Saturday, July 06, 2019
Opposite of Always, by Justin A. Reynolds
Suddenly Jack finds himself back at the party, the same party where he first met Kate four months ago. He's been given a do-over. Like Bill Murray's character in Groundhog Day, Jack is condemned to relive those four months all over again. And, again as in that movie, Jack tries to tweak the outcome to make things turn out better. But this isn't a comedy and Jack finds his choices each have consequences -- some of them dire.
While the gist of the story has been done before, the angle here is different. For Jack, there is a lot to learn about love, friendship, family, and loyalty. Being a boy book, the relationship stuff is mostly about keeping appearances and pride (rather than tears and jealousy) but the complicated family relationship of Franny and his jailbird father is just one piece that gives this novel a serious tone. There really isn't much doubt of how the story should end (and it delivers) but there is a very satisfying dramatic arc of personal growth for Jack.