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June 11, 2023

Cassandra In Reverse by Holly Smale ~ a Review

by MK French

Cassandra lives her life in a predictable way until she is dumped by her boyfriend, fired from her job, and finds that her local cafe is out of the muffins she likes. This would make anyone upset, but she finds out that she can travel back in time. Now she has the ability to change everything that broke in her predictable life. What could possibly go wrong?

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of women's fiction novel Cassandra in Reverse by Holly Smale
June 2023; MIRA; 978-0778334538
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); women's fiction

Cassandra on several occasions is referred to as being on the spectrum. There are many things that point to this: her need for sameness, her discomfort with social situations, her trouble making eye contact, her sensory difficulties, her literal language interpretations, and her problems with change. She still has feelings and worries, but the ones she has doesn't dovetail with most of society. They see her as odd or cold as a result when she feels deeply and is overwhelmed easily. When she first discovers that she can go back in time, her first thought is to undo the biggest horror of her life, her parents' deaths in a car accident. But she can only go back four months, which was the start of her relationship with Will and the start of the publicity campaign that failed and got her fired. Of course, she tries to redo all her "mistakes" and make it "better," but there are consequences to her actions that she doesn't understand right away.

Time travel here is only within Cassandra's lifetime, and only within the four-month period. The changes she made rippled out in a butterfly effect, and she realized too late that not all of the changes lined up properly. This makes for a very disjointed experience in the world around her, and we see how that realization hits her. In the end, she does fix relationships, but it's not the one she thought she had to save. She's more comfortable with herself and her abilities in general, not just her time-traveling skill. It's such a fun concept, and I loved how everything came together at the end of the book.

Buy Cassandra in Reverse at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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