Opposite of Always

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

I want to preface this review by saying that I love alternate reality fiction. I hungrily request anything in this genre, which is why I was delighted when NetGalley allowed me to read the arc of Opposite of Always

However, I was disappointed. Opposite of Always tells the doomed love story of Jack and Kate. It doesn’t feel like a book that came out in 2019, it feels older, with the same narrative beats I’ve read before. Boy is in the friendzone. Girl he likes is dating best friend. Boy meets mysterious girl. Girl is quirky and likes cereal. Girl dies. Remember when every YA novel was about teens with terminal illness? Bad times.

The narrative style didn’t draw me in either. The prologue of OoA makes the story seem like a science fiction, (Police! Needles! Dying Girl in Mysterious Hospital!) but then it quickly switches to YA. Things happened too quickly for my liking, I know that Reynolds probably wanted to get straight into the action, but I wanted time to slow down and develop the story. When Kate dies for the first time, it happens so fast that it lost the emotional beats.

The main character, Jack, is boring. His only traits are not being good at much, and being Obsessed with Kate. The book is painfully straight, all Jack wants to do is follow Kate about and kiss her. Before that, all Jack wanted to do is follow Jill about and kiss her. When your main character wants to do nothing but follow girls about, you have a problem.

Overall, Opposite of Always is good idea in theory, but on paper, the story fizzles out. The characters have no personality apart from YA tropes, and the illness storyline just feels cheap and overused.
Was this review helpful?
2.5 stars

Jack meets Kate at a party and they hit it off instantly. They grow closer but then Kate dies.
Jack somehow finds himself back in time at the party where he and Kate first met.
Jack knows he must use this chance to try and save Kate.
Can Jack prevent Kate's death?
Will his actions effect his friends and family too?

I have mixed feelings about Opposite of Always.
There were times when I liked Jack, but there were also times when I found him really annoying and thought he was selfish and a bad friend.
I liked Kate. She seemed like someone I would want to be friends with.
I also liked Jack's relationship with his parents.
The time travel aspect of the plot was interesting, especially seeing what changed during each alternate time, but I did get a little bored at times.
The writing style wasn't one of my favourites - it didn't hold my attention all the time.
I love time travel, so I was excited to read this, but it didn't quite hit the mark for me.

Overall this was an okay but disappointing read.
Was this review helpful?
I liked this because it didn’t focus solely on the love story but also explored the importance of other relationships in Jack’s life, most notably friendship. I hope that a teenage audience will appreciate the importance of friendship over that one romantic relationship that so many aspects of their lives seem to demonstrate is the be-all and end-all. A sweet book.
Was this review helpful?
A lovely read. Very well written and strong characters. Enjoy this book. Recommended read. Thank you to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for my eARC of this book in exchange for my honest unbiased review
Was this review helpful?
A sweet teen romance along the lines of Groundhog Day meets PG Netflix''s Russian Doll. It's nicely written and a will make for a good summer read. For me personally, the characters, particularly Kate, lacked depth and so I found it hard to be invested in the romance. I wondered if the plot was going to try and say something more than it did in the end, but it's still an enjoyable ride and Reynolds is one to watch out for on the YA scene.
Was this review helpful?
Lovely, sweet, sad, quirky teen romance. I wish I could say more, but this wasn't necessarily something for me. Having said that, I have no doubt my students would 100% love it. It took me a while to read - I kept dipping in and out of it, but I think that's just because this is one of those YA novels that will (and I'm sure already does, as it's been published already) satisfy its intended audience more than adults. Obviously this isn't an issue as it's a YA book, but there are times you stumble across a YA novel that you fall in love with at any age. Props to reynolds for his lovely story, brilliant protagonist, and important message of love and time.
Was this review helpful?
The plot of this book definitely pulled me in and I was excited to see how it would develop. 

