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Opposite of Always

Written by Justin A Reynolds

Debuts of the Month Featured Books for 13+ readers Featured Books for Young Adults Romance / Relationship Stories Star Books

LoveReading View on Opposite of Always

Exhilarating love story with an unforgettable male protagonist and … time travel

May 2019 Debut of the Month

Reader, prepare for your heart to quicken, pound and swell with love, for this is a truly intoxicating tale of friendship, romance, seizing special moments and being willing to do anything – anything – for the people you love.

Jack King - one of the most authentic and charming characters to have stepped off a YA page - and his best-friends-since-childhood Franny and Jillian are on the brink of a new chapter in their lives, picking out colleges, planning their careers, while having fun hanging out. And then Jack meets Kate at a party and falls for her big-time. They’re soul-mates who bond over their love of cereal until, all too soon, Kate dies. But this tragic event turns out to be the beginning of their story, for Kate’s death flips Jack back in time and he meets her again, as if for the first time, with Kate sensing that she knows him from somewhere: “The way you look at me. Like we’ve been doing it our whole lives.” Jack sets about trying to change the course of history, firstly so Kate doesn’t die, and then also to swerve bad stuff away from his friends. But, in classic time travel tradition, this has dangerous effects. Cue Jack wryly referencing Back to the Future and Groundhog Day while up to his neck in serious complications.

Take away the pulse-quickening time travel element and you’d still have a novel heated by much heart and humour. With it, this is a firework of urgent, impactful YA fiction, a book that’s ablaze with tough choices and all kinds of love. Throughout there’s a whole lot of heart-melting cuteness - the trio’s friendship, the sweet relationship between Franny and Jillian, Jack’s parents’ perfect marriage. The plot progression and developments revealed through the various play-outs of the past are brain-flippingly smart, with twists wending through to Jack’s desperate need for “one more re-set to undo this tragedy”.

Reader, I cried on the bus.


Joanne Owen

Opposite of Always Synopsis

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, he knows he's falling - hard. Soon she's meeting his best friends and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. But then Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate's death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate's there again. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn't sure if he's losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate's death, he'll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he's willing to do to save the people he loves.

Opposite of Always Press Reviews

One of the best love stories I've ever read. Angie Thomas, bestselling author of The Hate U Give

Jack's narration is as funny as it is poignant as he moves from romantic to frantic and back again... [a] sentimental but not saccharine fantasy. - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

[Reynolds] creates an enormously likable character who is doing the best he can and then some ...the book's blend of humor and heartbreak wins out. - Publishers Weekly

Reynolds spins a poignant, dizzying tale of love and loss in this page-turning time-travel fantasy. - Horn Book

Romeo and Juliet meets Groundhog Day and Love Story in this wonderfully romantic story of teenage love and second chances.... Reynolds creates a pair of unforgettable protagonists who are doomed to love, lose, and work to find one another again and again. - Kirkus Reviews

A love story about friendship with a choose your own adventure twist... Any teen who's ever wanted a do-over will enjoy reading this story. - School Library Journal

Read this one, reread it, and then hug it to your chest. Reynolds' debut is wise, heartfelt, and wildly, infinitely charming. -- Becky Albertalli, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Leah on the Offbeat

This charming, wry novel packed with witty, crackling banter is propulsively readable. There are some big questions about choice, consequences, loyalty, and love in this novel, and Reynolds beautifully complements those heavy concerns with the sweet, funny, and genuine voice of his protagonist. - Booklist

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781509870042
Publication date: 04/04/2019
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781509870042
Publication date: 4th April 2019
Author: Justin A Reynolds
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 320 pages
Suitable for: 13+ readers, YA readers
Genres: Romance / Relationship Stories
Recommendations: Debuts of the Month, Star Books
Collections: Diverse Voices - 80 Children's Books that Celebrate Difference,

About Justin A Reynolds

justin. a. reynolds has been a pest control operator, night security guard, steel mill janitor, NASA intern, salesman of high-end faucet fixtures, and carpet-flooring installer. He was most recently a registered nurse, before trading his stethoscope for a pencil, but likes to think both instruments reveal the heart. He lives with his family in northeast Ohio, home to snow, Lake Erie, and the Cavaliers.

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