In Lilo’s (The Mermaid Upstairs, 2018, etc.) second novel, a teenage girl and her family relive the same weekday.
Fifteen-year-old Catelyn starts her day like any other, taking care of her grandmother, Nana, who’s partially paralyzed from a stroke and can only say “Fee ne ne.” Her twin brother, Camden, is always getting into mischief, and their mom, Carla, an aspiring writer, struggles to pay the bills with a series of temp jobs. At school, Catelyn wistfully remembers how her friendship with her former best pal, Olivia, ended; then Catelyn gets drenched when a minor fire occurs. Soon, she learns that someone is threatening to expose a friend’s secret, and on her way home, she accidentally rips her jeans, which she can’t afford to replace. A mishap befalls Nana’s videotape of her favorite baseball game, and sparks fly when Catelyn meets Ben, the president of the high school video editing club, who helps her with the tape. But the day gets worse when Carla has a meltdown over a manuscript rejection and a tragic accident befalls someone that Catelyn knows. Before bed, Nana insists that the family listen to a special record, and they all feel better. The family members wake up the next day and find that everything is exactly the same as the day before, like in the movie Groundhog Day. The classroom fire happens again, as do the same conversations. However, Catelyn and her family can’t help making some changes to improve things this time around. Overall, this book is a charming look at the world of a teenage girl. Catelyn is a great character whose worries about friendships and boys ring true. She also has a special but frustrating relationship with her Nana. Other family members are also compelling characters; Camden, for instance, is a loose cannon who’s surprisingly kindhearted, and their mom just wants to follow her dream of becoming a published author. The plot device of time travel helps with the overall characterization, as everyone in the family experiences it, not just Catelyn. Readers will be excited to find out how events will unfold.
A sweet, well-paced time-travel story about a teenager dealing with everyday challenges.