Hello busy readers! How are we faring in February? Everybody hanging in there? Spending some cozy time under blankets with a good book? I hope so! This month’s book review spotlight is on Oona Out of Order — a not-to-be-missed book coming out February 25th. It was one of most anticipated adult fiction books of 2020 and I’m so happy it exceeded my hopes and dreams for it!!
So let’s get right to my thoughts on Oona Out of Order and you can decide if it’s a good book for you to read! I’ve broken it down to the plot/summary of the book, my review and then my final thoughts about it (if you are wanting just a shorter summation of my thoughts vs more detail).
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Book Spotlight & Review: Oona Out Of Order by Margarita Montimore
Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
What genre is Oona Out Of Order? Honestly genre-bending…time travel fiction but more literary (but not in a slow or pretentious way) and less sciencey
When Is Oona Out Of Order Release Date? February 25, 2020
Thank you to the publisher, Flatiron Books, for this complimentary copy for review consideration. My opinions are my own.
Where To Find It: Amazon // An Indie Bookshop Online//Listen via LibroFM
Summary + Plot For Oona Out Of Order
So what is Oona Out of Order about? Imagine you’ve lived your life in sequential order, like everyone else, and then on the eve of turning 19 (also happens to be NYE) you instead end up as your 50 your old self?
TOTALLY JARRING, RIGHT?
That’s what happens to our girl Oona. She faints at the stroke of midnight and comes to, 19 years old in spirit, but in her 50-something body and life circumstances in the 2010’s. And then this happens every year after that — jumping to a new random age in her life and living her life out of order.
The book takes us along with her as she comes to terms with this new life of hers and experiencing some of these leaps alongside with her as she pieces together her life.
My Thoughts & Review of Oona Out Of Order
Ever since I read The Time Traveler’s Wife many years ago I’ve been trying to find a time travel-esque book that I love as much as that one — one that would be just as unique, compelling and make a lasting impression. This one is THAT for me.
It’s not that it’s similar to The Time Traveler’s Wife — it doesn’t have that sweeping love story like that and the premise is way different — but rather it’s just that same feeling I’ve been looking for since I read it. Something that really took me by surprise and captivated me because of how unique it was. This one will have its claws in me for a good long time.
I loved this innovative and captivating book so much that I read it in a day — not a small feat when you have a toddler (aka I didn’t sleep and the house was a MESS). It was thoughtful, examining and quiet at times but in that compelling way that you still tear through it. I cared so much about Oona’s journey to discovering herself through each new year she faces but also through the life she learns about that the Oona before her lived and left for her.
I loved jumping through these decades with her (especially the 80’s & 90’s) and feeling that jarring feeling of where we’d end up next and uncovering where life has brought us. I really looked forward to see which year we’d end up in next. Though I WILL say that sometimes trying to figure out the timeline and logistics hurt my brain — as time travel plots often do to me. Especially because she leaves notes for herself at the end of each year and I kept getting confused how she pieced some things together. But also #toddlermombrain going on here. I’d love to reread to see if I catch details that I missed the first time around because every detail seemed to matter.
It was interesting, too, thinking that she could be 19 in spirit but 51 or vice versa she could be 51 and living like let’s say her 21 year old life or something. How jarring would that be? Especially how technology and live changes within these decades she leaps to and fro from.
There’s so many pros and cons to this and we see them so clear. I love the clever ways in which she used her knowledge for good for herself and loved ones — I mean hello stock markets and smart bets and knowing dangerous events ahead of time. But you can also see the immense weight of this knowledge and the uncertainty for her life would be like — that feeling of being untethered and without that anchor and constant of time.
It’s that last point that makes you really feel for her even when you feel like she’s not DOING anything with life. In the book we are only seeing the first few leaps of her life happening in real time as readers (so still the young version of herself still coming to grips with it and it being pretty new and fresh) and it’s easy to get frustrated with her at times — especially the year she seems like a hot mess — but you really put yourself in her shoes. HOW *DO* YOU LIVE? Plus she’s also grieving the life she thought she’d have.
There were so many emotional moments in this book because of all this and some of them weren’t the most HUGE things but in the very small details that would just make my heart break for Oona. I found myself crying by the end because for as heart-wrenching as it could be it was a most beautiful book.
There were some really key relationships that drove this book, too, and the one that I will mention as my favorite is the one she and her mother had — her mother is a constant in her life and I just found this so compelling.
My only wish, and this isn’t a complaint but more a testament to how much I loved Oona and her journey, is that we got to experience MORE (or every) years in some capacity. There were some things I would have liked to see in her other years (even if it was only a page or paragraph) — like her TELLING her mom about the time travel or how she decides upon her system for leaving notes for herself.
I also think having more years would help with connecting the timeline more but honestly it was just SO compelling I wanted every year. Ultimately, though, the ending was perfectly done and satisfying and it probably would have been unwieldy and not as impactful if I had my way vs the carefully selected years we get to help us get from the beginning to the end. I’m just nosy more than anything and get VERY attached to beloved characters.
WOW I could talk about this book ALL DAY. Clearly. It really impacted me and I HIGHLY recommend.
To sum up my thoughts:
Margarita Montimore’s Oona Out Of Order is definitely going to be one of my fave books of 2020 — I will put money on that. It’s an innovative time travel and self-discovery story about a woman who lives her life in a non-linear manner and grapples with all the things she loses and gains from that.
It was such a wonderful examination of what it means to REALLY live in the moment and experience life so fully — to really give to our passions, to the people around us, to decisions we might never know the full outcome of. Kinda reminded me that, despite sometimes feeling like our trajectory is set in life or we get bogged down in uncertainty of change, that there’s always a way to make life be fresh and anew because there are so many facets to ourselves we don’t even know yet and haven’t even met — we just need to open ourselves to what life brings us.
Poignant, captivating and totally unique — this smart and emotionally page-turning novel will linger for a long time.
Read it if you like: time travel novels (especially a la The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August), books that make you think, books that are equal parts page-turner & reflective
Don’t read it if: you will be bothered not knowing WHY it’s happening to her (it’s more about the journey than the why and how of it all)
Also try the audiobook — a friend I trust LOVED the audiobook! My favorite way to listen to audiobooks it through Libro.FM! Check out my review of Libro.Fm (and how it stacks up vs audible)!
Have you read Oona Out Of Order? What did you think if you did? If you haven’t, do you think you might pick it up?? Also, please tell me your fave time travel books!!
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