Opposite of Always

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Member Reviews

Sometimes you see a cover of a book and you know instantly that you have to read it. I definitely had that excited feeling and completed this book within a few hours as I couldn’t put it down!!

Jack King meets Kate at a party and within seconds they are laughing away as if they had known each other for years. He wants to spend every minute possible with her. Kate feels the same way but tries to resist.

Jack and Kate’s relationship flourishes but sadly Jack finds out that Kate’s life may be short and no matter what he does, she keeps dying. He finds himself back at the beginning, meeting her as a stranger at the part for the first time time again.

I loved this book. In the story they use the word Craughing meaning to cry and laugh at the same time and that’s exactly how I felt when reading this book!! 

Jack and Kate are an adorable couple who you can’t help but root for. Every girl needs a Jack in their  lives. 

A groundhog story that is not repetitive, as every time the scenario changes slightly as Jack makes seemingly small changes that have consequences for everyone , putting their lives in danger.

A must read that blends friendship, love with time travel to make a fascinating book. 

Will be looking out for Justin Reynold’s next book. 

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review.
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I did not finish this book due to the file format on the kindle but I will be buying this book once it is released and giving it a read!
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I’ll be honest with you. I don’t read a lot of YA and I definitely don’t read a lot of love stories – if any. If the blurb has the word ‘love’ or ‘romance’ in it, you’ve got a 99.9% chance of losing me without a backwards glance.

There was something about Opposite of Always that enticed me in and once I started reading, I was totally engrossed. Yes, it’s about love. And there’s some lust. Romance. But it’s about more than that – it’s about what it means to be alive and to live.

Reynolds is a master at developing characters. From Jack to his best friends Jillian and Franny, you get an in-depth look at their psychology. However, that’s not to say I liked them. I had really strong feelings towards Jillian and Franny, and I felt like they took from Jack more than they gave. In fact, I’m not sure they gave anything. Jillian particularly irks me as she is like a child with a toy she doesn’t want to play with, but when someone else wants the toy, it’s all she wants too.

The only character I didn’t feel like I got to know well enough was Kate. I didn’t fully understand what made her tick. I would’ve liked to have had a better understanding of her perspective of having lived with a chronic disease.

My out and out favourite characters are Jack’s parents. Married for 30 years, they show why it is important to always be working at relationships and prioritise each other.

The story itself is carefully constructed and it takes real talent to write a book about a character reliving the same day with minor variations. Opposite of Always does not get boring – the only thing I felt was frustration because I could see where Jack was going wrong and desperately wanted to guide him. But this isn’t meant negatively, it just goes to show how emotionally involved you can become in this book. At one point I actually said aloud: “Jack, what are you doing?!”. I don’t think anyone heard me…!

Aside from the story and the characters, the best bit about this book is the format. The chapters are pretty short, which I love. Some are shorter than others, but I felt like it helped keep the momentum going. I’m also one of those people who has to finish a chapter before they put the book down, so long chapters do not sit well with me.

Overall, this is an impressive debut by Reynolds, I’m interested to see where he goes with his work in the future.
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I'd heard a lot of things (great things ofc) about this debuting novel and because I'm always late to things (except for that 'Stranger Things' time), I wanted to get onto this bandwagon before the hype started. So I decided to give it a read!

And good thing I did too! The writing style of this book, oh my my! I think it's what sets it apart from a lot of the YA fic I've read. It was so so easy and comfortable to just slide straight into this book. The chatty, friendly narrative really pushed it for me. Then the plot. Okay, so the main theme has a 'groundhog day' feel to it, which I know we've seen before (and many times even). BUT, don't be fooled! Yes, there were times I felt a bit disconnected from this book but what's different (and special) about it is the relationships that Jack has with Kate/his parents/his friends. The friendship side of this book is a big one especially when Jack goes through the time loop each time and the circumstances changes. I mean the bromance between Franny and Jack is equally as heart warming as that between Jack and Kate! And another reason as to why it's different is because the time loop that Jack goes through contains some of the most important, 'coming-of-age' moments of his life and I think it's beautifully captured.

