Friday, December 20, 2013

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Jackie Dunn and Matt Stewart barely knew each other in high school, back when she was a blue-haired alterna-kid and he was a preppy jock. High school rules dictated they'd never hang out, or sit at the same lunch table, or God forbid, date.

But when a weird storm transports them from their ten-year reunion back to senior year, they have to work together to figure out a way to get back to 2008.

Stuck in high school, Jackie and Matt agree to tough it out. They agree to do everything exactly as they remember, even though that means staying with the boyfriend Jackie knows will betray her, or playing nice with the girl that will someday be Matt’s ex-wife. Soon, they come to rely on one other, even become friends.

Jackie’s just starting to get used to curfews and term papers again, when Matt hits her with the biggest surprise of all: he’s fallen in love with her. He’ll change the past however he has to if it means a future with Jackie. But Jackie’s terrified they’ll not only alter their lives, but the lives of everyone around them.

Back to the Future meets She's All That, Class of '98 is a young adult/adult crossover that will appeal to teens and adults.

This was an interesting book. I have always found time travel to be a fascinating topic, so I'm glad that I got to read this in exchange for an honest review. What was really intriguing to me was the fact that Jackie and Matt never really figured out what had happened to them or how they ended up literally re-living their high school days. The "time travel storm" was truly just part of the background in the story, despite having repercussions that were a main plot-line in the book. That wasn't a bad thing, really, since it kept the reader guessing.

I thought that the characters were pretty interesting, and I liked that they defied their stereotypes - Jackie had blue hair as a teenager and was described as "alternative," but she was really book-smart and compassionate; Matt was a jock and football star, and a popular "prep" student, but he was also a really nice guy who didn't care about what others thought of him. The two of them had cute chemistry together.

But I must say that Jackie really got on my nerves sometimes. Despite having the chance to start her life over again, she actually chose to relive it in exactly the same way, even though it made her unhappy. I know that she only did that because she was hoping that she could go back to her normal life in 2008, but I really doubt that others in her situation would do the same. Jackie also tended to complain a lot to herself while continuing to make those bad decisions, so I couldn't really sympathize with her. At least things eventually worked out for her. 

Overall I'd say this was a good story, and as a child of the 90's (I was born in 1989) I really enjoyed a lot of the pop culture references. This was also a light, quick read. I will warn you that the ending was rather abrupt, and could have been better (in my opinion), but it was worth a read. I say give it a shot. Even though Jackie's choices were sometimes unfavorable, it was still refreshing to encounter a character who actually deviated from the way you wanted her to be. Nice job!

About The Author
A. L. Player teaches middle and high school English in Atlanta, GA. She lives with her guitar-playing, English-teaching husband and their three crazy rescue dogs. Her last name gets about the reaction you'd expect. CLASS OF '98 is A.L.'s first novel.

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