Review: Oona Out of Order

In this high-concept second novel, Margarita Montimore's (Asleep from Day) heroine experiences her life out of order in a smart, funny, time-hopping journey around the last four decades.

On New Year's Eve in 1982, 18-year-old Oona Lockhart faces a life-changing decision: take a semester off from college to tour with boyfriend Dale and their band, or seize an amazing opportunity to study abroad in London. When midnight strikes, marking both a new year and Oona's 19th birthday, the choice becomes the least of her worries. Instead of 1983 and her 19-year-old body, Oona finds herself in 2015, trapped in a world and body she doesn't recognize. As her personal assistant Kenzie tells her, "You're fifty-one on the outside, but on the inside, you still have the mind and memories of yourself at nineteen. So it's like you've swapped bodies. Only with yourself. At a different age."

Oona will go on to live her life out of chronological order, leaping forward and backward through time each birthday. The dazzling high-tech world of 2015 gives way to the drug-drenched early '90s club scene, and Oona struggles to find her footing anew each year. Despite usually finding a letter left by her previous year's self, she struggles to adjust to surprises like finding herself married to a stranger or in an argument over events that haven't happened to her yet. Throughout the chaos, her mother, Madeleine, remains her touchstone, but she also keeps a secret that will change Oona's entire out-of-order life forever.

Anchored in its disparate time periods by pop culture, fashion and a few historical references, this coming-of-ages tale focuses purely on the personal. Like the average person, Oona spends too much time managing her closest relationships to influence world events. She may know portions of her future, but she seems powerless to rewrite her fate, aside from skillfully playing the stock market. Though living in scrambled chronological order may seem an unusual problem, Oona's plight will resonate with anyone who has ever felt like a stranger in their own life when confronted by choices made at a different age. Despite her frequent at-sea moments, though, Oona repeatedly manages to take control of the time she is given and make a home for herself in any year. Montimore's meditation on what always changes and what never will sparkles with hope and heart, perfect for readers who love a quirky, thought-provoking tale. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: A woman lives her life out of chronological order, decade-hopping from the 1980s to the 2010s in Montimore's light-hearted but thought-provoking second novel.

Powered by: Xtenit