In Montimore’s whimsical second novel (after Asleep from Day), a woman experiences the unsettling effects of time travel. In Brooklyn on New Year’s Eve, 1982, the day before college student Oona Lockhart’s 19th birthday, Oona is more interested in the rock band she has just joined, and particularly its guitarist, Dale. As the ball drops, Oona feels an odd sensation (“Escalating heat stirred within her as particles scrambled to escape and rearrange, but not now and not here”), and then finds herself in the body of her 51-year-old self in 2015, surprised to be living in a brownstone instead of the SoHo loft she’d imagined sharing with Dale. There, a personal assistant recites a message from Oona’s younger self explaining that she will be bouncing around in time through all the years of her life, hitting each only once, always making the change as the new year begins. As the years flash forward and back, Oona comes to life as a reckless club kid, a grieving older woman, and a wife who has no memory of her husband. Montimore sustains the concept by rooting the story in Oona’s relationships, employing sparkling humor as Oona struggles to make sense of each year’s new circumstances. This witty, fantastical exploration of life’s inevitable changes is surprising and touching. (Feb.)
A Good Morning America Book Club Pick
A Library Reads and IndieNext Pick
A Most Anticipated Book (Parade, Huffington Post, Book Riot, PopSugar)
Goodreads Staffers' Top Three Books of the Year
"With its countless epiphanies and surprises, Oona proves difficult to put down...Oona also reminds us that life is very much in the present, not in the moments that have passed us or the ones yet to come. And that is true no matter our age."
"By turns tragic and triumphant, heartbreakingly poignant and joyful, this is ultimately an uplifting and redemptive read."
“Oona Out of Order takes a unique approach on time travel. With each turn of a new year, we see the plot move along with unexpected yet entertaining twists and turns. We learn at the end of the day, time is of the essence and love endures all."
“Oona Out of Order is beautiful and heartbreaking, a novel about the nature of time and how life marches on, that you simply must read.”
"Looking for a lighthearted read? Maybe something that will remind you all to live your best life? ...A charming, quirky story about aging and self-discovery."
"A charming, delightful look at how it can be possible to live in the present even when the past and future are always in flux."
Seattle Book Review
"Oona Out of Order is a delightful read full of surprises and thoughtful retrospection....At the heart of this story lie the deep human connections Oona forges despite her strange lifestyle. These relationships, with their ups and downs, are what will keep readers on the edge of their seat."
“A smart, funny, time-hopping journey around the last four decades…Montimore’s meditation on what always changes and what never will sparkles with hope and heart, perfect for readers who love a quirky, thought-provoking tale.”
“Witty, humorous, heartwarming. Imbued with musical and cultural influences spanning decades and reminiscent of Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot and Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, Oona Out of Order is a delightfully freewheeling romp.”
Booklist (starred review)
“A compelling page-turner…Montimore delivers a rock-and-roll love letter to 1980s–90s New York City as Oona discovers her true self through a lifetime of music and pop culture. A perfect match for those who enjoy well-developed characters with a twist.”
Library Journal (starred review)
“Montimore sustains the concept by rooting the story in Oona’s relationships, employing sparkling humor as Oona struggles to make sense of each year’s new circumstances. This witty, fantastical exploration of life’s inevitable changes is surprising and touching.”
“A heartfelt novel that celebrates its implausibility with a unique joie de vivre.”
"Margarita Montimore has written a dazzling novel. This madcap opera, the story of Oona Lockhart's life told in full with scope and breadth in and out of sequence but never out of tune, is the perfect read for this moment. Modern, emotional, funny, ferocious, and spun with enough light and magic to fire up the Vegas strip, Oona Out of Order lands like a meteor."
Adriana Trigiani, author of Tony's Wife
"A fascinating and beautifully crafted tale which explores identity and relationships in one woman’s unpredictable and radically-changing world. Unputdownable and uplifting, what Montimore has penned is a treasure that will remind you of the importance of living life fully in the present."
Kim Michele Richardson, author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
“Oona Out of Order is hauntinga fascinating, sometimes heart-wrenching exploration of life lived moment-to-moment.”
Emily Colin, author of The Memory Thief
On her birthday at midnight on New Year's Eve 1982, Oona is chronologically 19, but in 2015. Her body is 51, and she has no idea what has happened in her life up to that point. Oona makes this jump on her birthday every year, each time ending up in an out-of-order new year. The dichotomy of her mind and body not matching creates dissonance for Oona. Montimore's pacing and cadence ebb and flow with her protagonist's emotions, delivering a compelling page-turner. Oona experiences not only the difficulty of maintaining relationships and the devastation of missed opportunities when living life out of order, but also the joy of truly being in the moment. Aware of her situation, her mother becomes her rock and support; their relationship is the hinge point on which Oona swings. Comparisons to Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife are inevitable, but the overwhelming impression here is of anticipation, not sorrow. VERDICT Montimore (Asleep from Day) delivers a rock-and-roll love letter to 1980s-90s New York City as Oona discovers her true self through a lifetime of music and pop culture. A perfect match for those who enjoy well-developed characters with a twist in contemporary women's fiction.—Charli Osborne, Southfield P.L., MI
What would you say to your younger self if you could give her advice?
"Wise beyond their years" is an expression we've all heard before. But for one Brooklyn teen, that saying becomes all too real when an unexplained event causes her to begin living her adult life in random order. On New Year's Eve 1982, Oona Lockhart is about to turn 19. Change is on the horizon, as she must decide whether to leave school to tour with her band, Early Dawning, or quit the band to continue her studies in London. Does she follow her loving boyfriend and band mate, Dale, or does she make a stable, independent decision for herself? Almost as if standing on a precipice between past and future, Oona finds it important to tell herself: "Remember this party. Every second of it. Every person here." When the clock strikes midnight, she opens her eyes to a reality far different from the one she'd been experiencing—and decades later. The abrupt shift sets the pace for the rest of the book—it turns out that even when you're living life out of order, time passes just as quickly. Right as you settle in with one version of Oona, whether it be free-spirited, club-going Oona or middle-aged investor Oona, it's almost New Year's again. The effect is something like narrative jet lag, making it impossible to feel grounded in time. Which is, no doubt, the point. Montimore (Asleep From Day, 2018) is not afraid to wrench Oona from one season of life to another, satisfied with ending a year in a fashion as incomplete as this: "She didn't get a chance to finish her sentence." These vignettes, removed from linear neatness, celebrate the unpredictability and imperfect nature of life. Even when Oona has the opportunity to leave notes for the next version of herself, it doesn't always mean she'll follow her advice. With each temporal shift, Oona is left longing for what came before, but supporting characters like Oona's mom, Madeleine, and confidante, Kenzie, serve as talismans that guide her back to the present. In the end, we must give credit to Oona for finding joy and even humor in her situation and to Montimore for developing a complex narrative held together by simple truths. Read this to get a bit lost, to root for a character with a strong love for herself, and to connect on a deeply human level with the fear of leading an incomplete life.
A heartfelt novel that celebrates its implausibility with a unique joie de vivre.