This is another book that I read an excerpt of on EpicReads and I’m glad I decided to continue with it and check it out from the library. I’m trying my hardest to come up with a way to describe how I feel about this book but it’s proving to be exceedingly difficult, so please pardon this rambling nonsense I’m calling a :book review”.
Jack Ellison King. King of Almost.
He almost made valedictorian.
He almost made varsity.
He almost got the girl . . .
When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. Jack’s curse of almost is finally over.
But this love story is . . . complicated. It is an almost happily ever after. Because Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Beautiful, radiant Kate. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do—and let go—to save the people he loves.
There’s just so much love and heart in this book. Love for your friends, family, boyfriend/girlfriend… everything. That’s why it’s so hard to write a comprehensive review for this. How do you write about something that was beautiful but sad but funny but, but, but?
Here’s my excellent bare-bones summary of this book:
Jack meets Kate. Jack and Kate quickly fall for each other. Kate dies. Jack travels back in time. The cycle repeats.
That sounds really boring but honestly it was really cute and powerful and emotional. Each time Jack travels through time he tries to do something that will keep his friendship with Jillian and Franny as strong as ever, that will keep Kate alive, and that will not make him a disappointment to his parents. Sound impossible? Yeah, turns out it kinda is.
I feel like if I go into any more detail I’ll end up spoiling some of the travel outcomes, so I’ll shut up about the plot. Buuuttt…
I can still talk about the characters! Jack was adorably awkward and funny, Kate seemed cool but I didn’t get a huge sense of her character except she was kind of like a female Jack, Jillian was pretty good, and my love for Franny will never die. Somehow they all mash together to make a great cast of characters that together and individually learn to navigate the changes of growing up, grief, disappointment from family, unrequited love, and making (and making up for) mistakes.
It sounds like a cliché teen book and, while it has some of those vibes, it’s really just a sweet book that brings you into the story and won’t let you go until the very end. I skimmed some of the parts once we got a few time travels in but the overall feeling the book gave me hasn’t gone away and I’m glad I read all 400-some pages. You should definitely give this a shot if you’re into (slightly) sad books, dorky characters, and serious themes being tackled in a humorous way.
If You Like This, I’d Recommend…
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series (particularly book 3)