Based off the blurb, I expected this to be a four or five-star read. A coming of age story that’s not about a high-schooler and involves time travel and romance, what’s not to like? Well, I’m bummed to say that I didn’t enjoy this at all. I feel like this is the kind of book that you love or hate; I can’t say I hated this, but it wasn’t for me.
- Name: Oona Out of Order
- Author: Margarita Montimore
- Genre: time travel, magical realism
- Page count: 339
- Published: February 25th, 2020
A remarkably inventive novel that explores what it means to live a life fully in the moment, even if those moments are out of order.
It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order…
Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met? Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Margarita Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.
The prologue and first few chapters had me excited and wanting to keep reading. I enjoyed the writing style the most. Margarita Montimore’s prose is good quality and paints a vivid picture of New York and the different decades that Oona lives through. I hate to say that I don’t have much else to say here. Oona out of Order has a few moments of wisdom about living life, but they weren’t particularly special.
If there is one more thing I can praise, it’s the representation. Diversity matters, but how an author goes about it matters more. There’s nothing worse than when characters are shoved into a plot for the sake of diversity, and this wasn’t that.
The time travel didn’t make any sense to me and since it was such a central part of the plot, it was hard to enjoy the book. It’s hard to discuss that part without spoilers, so I’ll just leave that there.
There is so much drug and alcohol abuse, which I was not anticipating at all. Oona parties to escape her problems for a large chunk of the book, which I thought made the plot lack substance.
There’s a pattern where Oona adjusts to a new time loop, reads a letter from her past self, and then does the opposite of what the letter advises her to do. As the loops went on, I was waiting for something to happen; anything that would make me start to like her or connect with her character. Unfortunately, Oona’s character development doesn’t have much progress until the very end, and by that point, it was too late for me to root for her.
I could have DNF’d this book for sure. I decided to push through, mainly so I could end the month with six books completed. I didn’t connect with any of the characters, especially not Oona. She’s an awful protagonist who’s short-tempered and reckless. She ignores meaningful advice and creates problems for herself and others. I felt for Kenzie (one of the main supporting characters) because he goes through some tough losses. I was also shocked by the outcome of one of Oona’s relationships, and I felt bad for her under those circumstances. Other than that, I wasn’t invested in this book, and the ending wasn’t satisfying either.
Oona out of Order shows that life isn’t just about what happens to you; it’s about how you react. The moral of this story is to live life to the fullest because we can’t control everything that happens to us and we’re bound to make mistakes. My rating for this is 2.5 stars, rounded up from two stars because despite what I said in the paragraph above, I would give this author another chance. This is Margarita Montimore’s debut, so I’ll have to wait to see what she writes next.