Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing Opposite Of Always by Justin A. Reynolds.
The Opposite Of Always is a beautifully crafted story exploring the awesome combination of second chances, time travel, and, of course, love. It follows our protagonist, Jack’s, countless attempts to save the girl he loves, Kate’s, life, through time travel. Sounds intriguing, right?
There were so many different aspects of this book I loved; it’s definitely up there with my favourite books. The whole story was delightfully charming and the concept was really original; it truly was a lovely read… Once I started reading I could hardly put it down, it was that good!
I suppose just one of the elements which made this book unique was the protagonist. In YA, it’s truly quite difficult to find a book just from a boy’s first person perspective (I think this might be the only one I’ve read where there weren’t any chapters whatsoever from a girl’s POV) and I found this really interesting to read. Jack’s whole character was really well thought out by Reynolds, too… He was endearingly awkward and, despite making some mistakes, it was clear how much he cared about his loved ones (he even made his best friend text him when she got home safely, which was incredibly sweet). Jack was an all round amazing character!
Of course, Kate was amazing, too. She was really witty and quick and I admired her awesome sense of humour! Kate was also really strong and resilient in the face of all the challenges she had to overcome (I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say her death was expected) and her romance with Jack was really sweet, too.
I think it’s safe to say that Kate and Jack might just have been one of my favourite book couples. Anyone could see how much they both cared about each other and the undeniable connection between the two. I really enjoyed watching their relationship play out again and again; it was truly lovely to see how they kept on finding their way back to each other. And don’t even get me started on the adorable emails exchanged between them throughout the different timelines!
Of course, all of the relationships in this book were executed brilliantly. Jack’s relationship with his two best friends was also perfect (despite him messing up in some of the timelines) and the dynamic between them was great. In Franny and Jack’s friendship in particular Reynolds struck just the right balance between light hearted, fun moments and more serious and heavy ones. Their friendship was really well developed and real and it became integral to the story.
Jack’s relationship with his parents was brilliant, too. In many YA books the majority of characters are either given awful or non-existent relationships with their parents but Reynolds chose to go down a different route and it certainly paid off. Jack’s relationships with his parents was perfectly ordinary and it was refreshing to read. Each different timeline delved into their relationship a little more and it was clear how much his parents cared about Jack.
The different timelines themselves (created by time travel) were also really interesting. It was definitely something I hadn’t read about before and I think Reynolds explored it in a really intriguing way. The time travel aspect was also incorporated in the most plausible and realistic way possible; he didn’t build a time machine or anything, he was just transported back when Kate’s time ran out. I was rooting for Jack throughout the book and I really hoped he would succeed on his mission to save Kate.
Second chances were also a primary theme in this book. Each time Jack went back the major events with his family and friends would play out in a slightly different way which made me consider the effect seemingly insignificant things can end up having on our lives. Let’s just say that, despite Jack time travelling, things never got too repetitive as things kept on changing!
I also loved the chapter titles. It’s not often that books are actually given engaging chapter titles (rather than just Chapter One etc.) and Reynolds not only included them but made them incredibly witty and funny, too. I really enjoyed turning the next page onto a new chapter and wondering what the next title would be!
The one thing that slightly annoyed me about this book (at least to begin with) was the amount of times the characters said each others’ names. It seemed to be every other sentence and to start with this really irked me but by the end I’d gotten more used to it. Other than that, though, the book was perfect!
Overall, I would recommend The Opposite Of Always for anyone looking for an adorable contemporary with the added twists and turns of time travel. I would never have thought of these two themes working together, but Reynolds managed to do it brilliantly, and I truly loved this book!
I hope you enjoyed this review!