Happy New Year! I’m so happy to be rid of 2021 forever—we can only go up from here, right? Just before the end of the year, I asked around to see if anyone recommended any “New Year” themed books, since I didn’t get to read a holiday story around Christmas this year, and there was a resounding consensus that I needed to read Oona Out of Order. It had been on my to-read list for a little while now, so that was the push I needed to get started. Who does love a well-done time travel story?
Just because life may be out of order, doesn’t mean it’s broken.
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?
Oona Out of Order is a remarkably inventive novel that explores what it means to live a life fully in the moment, even if those moments are out of sequence. Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.
Even though this book came highly recommended to me, I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was. For three nights in a row I stayed up way past my bedtime reading this—including finishing it a few minutes after midnight on New Year’s Day, which means I rang in the new year reading. Time travel stories can be pretty easy to screw up, but this one was done really well. You get a little frustrated with Oona and the decisions she makes, but I always had it in my mind that she was mentally in her early twenties the whole way through the book, so it’s understandable that she doesn’t always do what’s right—she’s trying to figure out who she is, which is hard enough without also needing to relearn and restart your life every year.
There were two surprising moments that kept the plot interesting—I even gasped out loud for one of them, and when it was over, I wished the writer had been planning a second book to continue Oona’s journey because we really only got a small snippet of her life, but the moments we saw were enough to get the full picture. I really wish this would become a TV series—it would be so good!
“All good things end, always. The trick is to enjoy them while they last.” —Margarita Montimore, Oona Out of Order
Thank you to Erwan Hesry on Unsplash for the featured photo.