Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore has a fascinating premise. What would your life be like, if every New Years at midnight you were in a new year of your life, but not the next year. Oona leaps every year at midnight on New Year’s and travels to another year in her life, sometimes she travels forward and sometimes she travels backward. Each leap is marked in the book with the year, her age that year, and how old she really is. So at 19 when she leaps to be her 51 year old self, she acts like 19 in a 51 year old’s body. It sounds confusing, but the book is well-written and very simple to follow.
The one constant throughout her leaps is her mother, who is the only one who knows about her time travel. She follows the rule of no spoilers, and doesn’t give away what will happen or the details of her past life (so she can still enjoy it when she gets to that year.) The one exception being financial information, so of course she invests wisely and is extremely rich (you would be too if you knew in advance when Apple would split and who is going to win a sporting event with unbelievable odds).
The book is set in NYC and Brooklyn and does show how the city has changed over time. When she goes looking for a friend who lived in the Italian Bensonhurst of the 80s, she is surprised with the Asian Bensonhurst of today. (Which hit home for me, since it is the time and place I grew up). There is the gentrification of Brooklyn, the varying NYC skyline (pre and post 9/11), and the grunge of the village.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the setting, the characters, and the time travel element. Oona tries to live each year the best she can and often fails. The one negative of the book, is that there is a lot of sadness. For Oona, living her life out of order is difficult and painful.