“Book Review: My Backward Life”
Reviewed by Chika Anene
One teenage girl’s desperate race against time to prevent a life-altering incident from taking place
16-year-old Louise Doors’ leads a relatively uneventful life, or at least she thinks so. When she wakes up to discover that six days of her life have gone missing and that her days are suddenly going in reverse, she is rightly terrified.
She has no recollection of what happened after a gig she attended with her friends Leah, Rana, Toya, and Chrissy, and where her crush Luke and his band were playing on Friday night. But she is determined to find out why her friends are suddenly giving her the cold shoulder, why she’s speaking to a girl named Candice in her school’s bathroom even though she can’t remember making friends with her, and why a mysterious boy named Dylan shows up and hands her a letter she’s supposedly written to herself — explaining in some detail what is going on.
In addition to her confusion, she also must grapple with the fact that her parents’ marriage appears to be beyond saving. Dylan, who attempted to save her life on Friday night, and who she is slowly falling for, seems to be a crucial link to most of the answers she needs. While everyone around her thinks she’s crazy, Louise starts to notice that the people who she thought were actual friends, actually aren’t, and that the guy she once thought to be perfect, might not be so perfect after all.
“Scientists say everything is made of 99.999999 percent space and the only thing in that space is vibrating energy. They also say that the tiniest matter particles are constantly popping in and out of existence. Where they jump to depends on the habits of the universe, not physical law. Which means, you could jump anywhere too.”
Each day Louise wakes up, she discovers that her missing days are happening all over again, but in reverse. She has to find out what she can do to stop this frustrating time-loop, while each backward day brings her closer to the day when it all began.
Claire Merle’s book sucked me in right from the very first pages and made me just as eager as the main character to get to the bottom of everything that was happening in her life, sometimes coming up with theories of my own that were either spot on or the complete opposite.
Merle has written her characters in such a way that makes them quite believable, from their descriptions to the dialogues between them. I couldn’t help but find myself annoyed with some of their behaviors and decisions on some occasions, while on the other hand favoring other characters and rooting for them.
As I continue reading, I grow prouder of the main character’s development: how she becomes more confident speaking up against unfair treatment and how she chooses to deal with certain situations once she has a second chance to do things over.
I would definitely recommend My Backward Life to anyone who has read and enjoyed If I Stay by Gayle Forman, or anyone looking for a YA contemporary book that offers a breath of fresh air. It’s one of those books where you get so attached to it, you don’t know what you’ll do with yourself once it’s done.
Category: YA Contemporary
Paperback: 338 pages
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