Overall, 'Opposite of Always' gave me serious feels. There's an underlining honesty in this book which made me like it very much. It's a very comforting read.
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Really enjoyed this time loop story, it’s sweet and charming with really great characters. I loved the way that while it has the time loop aspect this is a contemporary YA at heart dealing with real life challenges making it feel so relevant to today’s teens.
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There aren't enough words to describe my love for this book. It made me laugh and cry and sometimes both at the same time! I actually went into it not knowing anything- but when I realised that our main character Jack keeps reliving the moment he met Kate. AND IT IS SO EMOTIONAL I CRIED ON THE TRAIN

The writing was so fantastic and I loved Jack's character- he was both normal and extraordinary. Justin Reynolds wrote a character that is actually human- not just a fictional being who magically says and does everything right- and for that I LOVED IT.

Highly recommend!!!
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In this book Jack at a party meets Kate, a girl he falls for hard only she is sick, with sickle cell and is facing death all through the book.

As Jack tries to save Kate from her death, he travels through time to try and redo the past to spare her life as he loves her only he also must correct everything he did wrong to his best friends Franny and Jillian as they face issues with their parents being absent and struggling to get by money wise too.

However I didn't see a shock twist after Jack's third attempt to save Kate coming which changes the whole outcome you expect to see happen.

Yet as we got through all scenarios of time travel to save Kate, we make the realisation that saving someone can actually save yourself as your feelings and decisions change your life too and how time travel may not ever always make things perfect if it did exist in real life throughout the novel to me the book proves the fact that everything happens for a reason and how we learn from our mistakes the unlikely couple are cute at times but to me also Jack does border too much on coming across too strong as a boy interested in the girl and Kate plays it more cool where usually it's the other way around!

Many thanks to the publishers for allowing me to review this book for them!
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I loved the sound of this - the premise was excellent and I couldn't wait to start it. But I found the two main characters very irritating. The dialogue was trying far too hard - it felt heavy and clunky. I didn't believe enough in the characters or their relationship to care whether Kate was saved or not. This didn't work for me.
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Opposite of always is a novel about first love, death and time travel, it took me a while to get my head around this and found the book difficult to get into to begin with, that said, initially when Jack meets Kate at a party the dialogue is sparky and amusing, when Kate dies a Groundhog Day scenario begins where Jack goes back in time to change things, with some poor choices being made but this adding more layers and depth to the story.
I would say this is definitely a book for young adults, but an engaging story with some lovely scenes 
My thanks to net galley and publisher for the opportunity to review this book honestly.
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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.   This is a debut novel based on friendship and love and what a great rollercoaster read it was.  Highly recommend
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“You know the saying “Time is undefeated”? This is a story about the time that Time lost.”

Justin A. Reynolds’ debut novel, Opposite of Always, is a romantic time travel flick packed with cereal and feel-good moments. Jack King, our protagonist and our narrator, is the kind of awkward you can’t help but love, but his thoughts hit home at the most unexpected moments. The gut-punches in this novel don’t come from where you think they will, but once they hit, you’ll never doubt that Reynold’s knew exactly what he was doing when he wrote the scenes.
The premise of time travel to redo a relationship is an intriguing one and, like many others, is the reason why I was interested in reading Opposite of Always in the first place. But, if you’re like me and you look for detailed sci-fi, you’re going to be a little disappointed when you read this novel. There’s no explanation for the time travel, and there are a few inconsistencies in the plot related to the whole time travel aspect, but if you’re not too bothered about unexplained phenomenons, this shouldn’t bother you at all!
There is no doubt in my mind that this novel has been written with the intent of it becoming a movie. Some scenes feel so shot-for-shot that it’s almost as if I were reading a screenplay and not a book. This doesn’t exactly leave a great taste in my mouth, because I believe you should write a novel for the sake of writing a novel, not for it to be turned into a massive blockbuster (which is an added bonus, I guess).
Kate, Jack’s love interest, seemed a little too manic pixie dream girl for me, with some lines being so unpleasantly quirky and overtly flowery that she seemed too good to be true. It’s pretty evident where the “quotable” lines have been inserted in, and they don’t particularly gel very well with the rest of the book. Opposite of Always would probably have gotten a higher score from me if it weren’t for Kate and her bizarre way of speaking, which totally threw me off and felt like I was reading a John Green fanfiction, but Reynolds can write likeable and believable characters. Exhibit A, as mentioned before, is Jack, who is just the right level of awkward where it feels real.
At the end of the day, Opposite of Always is a touching, relatable, sometimes painful, depiction of first love. We know the basic premise of the ending when we start the novel because Jack straight-up tells us, but it doesn’t make the novel any less gripping. There are a lot of books that I can’t put down, but there aren’t that many that I’ll read in a busy cafeteria full of shrieking kids. Yet there I was, headphones blasting as loud as they could go, clutching my kindle with white-knuckles, needing to know what was going to happen to Jack and Kate.
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I really enjoyed this unique book. I had been so excited for this and it lived up to my expectations. The friendship is written beautifully with raw emotion and humour.
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The book follows Jack King (or JK, Jackie, Jack Attack, and the 37 other nicknames he seems to have) as he goes to visit a prospective university/college with his high-school friend Jillian and ends up at a party. While at the party he meets Kate and in the following months begins to fall for her. But Kate dies and suddenly Jack is back at the beginning, caught in a time loop while he tries to save her.

