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All booksYoung adultOpposite of Always
Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
Young adult

Opposite of Always

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Justin A. Reynolds, on your first book!

by Justin A. Reynolds

Quick take

A tale of first love, second chances, and Froot Loops.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Quirky


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LoveTriangle

    Love triangle

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Magical


Why I love it

Any child of the ’90s is familiar with the time-displaced protagonist. From Bill Murray in Groundhog Day to Back to the Future’s Marty McFly, we know well these (usually white!) heroes. But thanks to Justin A. Reynolds, we have a new 21st-century time traveller: charming, heart-on-his-sleeve Jack, who yearns to alter the past until he finally gets every facet of his life right.

When Jack meets Kate at a house party, he’s pretty sure they’re meant to be … until, that is, she dies unexpectedly. But Kate’s death triggers a shift in time that sends Jack back to the day they met, giving him the chance to save her life. If you’re worried about too many math equations on whiteboards: don't be. Jack and Kate's almost love story is realistic, rooted in the expectations we put on relationships and the promise of new love that's usually not as sweet as it seems. And yet, who hasn’t met that person who they thought might fix it all, if only they could keep them from, y’know, dying?

As someone who fast-forwards through many second acts of films that are too predictable, I'm in awe of Reynolds's ability to draw and hold the reader in a story that's part love story, part coming of age, and part high-concept time adventure. Not only has he created a time loop that will break your heart multiple times, he’s created A+ supporting characters that are messy enough to be real and realistic enough to get even messier. Reynolds never loses that light subversion of a relatively trauma-free black protagonist, a black love story, and black families that anchor the character of Jack, and I cannot wait to read what he writes next.

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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.

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Check out a preview of Opposite of Always.

Member thoughts

All (453)
All (453)
Love (189)
Like (230)
Dislike (34)
468 ratings
  • 40% Love
  • 49% Like
  • 7% Dislike
  • Chelsea, AL

    Wow this book and all the feels!!!!!!! It had me “craughing” at times with these awesome characters. You can’t help but root for Jack and Kate throughout! Really makes you think about all the little

  • Union , CT

    I loved the own voices rep and the sickle cell rep. This book had so many important elements to read about and I'm so happy I chose this book. I learned a lot about the importance of time in this book

  • New Braunfels , TX

    I loved this book. Laugh out loud hilarious, especially the parts where dancing was mentioned!!!! I think I've done some of those dances myself. I would recommend this book to anyone. Great storyline.

  • Raleigh, NC

    I found the concept of the story to be unique & enchanting. The characters were strong & it was a captivating story. I love that all the main characters were people of color. This was very enjoyable!

  • Glendale, WI

    This story was fascinating in its exploration of the multitude of dimensions & complexity of human relationships - and how throwing one part off balance can create havoc with the other aspects.

  • East Orange, NJ

    This was a lighthearted, comical and relational heavy read! I was blown away by how invested I was with the characters. The writing was smooth sailing. The tone was so relaxing.

  • Burnsville, MN

    I was so sure this book would’ve been a cheesy YA romance, but man I lived this book! The characters quick wit and the other relationships developed in this book are so rich!

  • Fargo, ND

    Really sweet and romantic story. I really rooted for the two leads and it was interesting to see how all the different scenarios played out with each repeated days.

  • Hartsdale, NY

    Really love the growth of the main character and the emphasis on nurturing all types of relationships, not just romantic ones.

  • Saint Paul , MN

    A sweet story about a boy meeting a girl and falling in love over and over again. Kind of a Groundhog's Day for modern times.

  • Boston, MA

    Really want to know what love is? Read this book to watch a kid try and save the love of his life over and over again.

  • Danville, KY

    I read this in one setting. Jack is a great narrator, very likeable and flawed. It is an excellent YA novel.

  • Dublin , GA

    I got this book from book Bookoutlet. I really liked the premise of the outcomes of all the different actions

  • Statesville, NC

    I love timeline books and repeat day books. This one was wholesome, the characters enjoyable and real.

  • Las Vegas, NV

    The groundhog day scenario was great. I highly enjoy how the certain scenes were appropriately skipped.

  • Masury, OH

    This book hit differently. This book was so cute and heart-breaking that I couldn't put it down.

  • Fort Mill , SC

    This was such a fast read. I could not put it down, I LOVED reading Jack and Kates love story.

  • Grand Tower, IL

    This book! I could not put it down. I loved the writing style and the characters. Good read!

  • West Des Moines, IA

    Had me frantically reading until the end to know how this story would wrap up. Loved it!

  • Phoenix, AZ

    The author's sense of humor clearly shines through the characters. Enjoyed it very much!

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