Saturday, December 28, 2013

Peggy Sue Got Married & Back to the Future all rolled into one! Living Backwards by Tracy Sweeney @pink_flask #amreading #bookreview

I received this ebook in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Living backwards is the story of a 29 year old woman who somehow manages to time travel back to three weeks before her high school graduation. 

As most of you know I am not really a fan of romance books, unless there is some other primary element. In this case, the time travel aspect - which just happens to be one of my favorite plot devises - was what drew me to this book. 

As the title of this post states - it is pretty much a combination of Peggy Sue Got Married and Back to the Future - both movies are actually even referenced in the book, as is The Butterfly Effect - only this story has been updated for present day to include references to Facebook, and of course has different characters and situations. 

The key question of time travel remains - if you can change your past how will it effect your future. What will be the ripple effect?

 The book is told from several view points, primarily those of Jillian, and her crush Luke. I don't miind stories told from different points of view and sometimes that can be very helpful when you want to really get inside a character's head. In this case, for me, it worked and it didn't work. It was good to get to see both sides, but at the same time when we've gone through days worth of Jillian's perspective, then we switch to Luke's and go back several days to repeat everything from his view point, well it just felt a bit unnecessary. And since this is a fairly long book, that made it feel even more so. Perhaps if the author had not backtracked when switching points of view I would have enjoyed that part a bit more.

I nearly set this book aside for a couple of reasons. One is that I had trouble getting into it. It does have some humor and the 90s pop culture references were a bit fun even though I'm a generation older. 

Part of what was turning me off was Jillian's reliance on "Joan", her alcohol-filled flask, to get through normal day-to-day situations. I didn't want to read a book about an alcoholic, no matter how cute it was written. Just not my thing. But I was curious to see where the author was going with that element of the story. I'll admit I was starting to wonder if the author herself were an alcoholic and this story was her way of justifying her own alcohol abuse. I will say, without giving away any spoilers, that I no longer have that suspicion of the author and I was satisfied with where she went with that aspect of the story.

A couple of other tiny things that just slightly annoyed me, and really aren't even worth mentioning, but I'm going to mention them anyway (hahaha - it's my blog and I can say what I want) - one is that Jillian, Luke, and the other four primary characters were all "only children" with some pretty hands-off parents. Stretching the believability a bit. The other is the amount of "distraction" based on the sexual frustration and/or lust both Jillian and Luke experienced - but hey - it IS a romance after all. Neither of these issues is really relevant.

So in summary: This is a somewhat cute, chick-lit story about getting a high school do-over, and how it changed Jillian's (and Luke's) present and future. It is a solid and enjoyable story, full of romance, teen - and adult - angst, and a satisfying ending, but it was just a bit longer than it needed to be.

If you'd like to check out Living Backwards for yourself  - click here to go to it's Amazon page. 

What are your favorite time travel books?

Book Blurb:
Twenty-nine-year-old Jillian Cross refuses to believe that a pair of skinny jeans has led to her untimely demise. Life just isn't that cruel. But when an overly-enthusiastic attempt at squeezing herself into them leads her to fall and lose consciousness, she is faced with just that possibility. When she awakens with both a bruised ego and a bump on her head, she's not in her tiny apartment but her childhood bedroom circa 1999-the spring of her senior year in high school. Jillian knows that time travel isn't logical. But then again, neither was her decision to wear skinny jeans. As she attempts to navigate her way through the halls of Reynolds High, walking the same path and making the same choices she made years before, she knows that any change she makes can have a catastrophic effect on her future. But when she strikes up an unexpected friendship with motorcycle-riding, cigarette-smoking Luke Chambers, can she pretend to be the same shy girl she once was? At least she has her pink sparkly flask to take the edge off. One little change won't hurt, right?

About the author:
Tracy Sweeney graduated with a degree in Management and Finance but prefers writing ridiculous things to crunching ridiculous numbers. She lives north of Boston, Massachusetts with her two young boys. Her short stories have appeared in Literary Juice, Solecisms and Slice of Life Magazines. She is currently working on her second novel which will be equally as ridiculous.

Follow her nonsense on Twitter at @pink_flask.


  1. I love Peggy Sue Got Married & Back to the Future, I don't think this book is for me however. Great review

  2. I don't blame you Jess - It's way overpriced for what it is. :)

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