With everything going on at the moment, I’ve been struggling with reading – being me, I’m still reading more than most, but I’m having a really hard time focusing for extended periods of time and usually get distracted every few pages. So I’ve been trying to trick myself by reading fifty page bits and having multiple books on the go in different formats at the same time to keep up with reviewing. But The Rearranged Life of Oona Lockhart managed to bypass all of that, and I accidentally finished the whole book in a single sitting!
Oona’s refreshing, humorous voice hits the tone of the time, and is the perfect story to read in these troubled times. A massive thanks to Will O’Mullane and Gollancz for the review copy of this wonderful book in exchange for an honest review!
RELEASE DATE: 05/03/20
STAR RATING: 5/5 ✶
SYNOPSIS: Brooklyn, 1982. Oona Lockhart is about to celebrate her 19th birthday and ring in the New Year. But at the stroke of midnight, she is torn from her friends and boyfriend, finding herself in her fifty-one-year-old body, thirty-two years into the future.
Greeted by a friendly stranger, Oona learns that on every birthday she will leap into a different age at random. Still a young woman on the inside, but ever changing on the outside, who will she be next year? Wealthy philanthropist? Nineties Club Kid? World traveller? Wife to a man she’s never met?
As she struggles between fighting her fate and accepting it, Oona must learn to navigate a life that’s out of order – but is it broken? (from Gollancz)
OPINIONS: I find it really interesting that the US and UK versions are so different! It’s not unusual to have separate covers, but this is one of the first books where I’ve seen them change the title – they seem to speak to different audiences, which I guess makes sense when you consider the imprints publishing the novel in both markets. Where the UK cover focuses on the time-traveling aspect, being published by a SFF imprint, the US version seems to be aimed at more of a chick-lit audience, where Oona is published by a general fiction publisher.
But whether as The Rearranged Life of Oona Lockhart or Oona Out of Order, Margarita Montimore has presented us with a magnificent debut, crossing genre boundaries and speaking directly to a generation of millennials trying find their place in the world. Oona’s first jump is reminiscent of the classic Jennifer Garner film 13 going on 30, which probably everyone in my generation has seen, and thus immediately evokes a feeling of comfort and nostalgia. As a nineteen-year-old in a middle-aged body, skipping from the eighties to the modern day, Oona has a lot of adjusting to do – some days I still feel like Oona, displaced into a modern world reliant on technology, having forgotten how to live in the moment.
As Oona learns how to navigate the world and her unique life, we get to meet many of her companions through the years. Some are positive figures, some less so, but something that they all have in common is that they are utterly human. Just like Oona is so real it hurts at times, her supporting cast come with their own sets of issues and aims, hurts and wants. Margarita Montimore makes these flawed characters come to life and tell their story in a way that makes it exciting, even if you sometimes already know how it will end.
A story of love and loss, trust and betrayal, and most of all, finding out who you are, The Rearranged Life of Oona Lockhart is a gem of a debut, and I savoured every moment of it. I expect I will be rereading it every once in a while, and I highly suggest you add it to your TBR as well. Add it on Goodreads here, and here are your order links for Hive and Waterstones.