I can’t believe it’s only February and I may have already found my favorite book of the whole year. I just feel so strongly about Oona Out of Order! (And frankly, I feel so self-conscious trying to review it right now that I don’t know how I’m going to manage.. It’s so hard to review books you loved so much.)
If you follow me on social media, chances are you’ve already heard me talking about Oona Out of Order for the whole month. If not… Prepare for a really gushing review. Oona Out of Order has it all – it’s colorful, vibrant, twisty, the premise is quite surreal but you still want to run with it completely, and it both breaks and heals your heart. I never wanted it to end. I’m still sad I just finished it!! It should have just gone on forever.
Check out on Goodreads
★★★★★ 5 stars
How I read this:
free review copy from Libro.fm
On the night of her 19th birthday, which also happens to be the New Year of 1983, Oona finds out something new about herself, and unfortunately, it will make her life more distressing than she could ever have imagined it to be. Turns out, every coming birthday she is going to blink out of existence for a short moment and come to in her own body, but at a completely random time. God knows where, god knows how old – and in what circumstances.
She now has to deal with becoming a complete existential nomad – unable to settle down, barely having anything constant in her life. You’d think this premise wouldn’t allow for too much feeling – but there’s so much love, pain and so much depth to what Oona goes through. She has to deal with everything life throws her way, and despite the unusual way she experiences life, it isn’t much different from everyone else’s – apart from maybe the fact that sometimes she knows what’s coming, and it’s usually not about the good things. It’s a tumultous, but also adveturous journey which you won’t be able to get away from experiencing together with Oona.
What An Interesting Premise And Portrayal Of Time Travel!
Oona Out of Order has been compared to The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After Life. I’ve read both, and in my opinion, it’s quite a lot like The Time Traveler’s Wife – with the exception that Oona doesn’t randomly travel – instead, she knows she will jump every year, so at least she’s more or less prepared and can leave herself some guidance. Oona also stays where she’s leapt, so she doesn’t keep coming back to the present like Henry from The Time Traveler’s Wife. I also didn’t find it too much like Life After Life, because the character is aware of what’s going on, plus, she doesn’t get to relive her life (but that’s good, cause I disliked Life After Life and couldn’t recommend it anyway!) In terms of feel and emotion, Oona Out of Order also feels a lot like The Time Traveler’s Wife! So if you liked that one, you will almost certainly love Oona as well.
As for the time travel… It’s just a literary device, so there’s no scifi and no real explanation – but that doesn’t matter. The point is showing the frailty of human life and happiness, the illusion of “forever” and continuity that we cheat ourselves into every day. This book made me think a lot along these lines – and you can’t help but get knee deep into all the pain (as well as the happiness) Oona experiences while going through her life randomly as she is. In a way, this story is about attachment and letting go – that true love, true happiness is always fleeting, and if we get attached, we will only hurt ourselves – so we must learn to love and appreciate things even though we know nothing really lasts – we must learn to be happy DESPITE that.#OonaOutofOrder shows how fleeting, frail our lives may be – and how we cheat ourselves into thinking we are 'forever'. Seeing it all through Oona's eyes – out of order – draws attention to our fleeting nature: Click To Tweet
It’s An Exploration Of The Past Two Decades And A Lovesong To Them
In Oona Out of Order, we get to travel the years along with Oona – so we get to experience 1990-2015 all in a jumble, which is a really cool experience. It’s funny how many things have changed – and how many, on the contrary, haven’t changed at all. The author does a great job at showing us this – so reading Oona’s first moments in 2015 straight after 1982 was really amazing. But it’s not just that – there is so much love for music and pop-culture throughout this book! There’s a nod to many great alternative rock bands, and the different atmosphere of every decade is portrayed so well. I felt truly transported. Exploring the decades in this way was also sort of an exploration of human nature – how we express ourselves in vastly different ways, but inside, we stay the same.
An image of a colorful rave party with swirling neon colors in the background (courtesy of Pixabay)
Oh, and there’s a little tidbit I can’t fail to mention – I really loved Oona’s reaction to social media, having come straight from the 80’s into our time – so ordinary people act like they’re famous? Spot on, Oona. Spot on.#OonaOutofOrder is a lovesong to the past few decades, their music and their popculture. Learn more about this vibrant 5 star book: Click To Tweet
Oona Out of Order Isn’t Romance-Centered
Another wonderful thing about Oona Out of Order was that it wasn’t romance centered – oh yes, there are plenty relationships (and sex, for that matter) and love does matter to Oona, but it’s not the main point of the book. The story is about her life – about finding her place despite what she has to go through, about finding a way to guide her own self through it all, about learning to accept the inevitable. Part of the challenge for Oona is to just change her behavior and judgements based on how “old” she is, despite completely not matching her age inside (one year she may leap to when she was physically 20, the next – when she’s 54, but her own mental age runs just like yours or mine – in a line.) She also has to change all her attitudes based on the decade and the circumstances. Imagine doing that in a day.#OonaOutofOrder is about finding your place despite not having one, guiding yourself through your own life and learning to accept the inevitable. Despite that, it's still such an upbeat book! Read more: Click To Tweet
The Feel Of Oona Out of Order And The Audiobook Format
The writing style of Oona Out of Order was simple, flowing and very natural. I feel like it was especially good as an audiobook, because a lot of it is dialogue – in that form, you just don’t want to stop listening! What’s also interesting – despite painful topics of loss, not being able to belong or control anything in your life, the book was still quite upbeat and not blue at all. There was just this deep longing and pain in it, and yet – it was still so vibrant, adventurous, bright and emotional. Despite her unsual condition, we see Oona living an interesting, colorful, vibrant life – even if it’s not a typical kind of life.
As for the audio, I loved it so much! The narrator did a stellar job. She’s just so talented – she does so many accents and voices, some of them just a little different from her normal speaking voice, but they give a story so much more feel (I would sometimes forget it’s the same person doing male and female voices even.) I loved what the narrator did with this book – it really gave it so much. More than that, she has such an amazing voice – it’s husky and kind of vaguely sexy, which really works in the setting of the book – fashionable places with quirky characters.#OonaOutofOrder is a wonderfully done #audiobook – the narrator is brilliant, and the story itself is upbeat despite dealing with topics of loss and inevitability: Click To Tweet
Oh gosh, I just loved this book so much! There’s not much more I can say – aside from how much I wanted it to go on and on. (I literally stopped at 97% and couldn’t bear to go back to it, cause I knew that it would end the next time I listened.) Oona Out of Order is a story that made my heart so full. There were so many things I didn’t see coming – it’s one hell of a ride. This is certainly gearing up to be my best read of 2020! Please get yourself a copy – it’s SO good.
I thank the publisher and Libro.fm for giving me a free copy of this audiobook in exchange to my honest review. This has not affected my opinion.
Have you already found your favorite book of 2020?
And do you like books with an interesting twist on time travel?
I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.