he was, even though I kind of thought they were being selfish?
Also, a sidenote: do teenagers really say “man” and “baby” a lot? This is not exactly a good thing about the book in my opinion, but maybe it is realistic for a group of teens to all sound very similar? I’m not sure here, just putting that out there as a thought I have.
But moving on.
My favourite part of this book is how Justin A. Reynolds portrays the importance of love and time. The exploration of first love and the importance of never taking your time on this planet for granted is the main purpose and worldly lesson in this book. A very important theme and one that is relevant for every single person living in this world today. So, read this book just for the simple reason that it is a story about making the most of your time and spending it with the people you love. A lovely reminder in the form of a fun and sweet book that isn’t without its faults but is certainly worth reading.
Are you planning on reading Opposite of Always and buying it when it comes out next year? Let me know what you think of my review/your own thoughts!
Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords