This was cute, bittersweet, a tiny bit heartbreaking, and touching all at once, and it almost made me cry.
This is one of those “teens with teen problems but also magic/powers” books, though this one was heavier on the powers (time travel) and mostly focused on that and romance, though it did touch upon some teen struggles like graduating and pressure from parents about college and careers. It also touched upon a lot of heavier topics without getting too heavy, including cancer and problems with the US medical system (since Andre, the MC, had cancer and got a transplant), racism (since Andre was Black), grief (since Andre got to know the family of the boy whose liver he got), and alcoholism/drug use (since one love interest used them to deal with his struggles at one point).
There was time travel that didn’t get too into paradoxical or complicated stuff. Not everything was super explained, but it didn’t really need to be.
Where I think this book shined was in the cute but also bittersweet, messy, and sometimes heartbreaking romance (love triangles always are) and the touching story. The premise is that Andre starts traveling to 1969 where he falls for a boy named Michael, while in the present he starts falling for his donor’s brother, Blake. I think the relationships could’ve been explored a bit more and been given a bit more depth, but I felt for all three characters—because of their feelings for each other and how it impacted them, but also for other reasons, like Blake grieving his brother and Michael being kicked out for being gay. And, without spoilers, I loved how the romance was kind of messy, because sometimes that’s how life is. Feelings are messy and imperfect, and this is a kind of thing I rarely find in books, especially YA.
(Ok, spoiler talk for a moment: *SPOILER* Andre told Michael he’d stay with him if he could, which means Andre probably wouldn’t have ended up with Blake if he could’ve been with Michael, which maybe isn’t the perfectly romantic ending some people want from a book (or maybe I’m just reading too much into something a teen said in an emotional situation), but, as I said, sometimes life and feelings and relationships are just imperfect like that. And I don’t believe in soulmates, I think there are people we are compatible with and develop a closer relationship with over time, and just because there could be others out there, it doesn’t make what you have with the person you’re with any less meaningful. Over time, there will be a chance for things to develop more and deeper between Andre and Blake. But Andre and Michael loved each other at one point and left an important impact on each other that will always remain, even after they move on from the feelings. It was cool to see a book, in my interpretation, acknowledge all of that. *END SPOILER*)
The audiobook narration by Ron Butler was great for Andre’s character and sounded natural, but my one complaint is that it was hard to tell who was talking sometimes. Michael at least had a Boston accent, but even with that it could still be hard to tell.
Overall a sweet story that made me tear up numerous times and that I really enjoyed!
Anyone who likes YA, time travel, stories that deal with heavy topics without getting too heavy, feelings that are realistically messy, and romance that's bittersweet but ultimately touching and cute.