Book Review: Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order…

Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met? Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Margarita Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.

When I got hold of this book, my initial response was, “Oh, another time travel?”; a remark that may have been excused for the fact that the trope had been around for a long time and had already taken many different forms.  Films and fiction books alike have adopted the concept of time travel and no matter how obvious and trite the storylines are, it has already secured its place in a variety of media.  

Still, “Oona Out Of Order” is a breath of fresh air.  By the stroke of midnight every New Year, Oona Lockhart leaps into a random year of existence.  She could end up a twenty-year-old in a fifty-one-year-old body only to be transported to yet another year that she had no idea what awaits her.  The only thing constant in her life was her mother’s knowledge of her random loops every year.  But Oona would have to depend on letters that her previous self has written – not all the time warning her of her future her other self has gone through – but allowing her instead to live through the entire experience once again. 

Told from a third-person point of view on alternate timelines, every chapter of this book kept me up and had me craving for more. It helped that Oona gets to experience heartbreaks, adventures, and insights with every leap she takes and the romance arc surely added a gorgeous amount of thrill that readers kind of root for.  But Oona’s close relationship with her mother is the novel’s strength: a heartwarming and delicious take on a parent-child connection that goes beyond the measure of time. An open-ended plot yet a satisfying one that will most probably end the way the readers want because Oona’s fate was already decided. 

And did I mention how I adore the author’s references to pop culture?  There was hardly a time I did not alternate between reading and checking Spotify or YouTube searching for the famous bands and artists mentioned in the book.  By the time I was done reading, I ended up becoming a fan of both Lou Reed and Kate Bush. The other artists I’m well aware of and have been a fan eons ago.  I’m an eighties baby so this book was a trip along memory lane.

Oona Out Of Order came at the exact moment I wanted to experience and confront the circumstances depicted in the book that reflect my own.  I would never have grasped the true purpose of having gone through so many mistakes in life had I not been exposed to books that made such a lasting impact. I will never get over the richly woven plot and the realizations along the way.  For me, this book is truly magical: a shared experience between the author and her readers that may or may not have been encountered yet.  Who knows? Time is a tricky thing after all.

Rating: 5 out of 5.


Author: Margarita Montimore

Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Science Fiction / Magic Realism

Length: 339 pages

Publisher: Published February 25th 2020 by Flatiron Books

ISBN-10: 1250236606 

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

  1. Glad that you enjoyed this book! I’ve only read one book that involved time travel, and while I liked it at times the mechanics of how the time travel was supposed to work became confusing. The “out of order” concept in this book reminds me a little bit of the setup for characters in the 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, where one character jumps into a different person’s body after a certain number of days. Lovely review :))

    claire @ clairefy


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