This book is a pretty slow starter, but once it gets going, it really gets going. I wasn't really into it for the first 25%, but I can pinpoint the exact moment that changed – when the time loop/time travel section kicks. I've always found the idea of parallel words interesting, so a story where one character gets to relive—and attempt to change—a section of time over and over again (almost creating parallel versions of events) was always going to be fun for me. If it was done well. But I'd say Justin Reynolds does it pretty well.

Each time Jack goes back, events change and we get more development for each of the main characters, which keeps the plot engaging. The dialogue is cliched at times, but the narrative has humorous moments and the quick pacing held it all together.

If you like the type of squads found in Simon Vs or What If It's Us, then you'll like the characters in this novel. Jack's best friends Jillian and Franny are fun, supportive, and full of zest. They're the kind of friends that will cheer you on if you're winning a race, but will also call you out for doing bad things or making poor choices. And Jack is one of those YA characters that makes a lot of poor choices. He's likable and frustrating in equal measures; sometimes we question his motives, and sometimes we root for him. But as he learns more about himself and what's important in life, be begins to become a more rounded character.

This is an own voices novel and has a lot of diversity, but I was hoping there would be at least one queer character included and there weren't any, despite there being scope for queer characters. Although this didn't really harm the plot of the book, it would have expanded the story further to have queer characters involved.

My main issue with this book is that we're never given an explanation for how Jack ends up going back into the past. Jack himself talks about why it might have happened (to save Kate, to help his friends), but we never find out what actually caused it. The ending too, is abrupt, and we're left unsure whether the cycle is actually broken or not.

But those issues aside, I enjoyed this more than I expected to. There were some really heart-warming scenes, and I liked the existential questions that were woven into the plot.
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A fabulous refreshing storyline. One that is perfect for a chilled out reading day. The story kept adding layers to the characters and I very much enjoyed reading it.
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This was an interesting premise. Each time Jack travels back it adds another layer to the story and characters. It was a well written book and has some good themes geared towards young adults.
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Second (and third) chance to get love right... Groundhog Day rehash of a teenager's first love.

"All the time travel in the world can't save the people you love." Jack is in love with his best friend Jillian (who is happily dating their mutual friend Franny) when he meets college girl Kate, who instantly gets under his skin and connects with the senior. 

Getting to know each other, he realises this may be love. But then Kate dies (this is NOT a spoiler, by the way)... and Jack then finds himself meeting her all over again at the same party and reliving their months together all over again... It's not madness, it's not a dream. So why is Jack reliving the relationship - is there something he should be doing?

A twist on the Groundhog Day repeating-time theme (see recently released Pretty in Punxatawney), Jack's issues with his feelings for best friends, Franny's convict father, Jack's perfect parents (not at all annoying, actually, great role models), all balance alongside his relationship with the lovely Kate. It could get annoying, his constant falling in love with her, reliving the same events, but we see different moments and discussions. 

I did wonder how the repetitive angle of this idea would work for Jack - he surely must be attending the same classes multiple times, completing the same homeworks again and again, having the same dinner-time conversations with his parents, but this never gets mentioned. A shame, I thought.

I liked seeing Jack experiment with other realities and fulfilling his fantasies, even though he didn't seem to learn from mistakes and remains a pretty poor friend for many of his attempts. The author manages to keep what could be an incredibly saccharine sugar-sweet love story from becoming overly so, with Jack and Kate remaining likeable and their feelings for each other more sweet than sickly.

