[ARC Review] Ida by Alison Evans

08:00 Cilla P 0 Comments

Ida has something I wish to read more of (diversity), something that I'm fascinated by (parallel universes), and something I can totally relate to (feeling stuck with life). Pack all of those up with an eerie, gripping plotline, and voila! You get a book you can't put down.

The thing I love most about Ida is the diversity. Ida has a Vietnamese mother and a German father. She identifies as bisexual and is in a relationship with a genderqueer person. Her cousin is also genderqueer. These are just parts of the characters' identities - no big deal in their day to day, though I sensed hints of the larger society's biases against them. It was a big deal for me, however, as it was the first time I read a book with genderqueer characters. It was eye-opening, in that I had to check some of my ingrained assumptions about pronouns.

The plot revolves around Ida's ability to switch between different universes. The thing is, she doesn't know that she can do this - she thinks she's travelling back in time. There are two aspects to this that I love. The first is the way Ida uses her ability to fix any mistake or change even the smallest decisions, like choosing a different shampoo. If I could time-travel, there's a 90% possibility that I would do exactly what Ida did. The second is that, in the story, there is a company whose job is to watch out for people like Ida who are unaware of the consequences of switching. These characters, genderqueer and ageless, are as fascinating as Ida, and I'd love to read more about their work, lives, and how the company came to be.  

On the down side, there are points during the storywhere I felt like I've missed something. I had to backtrack to understand why Ida was so jumpy at first, and I was confused about the terms she used to describe her ability. At times it sounded like she knew she was switching universes, when she wasn't supposed to know about it yet.

While I couldn't relate to her extraordinary ability, I could relate to that feeling of not knowing where you're heading, or trying your hardest to move forward but you just can't seem to. I'm not sure if it's the intention, but the concept of parallel universes is particularly fascinating to me in this context. There might be different versions of yourself and your life out there, but perhaps at the end of the day they're all moving in the same direction and you have to make the same decisions in any life.

Overall, Ida was an excellent, thought-provoking read. Not only did I love the science-fiction-y concepts that the plot involves, but also the way it is grounded in the very real struggles of young adults.

(I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion on the book.)

Reading this book contributes to the following challenges:

❥ Goodreads Challenge

Title: Ida ❙ Author: Alison Evans ❙ Publisher: Echo Publishing ❙ Source: NetGalley ❙ Release Date: 2 February 2017

"How do people decide on a path, and find the drive to pursue what they want? 

Ida struggles more than other young people to work this out. She can shift between parallel universes, allowing her to follow alternative paths. 

One day Ida sees a shadowy, see-through doppelganger of herself on the train. She starts to wonder if she’s actually in control of her ability, and whether there are effects far beyond what she’s considered.

How can she know, anyway, whether one universe is ultimately better than another? And what if the continual shifting causes her to lose what is most important to her, just as she’s discovering what that is, and she can never find her way back?"


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