Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
Genre: Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
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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.
This was a concept I was very excited to read about, and the writing was excellent and readable. Unfortunately, one-dimensional characters and pacing problems kept this from being as good it could have been.
What I really enjoyed about this story was the plot. Surprisingly, it never got tiring reading about Oona’s out of order life. I was always wanting to find out what happened next. The book could have been much longer, though, because ultimately we only see like five years of her life or something, and so we missed most of the timey-wimeyness. Also, the first three years get so much more detail and attention than the last three, which is backwards from how it maybe should have been considering that the emotional years come later.
I also enjoyed the writing a lot. It was pleasantly descriptive, especially in the years gone by. Very nostalgic. The dialogue was also akin to nice banter, without feeling over the top like a Rom-Com. If you like music, you’ll really appreciate the music writing in this book, too. It’s obvious Montimore is an audiophile. There was a little more slang than I feel like real people use, but it didn’t bother me, I just kind of noticed.
Where the book was really lacking was in character development. Oona has very little personality, aside from a love of music and obsession with her high school boyfriend. She lives entire years as if they’re a day, not growing or changing until December 31st. Even over the years she doesn’t mature much. And her “leaps”, as she calls them, I found myself having a hard time believing. I just don’t know that you could spend a whole year drugged up and partying and then just wake up in a new year and be over that. Even if your body was over it, your mind/habits wouldn’t be.
There’s also a LOT of on-the-page sex considering that it isn’t a romance novel.
Overall I enjoyed this book, and would certainly recommend to fans of The Time Traveler’s Wife. But ultimately I wanted more character development and a longer story.