Friday, 9 August 2013

Review Tour: Living Backwards by Tracy Sweeney; Review + Excerpt + Giveaway

Living Backwards
Author: Tracy Sweeney
Publication Date: 21 January 2013

Twenty-nine-year-old Jillian Cross refuses to believe that a pair of skinny jeans has led to her untimely demise. Life just isn't that cruel. But when an overly-enthusiastic attempt at squeezing herself into them leads her to fall and lose consciousness, she is faced with just that possibility. When she awakens with both a bruised ego and a bump on her head, she's not in her tiny apartment but her childhood bedroom circa 1999-the spring of her senior year in high school. Jillian knows that time travel isn't logical. But then again, neither was her decision to wear skinny jeans. As she attempts to navigate her way through the halls of Reynolds High, walking the same path and making the same choices she made years before, she knows that any change she makes can have a catastrophic effect on her future. But when she strikes up an unexpected friendship with motorcycle-riding, cigarette-smoking Luke Chambers, can she pretend to be the same shy girl she once was? At least she has her pink sparkly flask to take the edge off. One little change won't hurt, right?


Before I rounded the corner to the rear of the gym, I knew something felt off. I just couldn’t figure out what it was. Turning the corner, I saw that for the first time all year, I wasn’t alone. A girl was sitting on one of the milk crates. Her long brown hair was hiding her face as she bent over. In her hands, dangling between her legs was what looked like a flask. She looked more like someone who belonged at Jonas’ pub than at a high school. The girl hadn’t heard me coming and I was irritated because I just wanted some peace and quiet. Grabbing a cigarette from my pack, I cleared my throat, not knowing how else I could get her attention and tell her to leave. She looked up, startled, and nearly knocked the wind out of me. It was Jillian Cross. Jillian Cross was sitting on my milk crate. Behind the gym. In my place. With a flask. And it was pink.

My Review

Jillian Cross wakes up in 1999 after falling over whilst struggling with a pair of skinny jeans. At first she thinks it's a dream, but it doesn't go away. As crazy as she feels, she has to face reality, she's time-travelled and is back in high school. Not a good time for Jillian, she was shy and quiet with few friends- worlds away from the woman she's become. 
She knows that she shouldn't make any changes, because it will change the future. But the temptation proves very strong when Jillian meets the swoony Luke Chambers.

I was immediately drawn to the blurb for Living Backwards. I'm pretty sure most of us have thought about what we'd do differently at school if we could go back. Heck, I know I have! Then there's the inevitable questions raised by the idea of time travel, how will changing the past affect the future?

Jillian's fairly brilliant, she's fun with a touch of good-humoured snark. Once she's recovered from the shock of finding herself back in high school, she takes it all rather well- with the help of the trusty Joan. When she was in high school, she was shy and it was before she became best friends with Danielle and Megan- she originally becomes friends with them in college. She figures there's no harm if they become friends a little earlier, and soon each little decision snowballs until everything seems to be changing.
Luke is very swoon-worthy. He rides a motorbike and has tattoos, he's got the whole enigmatic bad boy thing going on. He has pain in his past, after the loss of his parents, and just wants to graduate and leave it all behind. Then Jillian enters his life, and throws his plans into question.

The part of the book set when Jillian is back in high school was very fun. At the same time it feels bittersweet, everything seems to be falling into place but you don't know how the future will differ. Luke and Jillian try and resist the pull they feel towards each other, for their own reasons, but their chemistry is undeniable.
The latter part of the book when Jillian is back in the future, is much more emotional and painful. 

The writing felt really natural, and there were plenty of hilarious moments that had me laughing out loud, mixed with the emotional that had me shed a few tears. I felt like I really knew Jillian, and could relate to her so much!
Overall, I'd definitely recommend Living Backwards, and I'll be keeping an eye out for Tracy Sweeney's next book!

*I received a copy of the book from the author, for my honest review. Thank you!

About the Author

Tracy Sweeney graduated with a degree in Management and Finance but prefers writing ridiculous things to crunching ridiculous numbers. She lives north of Boston, Massachusetts with her two young boys. Her short stories have appeared in Literary Juice, Solecisms and Slice of Life Magazines. Her debut novel, LIVING BACKWARDS, was published in January 2013. She is currently working on her second novel which will be equally as ridiculous.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr


Tracy will be awarding a key chain that looks like the flask on the cover to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour (US ONLY).
You can follow the tour and comment, to increase your chances of winning- the tour dates can be found here. Good luck!

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