This was my first experience with Jen Lancaster. I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, but it provided a fun start to my after-Easter reading binge.
Lissy Ryder is an almost-forty failure who recalls her high school days with relish—those were the best years of her life, the days when she ruled the school. But at her high school reunion, Lissy realizes that the misery she put others through in high school might have something to do with the misery she is experiencing now. Given the miraculous chance to change everything, Lissy goes back in time to stop herself from ruining her own life—and the lives of others.
This is a fun, light-hearted twist on the “mean girl”—what if the mean girl had a change of heart? But Lissy Ryder ends up not only having to consider what would make the lives of those around her better, but what would be best for herself. The book did a good job of highlighting the deeper questions involved in time-travel:
“When Deva explained the butterfly effect to me, she said the theory is that the air displaced from the flapping of one pretty bug’s wings could start a chain reaction that eventually resulted in a tsunami across the globe. But the question that plagues me is this: Is the butterfly at fault for simply trying to propel itself from one flower to another? Were the butterfly to be aware that by flying, it’s setting up an apocalyptic chain reaction, is it obligated to not move around and take sustenance? Is the butterfly compelled to sacrifice itself for the greater good? And even if the butterfly does cause a cataclysmic event, what if the aftereffects are just as important?” (183)
Although many people despise Lissy for how she treated them in high school, in many ways their hatred of her drove them to do wonderful things. Lissy must decide if her own personal satisfaction and the acceptance of others is worth losing the good they’ve done for mankind. Is it possible that her evil deeds were actually a necessary part of bringing about a greater good?
What I liked most about this book was simply how likable Lissy is. Although she is a terrible person, you can’t help but be endeared to her because of her penchant for 80s rock bands (hence the title) and her comical blindness to everything around her. She learns valuable lessons about family, friends, and love. If Lissy was a real person, she probably wouldn’t be your friend, but with the first-person telling of her story, you can’t help but relate to her.