First Lines: When my phone chimes with a text message on Monday morning, I’m still in that dreamy state between sleep and awake where you can pretty much convince yourself of anything. Like that a teen Mick Jagger is waiting in your driveway to take you to school.
On one of my latest library runs, I picked up this book in the hopes that it would be a nice change of pace from everything else I’ve been reading lately. It’s been on my to-read list for a while, but I was really excited to see what it was actually going to be like.
After the worst Monday in the history of ever, Ellie just wants a do-over. I mean, can a day really get any worse than bombing a history quiz, giving the worst election speech ever, looking like a drowned rat in her junior photo, and having her boyfriend break up with her? Nope. So she makes a wish to redo it all. When Ellie’s wish comes true, she knows what she has to do: keep her boyfriend, Tristan, from breaking up with her. But no matter how many do-overs she gets, Tristan still seems determined to end things. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix her relationship or will she be stuck on Monday forever?
(I’m just going to say this now: this book reminded me an awful lot of that Supernatural episode about Tuesdays, “Mystery Spot,” except with a lot less death. Ok, moving on.)
I have this weird relationship with books that have characters reliving the same day over and over. The premise always sounds amazing. Always. But then when I start reading the book, I get bored fast. You’d think I’d learn.
At the beginning of the book, I didn’t really like Ellie. She seemed too self-absorbed and over-achieving. She’s easily that person who has no free minute to herself because she’s involved in 20 extracurriculars, but claims that she actually likes it that way when she’s really just tearing herself apart. I had a really tough time finding something about her to connect to. And I tended to roll my eyes at times because she’s overly dramatic and claims she isn’t.
However, I did come to like her quirks. She listens almost exclusively to 60s music and she’s always dreamed of a romantic carnival date. I mean, not that current teenagers necessarily do either of these, but these quirks made her seem more real.
Finally by just over half the book, I warmed up to Ellie. By the 4th or 5th Monday, she’s starting to flounder. You could see the toll of reliving the same day over and over with no one remembering anything having emotional repercussions on her. And that definitely helped me find some sympathy for her. (In a way, it even reminded me of like the reverse of 50 First Dates, the way that Adam Sandler has to keep telling Drew Barrymore over and over what’s happened that she doesn’t remember.)
Around the middle of the book, I actually considered putting it down. It fell into one of my least favorite cliches: How To Keep Your Man Advice. In this book, they were called Girl Commandments. It was stupid advice like “be mysterious” and “don’t return his texts right away; make him wait.” Ok, maybe that kind of stuff works at the beginning of a relationship, but think about Ellie’s position: five months into a relationship suddenly on the rocks. No. You can’t suddenly start ignoring texts and answering questions with questions. Seriously, that makes it look like you’re hiding a cheating scandal or something, not being all cute and mysterious. Plus, that advice I think only works for certain people. Above all, you should be yourself and if you’re not comfortable doing that, it’s not the right relationship. That’s my stance, so books that keep perpetuating this other stuff gets on my nerves.
However, in the name of full-but-spoiler-free disclosure, Ellie does start to come around to my way of thinking. So by the end, I wasn’t as angry about this cliche as I was earlier.
Honestly, this story doesn’t break any new ground. Stories that have characters reliving the same day usually follow the same pattern. The character goes through confusion, excitement, anger, sadness, and acceptance in some way or form. You can pretty well peg how this story is going to go, even if you can’t figure out all the specifics ahead of time. And I’m not saying this is a bad thing. Just be prepared, if you’re looking for something new and exciting.
Overall, it’s kind of a quirky story. It took me a while to warm up to it, but I eventually started to enjoy myself.