However I think the writing style put me off slightly and for myself personally made it hard to continue to read through the book
Was this review helpful?
This was a fun read about time travel, teen romance and illness. Jack King, used to 'almost' getting what he wants, is in love with his best friend Jillian who, inconveniently, is in a relationship with their other best friend Franny. Nevertheless, on a campus trip to Whittier University, Jack feels the need to tell Jillian how he feels. At the same party, before he's able to do this, he meets Kate who he quickly falls for. The budding romance between the two is lovely and full of gorgeous little moments that characterise falling in love. When he discovers Kate has a terminal illness Jack is crushed and more so when Kate dies. So he's both baffled and delighted to find himself moments letter back at the same moment in time and place where he first met her. With no comprehension as to why this is happening he decides it's his job to help save her. I enjoyed all the funny moments where Jack knowing what's about to happen has to be explained away and all the errors and gains he makes in doing this. His relationships with everyone are probably the strongest part of the book. The history between characters and the interaction between this is unique to each person in the novel and their voices are strong. That said I found the concept started to get a little laboured around half way through the book and I didn't understand some of Jack's choices whatsoever. I'd say this is a teen book that really should mostly be read by teens. While, as an adult, I enjoyed the reading experience I definitely felt that I'd have enjoyed it a lot more as a younger reader. Which is, of course, the intended audience! That said this is a novel with heart and a lot of love.
Was this review helpful?
The characters and relationships were relatable and engaging and  I found this book hard to put down.  I loved the loop we were thrown in, it was addictive and keeps you on on edge as the constant changes that occurred due to him wanting to change the future, added different elements and layers to the story and to the wonderful cast of characters.  Well worth a read.
Was this review helpful?
This time-travel contemporary had me so excited going into it. Lots of representation, characters from a variety of different backgrounds and a odd but endearing reason for the time slip – go and save the girl you love. This quickly however started to go downhill for me. Jack is a very self-deprecating character, constantly having a mental monologue about he’s just missed out on everything in his life. While at first this is charming, it quickly becomes quite old, as everyone around him is constantly disproving the things he thinks about himself. I realize that it’s his own self image that’s affecting his behaviour, but there’s only so much I can handle before I just zone out during those bits of the story. Kate starts interesting and entertaining but also soon slips into quirky dream girl, that loses any and all autonomy over her disease – something that I really couldn’t get behind. I couldn’t help but feel slightly skeptical about the romance, where Jack is risking life, limb and family for a girl that he’s only known for about 6 months at that point – most of which we only get snippets of so it felt even shorter to me. This one really wasn’t for me, which is so disappointing!
Was this review helpful?
I love going into these kind of stories without knowing a thing about it. All I knew was I liked the quirky looking cover, I have never read anything by this author before and the title intrigued me.
And I was pleasantly surprised, this was so cute! And although Goodreads says this is 460+ pages, I read it in 3 short days. 
Opposite of Always was a definite page-turner and a 'just one more chapter' kinda read... And a brilliantly written romance at that.

Its follows the story Jack King, a nerdy high school student about to graduate with his 2 best friends Franny & Jillian. Jack and Jillian spend a weekend visiting the college they are going to be starting, when Jack meets Kate at a house party.
Kate and Jack hit it off but Jack soon seems to think hes way more into her than she is him. As the relationship progresses we realize Kate's stand-offish behavior is because she has a life threatening disease... Only Jack doesn't make it to her in time. 
Jack then find himself in a time-travel loop where he comes to realize there is something he needs to change over the period of those 6 months in order to break the time loop possibly save the love of his life. 
It really kept my attention wanting to see how all the possibilities played out each time & Jack's parents are also the most lovable characters EVER, they are so understanding and supportive of their son and his friends, I just thought they had the ultimate loving marriage, honestly it gave me warm fuzzy feelings.

This was so enjoyable and Justin A. Reynolds successfully portrays the meaning of second chances, true friendship & real family bonds. I would definitely read any future books by this Author.
Was this review helpful?
Big fan of books that deal with time travel and ground hog day type settings and this was great. A lot heavier than I expected but it was still a good read. Review to come on my blog.
Was this review helpful?
I really wanted to love this, however I felt the story just dragged in the middle, which was disappointing as I found the concept and first part of the novel so interesting. Also, I loved the author's style of writing and the banter between the main characters, plus Jack's narrative voice really stands out.
Was this review helpful?
A time travelling contemporary young adult novel, I was so prepared to love this novel! Unfortunately it didn't amaze me. The beginning was great, I was hooked on the story! I enjoyed the cheesy writing style where Jack sort of interacted with the reader, the explanation of the time travel aspect and of course the introduction of Jack and his best friends.

