Oona Out of Order
March 2020 Indie Next List
— Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN
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A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK
"With its countless epiphanies and surprises, Oona proves difficult to put down." —USA Today
"By turns tragic and triumphant, heartbreakingly poignant and joyful, this is ultimately an uplifting and redemptive read." —The Guardian
A remarkably inventive novel that explores what it means to live a life fully in the moment, even if those moments are out of order.
It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order...
Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met? Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Margarita Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.
Praise For Oona Out of Order: A Novel…
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 haunting—a fascinating, sometimes heart-wrenching exploration of life lived moment-to-moment.”
—Emily Colin, author of The Memory Thief
Flatiron Books, 9781250236609, 352pp.
Publication Date: February 25, 2020
About the Author
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. Discuss the novel’s epigraph: “Time heals all. But what if time itself is the disease?” How do you interpret that question? How does the novel seek to answer it?
2. In the prologue, Oona reflects that her condition is the closest thing she could imagine to immortality. What do you think she means? Do you agree?
3. Oona has a “no spoiler” approach to time travel and takes precautions to reveal certain things about her future but keep others secret via her annual letters. Do you agree with her approach? If you were to switch places with Oona, how much of your future would you reveal and what would you add/remove from the letters?
4. Family is a major theme in Oona Out of Order. How does Oona and Madeleine’s relationship change over the course of the novel? What about Oona’s ideas about her own family?
5. To counteract living her life out of sequence, Oona spends much of the novel searching for constancy. Who/what are some of the constants she manages to establish throughout her leaps?
6. Oona experiences a variety of romantic connections throughout the course of the novel. How does her perception of her relationship with Dale change over the years? How does her unique marriage affect her views on romantic relationships? What about other men she’s involved with? Do you think it will be possible for Oona to have a sustained romance despite her leaping? Why or why not?
7. The time travel in Oona Out of Order serves as a way to explore imposter syndrome—her leaps often leave her in situations where she feels unprepared for the role she’s in and what’s expected of her. Which situations do you think she handles effectively and which could she have handled better?
8. There are moments when Oona laments mistakes she’s made in her life and considers trying to fix them. What mistakes do you think she has made? Do you think she was better off trying to prevent them or learn from them?
9. As each leap brings new challengers into her life, Oona often struggles with a desire to return to her younger self. How does she try to combat nostalgia to live more fully in the present?
10. Oona and the people closest to her often describe her life as “bittersweet.” Do you agree that her time travel makes her life feel more bittersweet than it would if she were living “in order”? Why or why not?
11. Discuss the evolving role of music in Oona’s life. How does her relationship to it change from the first chapter to the last, and why?
12. Near the end of the novel, Kenzie tells Oona that he is sometimes jealous of her time traveling. Do you understand his feelings? Are there aspects of Oona’s condition that appeal to you?
13. How much of Oona’s destiny do you think is predetermined? Do you think she’s capable of changing her future? What do you think this book ultimately says about fate vs. free will? Do you agree or disagree?
14. Did you have a favorite section in the novel? Why?
15. Assuming her “time sickness” will persist, what do you imagine the next few years might look like for Oona?