Ida by Alison Evans
Published by: Bonnier Publishing Australia
Genres: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
For fans of: wonderfully diverse books, time travel, alternate universes!
My rating: 2 stars out of 5
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?
Talk about unrealized potential, man.
Ida is the story of a bisexual, Vietnamese-Australian girl named, you guessed it, Ida. Ida has no idea what she wants to do with her life, but that’s okay, because she’s got a little trick up her sleeve that’ll help her fix things until she figures it out. You see, she’s a time traveler, and can just flip back in time whenever she needs to.
At least, that’s what she thinks.
Things are a tiny bit more complicated than Ida thinks they are, and general chaos ensues.
As a book about time travel and alternate universes and timelines, Ida had a LOT of potential to be a great, great book. But, like I said earlier, a lot of this potential went unrealized. The pacing and the writing were incredibly choppy – one minute really damn good, and the next, slow and lackluster. The characters, despite being wonderfully diverse – bisexual, biracial MC; genderfluid established love interest (they/them pronouns); transgender cousin (Frank, for anyone who missed the clue)- weren’t given the chance to become whole.
The only character that went through some sort of growth (and not very much) was Ida. And personally, I found her a little hard to root for throughout this entire novel. Maybe if she’d shown some substantial growth by the end of the story? But what growth she did go through was barely even a step in the grand scheme of things.
Even the conflict didn’t pack as much of a punch as it could have. Because of the rushed writing and the lack of a build-up of suspense, everything sorta fell flat. If Ida spent less time telling us what clothes she was wearing and what food she was eating and all of the other mundane things she did, and more more time showing us what she was slowly starting to discover and realize, then this would have been a much better book.
Yes, the Show VS. Tell problem. Again.
I usually rip my 2 star books apart. I don’t want to do this with Ida because, here’s the thing. I enjoyed the book. The premise was, honest to God, amazing. The fact that Evans decided to make it as diverse as it was, was brilliant. With a little more time and editing, and maybe a few extra pages, this could have easily been a four star review. Which is what makes me so mad.
To paint you a clearer picture of how I felt about this book, let me tell you this: I read the author’s note at the end, and I think that, as the basis of a short film this story works incredibly well. But as a full length novel about time travelling and alternate universes? It needs a ton of work.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review