By the time I reached halfway the story felt slow, the pace wasn't moving along as quickly as I liked and it felt as though the writing lost some of its humour. By the end of the novel the pace had picked up again but I really felt as though I was pushing myself through the middle.

Saving the sick girl trope isn't one of my favourites, but I was looking forward to the added time travel element. But add insta-love to that and you've lost me, in my opinion Jack attempting to save one of his best friends would have been a more believable story. As a reader I felt as though I hardly knew Kate, so how could Jack possibly think he loved her?

It was extremely refreshing to read a contemporary novel with black main characters, particularly a novel without a political or racial theme, these softer novels need to be told alongside the powerful stories of Angie Thomas.

Maybe my expectations were too high, but this story didn't have the effect I was hoping for, paired with the cringy insta-love, there was no happy ending for me and this novel! It's a decent attempt as a debut novel and I'm definitely excited to read any future books by this author.
Was this review helpful?
What a totally gorgeous read, loved it from beginning to end, a tender story all about the things you'll do for love and friendship, really loved the time travel aspect too
Was this review helpful?
As Jack falls in love with Kate, again and again, you’ll fall in love with Jack. Over the course of Kate’s lives we watch him learn and grow, and feel his frustration at the chain of events unfolding, as well as his utter despair at the prospect of losing Kate, who he will do anything to protect. Inevitably, each do-over results in a different course of events with new consequences, but the story is a testament to the power of love, *even* as a teenager, and the importance of perseverance and resilience.
Was this review helpful?
This is pretty good reading as an adult. I enjoyed it, and whilst some of the characterisation was clunky, it still read well. Also passed to my eldest son who thought it was great!
Was this review helpful?
A YA romcom is not my usual genre, but I did enjoy this.  Our natural belief that there is some one for everybody is paramount in this story.  Where and when we find them, is another matter.

Jack King loves his best friend, from afar.  She has no idea and he is not about to change that.  In fact, Jillian is in love with another of Jack's best friend's, Franny (Francisco).

Eventually, life's path changes as Jack meets Kate at a party.  At last, he can be in love without complications.  That is until he hears that Kate is in hospital.  She has a genetic decease, which does prove fatal.  He soon finds that he is back to where he was when he met Kate.

Going back and forth may change how he gets to this point, but the outcome is the same.  By basing this on time travel, the reader can see how this scenario is possible.

As I say, this is not my cup of tea, but I am sure that many YA will enjoy this.

I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are all my own and completely unbiased.  My thanks to NetGalley for this opportunity.
Was this review helpful?
I really wanted to love this book. The synopsis was great, and the characters were set up to be very interesting. Unfortunately, the structure wasn’t quite right for me - it was too fast-paced, and I couldn’t quite digest everything before the next part happened. The final cycle, especially, was very rushed, and the impact was lost on me. I also thought character relationships were very jerky - so many attitudes jumped around even during conversations, and it was hard to keep track of them. 

It’s a shame - it would make an excellent film or tv show, but book-wise, it just didn’t work for me.

Thanks to netgalley for the preview.
Was this review helpful?
We've all seen the scenario - Groundhog Day, Russian Doll etc - but this book was by no means reproducing  the story to the letter.

The main story starts when Jack meets Kate on the stairs while he and his best friend/true love Jillian (despite the fact she's going out with his other best friend Franny) are visiting their future university. They strike up a conversation and he falls for her (men = fickle) but he finds out she has an incurable disease and dies rather soon into their fledgling relationship. Whilst dashing to the hospital after the news Jack also dies................and finds himself returning to the stairs, where he meets Kate - who doesn't remember their previous liaison.

Jackt gets to thinking he is meant to do something, like save the girl so he tries, whilst also trying to keep his other friends happy - it's like juggling water as he doesn't have much time as it is, and so it keeps re-occurring.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it has romance, humour by the bucketload and a story you think you've heard before but quite quickly forget you have as this dominates your judgement, and yes, it might be aimed at teens and young adults but I loved it and my teens are distant memory!

Many thanks to #Netgalley and the publisher Pan McMillan for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?