Fresh look at the genre and idea, worthy YA read that could make a great film/series.

For ages 13 and above.

With thanks to Netgalley for the sample reading copy.
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Sweet and quite humorous in place but very much YA fiction, which I didn't realise before I picked it and I'm definitely not the right demographic. I did think it was a bit derivative of The Fault In Your Stars though - adding a time travel element doesn't lessen that!
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I loved this book!
the characters are easily imagined by the excellent descriptive writing, something that always helps me immerse myself in the story. The time travel aspect of the story is excellent, with the groundhog day - like repetition of a series of events being quite different to other books I have read tackling time travel throughout life times and/or history. I liked the fact that Jack tried to fix things in a number of different ways, each time having to rectify the changes he makes that negatively impact on other people dear to him, making each iteration new to read.
A lovely love story with an excellent twist in time, some unexpected turns and a great ending!
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Well written, characters were fleshed out. I could barely put it down! I will definitely be recommending this to my friends.
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“Let’s see… uh, I sorta want to write a book, or several books, I guess.”
If that was your dream Mr. Reynolds, I have only two words for you – WELL DONE!

   This is a debut novel by the author and it is absolutely stunning.  It is a story about love, friendship, family, and time-traveling, of course. What are the possibilities in front of you if you go back in time with a chance to alter the future? I had everything I want from a book – I laugh my arse off with Kate, feel sad about her death, and was hyper enthusiastic about traveling back in time. But I felt it right to go back and spend some extra time with somebody you love for one last time. To have the chance to tell them everything you didn’t have time to before, even if they don’t remember you. Or even to try to save them.

   Long story short. Jake meets Kate in the party in the university camp he is going to attend next year. Something click inside them and things between them goes on with ease. Until Kate dies. And Jake’s adventure begins. He is supposed to figure out how to save Kate’s life. But he makes great mistakes, hurts people he loves, just to save her. Until he realises that it is pointless to make attempts to change the future. You have to live the life in its best, appreciate people who got you back and will always stand for you. And everything will be fine.

 “So the earth rotates around the sun, right? And it would be super weird for it to start happening the other way around, right? Like, suddenly the sun starts revolving around the earth. Except that’s sorta like what loving someone is all about. You’re moving along life, doing your thing, managing your priorities and commitments.
And then suddenly you meet THE ONE.
And you fall completely out of the orbit you’ve been spinning in.”

   Jack, as a character, is amazing. I can’t imagine someone who is going to fit better than him. He is well developed  and vigorous. He always put under questions everything he makes and this is half charming, half annoying. But he is devoted and smart, as well. After every failure, he comes up with new ideas how to save Kate. At the same time he is corny and lovable, there is no chance you not falling for him.

   I felt in love with Kate from the first sign. She is witty and sarcastic, with sharp tongue and no filter between her brain and her mouth. Actually she reminds me so much of myself. I can be so bitchy sometimes (okay, almost all the time) and definitely speak what I’m thinking. It is one of these characters, full of life and you have the feeling you know them or you can meet them at any moment of your life.

   Jillian, on the other side, drives me nuts. How can you be so blind for the past three years and didn’t see that Jack is mad about you? And at the very same moment another girl catches his eye to begin overreacting, acting bitchy and protective like he is in your possession.

“People always say they’re happy you’re happy until they’re afraid that maybe your happiness is affecting their happiness and then they’re not so happy about you being so happy.”
But what is this, Jake is going through?  Is this a parallel universe? Or just ‘variations how to screw up your life’? Why the universe gave Jack such an opportunity? Why we cannot go back in time and fix the mistakes we made? Is this a gift or a curse?

“Because who would care about what happens to me enough to send you back in time? Like, what’s so special about me?”

   I was captured by the plot and really enjoyed the book. So roughly, the plot is divided into different sections for every time Jack goes back in time to when he first meets Kate at the stairs. With every part of the book, there are more layers added to the story. But coming down the end, last two sections fells more like repetitive  than offering something new. But this didn’t spoil the pleasure this book brought me.
(I felt last two chapters-like parts needless. As for me the book was going to have a strike of an end if it finished with Jake’s wake-up.)

“When you’re a kid, you think your parents have it all together. That they know what they’re doing. And then one day you realize they’re just as screwed up as you. They are just old and screwed up.”
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