Author: Jessica Brody
Published: Expected August 2nd 2016
Source: ARC via Publisher
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
When I made the wish, I just wanted a do-over. Another chance to make things right. I never, in a million years, thought it might actually come true...
Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!
As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?
From the author 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and The Unremembered trilogy comes a hilarious and heartwarming story about second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances. Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out what you really want.
Ellie's having the worst Monday of all time. She's stuck in the rain, runs a red light, and her boyfriend wants to "talk". She flubs her student council speech, takes a terrible yearbook photo, misses a crucial hit in softball, and flunks a pop quiz. So when Tristan breaks up with her in the middle of a fantasy date Ellie's been concocting for years, she wishes to the universe that she could just have another chance to make it right. And that's how Ellie ends up in a Groundhog Day style loop of never-ending Mondays.
AWoM is long. The first four Mondays are covered in excruciating, minute-by-minute detail. How many times can you read about the same car ride before your eyes glaze over? The same election speech? The same band performance? There's a reason you don't see Bill Murray trapped in ten years of news reports. It's boring. The second half of the week, the part with all the actual plot and character growth, moves much faster.
Ellie tries to fix herself to fix the day. Tristan says she's too high maintenance, so she spends an entire day doing what everyone else wants her to. A TV love guru says she should be mysterious and aloof, so she spends a whole day avoiding him. She tries a rebellious persona and a hyper girly persona. An overly sexual day is the only one that seems to really make a difference, but as best friend Owen points out, can Ellie really maintain any of these personas long term? She's not being herself.
Ellie's tough to like because she isn't authentic. She turns down her volume to let Tristan shine. She lets life happen to her, signing up for sports and student council because others want her to. She ditches Owen so regularly, I don't understand why he stays with her. Obviously this is her character arc and the progression does work. I like EndofBookEllie a lot better than first chapter Ellie. She's also pretty selfish at the start of the story.
Like Groundhog Day, part of fixing the time loop is fixing the lives of those around her. At the start of the book, Ellie just breezes past these issues, so absorbed with getting back (staying?) with Tristan. But by the end, her dad's forgotten his anniversary; Ellie makes breakfast for him to take up. Her sister's obsessed with 80s teen movies because she's being bullied; Ellie gives the girls their comeuppance. She starts living for herself, too.
In between each "day", is a flashback to important parts of Ellie and Tristan's relationship. The first night they met, their first kiss, and finally, their fight. I like that Tristan wasn't set up as a villain. He's selfish and completely absorbed in his band, yes. But he's not a bad guy, just a seventeen year old one. He and Ellie worked, then they didn't. Their present doesn't change that in the past, there was romance and love and that can still be a good memory. I think it's important in a genre where we're often told first = only love.
A love triangle develops between Tristan and best friend Owen. Unfortunately, Owen needed more character development for it to work. I read 500 pages with him and the only definitive I can give you is he runs a book club? It's also not a great love triangle, because the winner's very obvious from day two or three, making the rest of the romance feel sloggy. <Spoiler>I don't think Owen and Ellie should have ended up together considering even in the perfect day, she still treated him like crap to go on the Ferris wheel with Tristan.</Spoiler>
I'm conflicted by A Week of Mondays. It's not badly written and parts of it are really fun, but I find myself hesitant to recommend it.