This unique story begins on New Year’s Eve in 1982, when Oona Lockhart is about to turn nineteen. She is agonizing over whether to stay with her boyfriend Dale’s band, or go with her best friend to London to continue her education. Her angst is about to get worse, however, because at the stroke of midnight she experiences tremors and passes out, only to wake up in 2015. An unfamiliar male, who turns out to be her personal assistant Kenzie, tells her that whereas she may be nineteen on the inside, she is now fifty-one on the outside. Every year on New Year’s Eve, she jumps in time – seemingly randomly – to a different age of her life. Kenzie explains, “You’ve never been able to figure out how it happens or why.” Only Kenzie and her mother Madeleine know her secret.
In subsequent chapters we experience different times and ages along with Present Oona, who starts leaving herself notes at the end of each year, hoping she can make a difference in Past Oona’s life. The only way she is successful in changing events, however, is in giving Past Oona stock tips so Future Oona will have financial security. Otherwise, she found that “whichever way the years flowed, it was impossible to outmaneuver their passage.” She needed to learn how to accept the bad stuff she came to know would happen, and enjoy the moment.
Evaluation: Oona is a fascinating character, who has to grow up on the inside much more quickly than other people, and learn how to handle events and relationships she knows will change later. Reading about her progress in dealing with her odd fate held my interest throughout the story. I didn’t like Oona much, but there’s no denying the author kept my attention.
Published by Flatiron Books, 2020