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Opposite of Always: 06/01/19
Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds at its most basic is a charming YA romance between a black high school senior and a black college freshman. They meet at a party and have a year long friendship that becomes something more. But there is one big thing standing in their way: her sickle cell anemia.
The book could have been a romance with a happily ever after. Or it could have been a tragedy, written from the clarity of grief and time.
This book is neither and both. Jack King, the protagonist is up front about his situation. In the first chapter, on the very first pages, he explains that he's a time traveler.
He's not from the future, exactly. It's more that he's in a closed loop that restarts whenever Kate dies. But he also makes it clear that he fell in love with her on the first loop. Keeping her alive isn't just a means to and end.
This time travel romance sits in the road narrative spectrum at a 66CC33.
Jack is a marginalized traveler (66) because he's still in high school. He has limited time (both on the day to day as well as the overall time loop). He has unreliable transportation and sometimes he has to borrow a car. He also has to tread carefully because his actions have consequences, often negative ones that affect his friends and family.
The destination is uhoria (CC). This is uhoria through time travel. It's not a very far trip through time, but still a possibly infinite one through the same dates, though with different waypoints.
Finally there is the route Jack takes. As he lives in Ohio near the boarder with Michigan and is mostly confined to his own town or the nearby college, his routes are road based but not interstates. Instead they are Blue Highways (33).
Put all together, Opposite of Always is the tale of a marginalized time traveler taking blue highways through uhoria in an effort to save his girlfriend's life.