Again Again by e. lockhart
Early ARC Review
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: June 2, 2020
It would be easy to write this book off as another YA romance based on this (pretty adorable) cover, but that would be a mistake. It’s frankly always a mistake to write-off e. lockhart as just another YA author. Her books are always just a bit deeper. Her characters always just a bit realer. Please don’t get me wrong here, there are so many amazing YA authors, but lockhart’s books always just hit me a little bit harder, and this book was no exception. Her books are always something new. She’s written contemporary fiction, thrillers, retellings, and now multiverse novels.
Again Again follows the story Adelaide Buchwald during the summer between her junior and senior years. Adelaide is spending the summer at the boarding school Alabaster…I think it’s Academy (from The Disreputable History!) where he father is a professor. She is walking several faculty member’s dogs and procrastinating finishing the final project for a class that has put her on academic probation.
She is also nursing the very recent break-up that has wrecked her while dealing with her feelings about her younger brother who is currently in treatment in Baltimore with their mother for opiate addiction. Again, this seems to be billed as a romance (the cover, the official blurb, etc), but that isn’t exactly right. This book is certainly about love — romantic, self, familial — but it’s really about a girl coming to terms with herself.
What makes this story a bit different is the ways in which certain scenes are shown in a few different ways. While it certainly isn’t sci-fi, the author shows how the same situation could go many different ways throughout the multiverse. I loved this aspect of the novel, even if it was a bit confusing in the e-arc format. Once I understood what was happening it was easier to follow, and I’m sure the finished copies will be formatted in a way that makes it more clear.
Mostly I just really loved Adelaide. She’s a very typical teenager who is melancholy and listless. She knows she messed up this last semester but has a hard time finding the motivation she needs to fix it. I felt for her family situation which is obviously affecting her in ways that she has a hard time articulating. I loved the different dogs and their personalities. I loved being back at Alabaster. Basically I just loved this book.
This story is poignant and funny and sad and real. Like all of e. lockhart’s books, I was pulled in immediately and was sad to leave it behind. I’ll definitely be purchasing a finished copy for my library and cannot recommend it enough.