What: Ida by Alison Evans
Who: Bonnier Publishing
When: January 1st 2017
How: A copy of this novel was provided by Bonnier Publishing Australia for review via Net Galley.
How do people decide on a path, and find the drive to pursue what they want?
Ida struggles more than other young people to work this out. She can shift between parallel universes, allowing her to follow alternative paths.
One day Ida sees a shadowy, see-through doppelganger of herself on the train. She starts to wonder if she’s actually in control of her ability, and whether there are effects far beyond what she’s considered.
How can she know, anyway, whether one universe is ultimately better than another? And what if the continual shifting causes her to lose what is most important to her, just as she’s discovering what that is, and she can never find her way back?
The first thing you need to know about Ida is how diverse it is. The protagonist, Ida, is biracial (Vietnamese and German), and bisexual. Her partner, Daisy, is genderqueer (they/them/theirs pronouns). Her cousin, Frank, is a trans boy. And then the second POV character, Damaris, is genderfluid and her love interest/boss/person, Adastros, is also genderfluid. Can we get a HELL YES for this diversity? Family queerness! Friend queerness! These things are so real, and to finally have them portrayed in a novel was great.
Ida was an interesting sci-fi story because Ida herself didn’t really have a full grasp on her abilities so as the reader I didn’t really have a full grasp, either. Damaris’s point of view gave a little more insight into what was actually going on every time that Ida travelled from one point in time/outcome to the time just before that. The end reveal about Ida’s abilities was incredibly interesting because it was a take on parallel universes that I have never read about before.
The climax in Ida was quite long, and interspersed with moments of normality, softness, and love. It could have tipped over into ‘too much’ quite easily, but I felt like it balanced the climax and the length really well. I was never bored, in fact I wanted to keep reading during this part because I wanted to find out where Ida was going to end up, and how she was going to ~fix~ everything.
I shipped the ships. I thought Ida and Daisy were incredibly cute together, and I loved how Ida supported Daisy without being pushy about it. I’m not even sure that Damaris and Adastros fully count as a ship but damn did I ship it. I would 100% read an entire book about these two.
There were a few things that I wanted from Ida, however. Keep in mind, though, that I wanted these things because I cared about the characters and the story.
1) More of Ida and Daisy.
These two were CUTE, and I wanted more of them. Not necessarily on page romantic stuff because there were quite a few adorable scenes with the two of them together, but more of their history and how they became a couple.
2) More about Daisy’s home life.
Daisy’s home life seemed to be pretty shit on all fronts, but the reasons why they didn’t want to be at home a lot was never explained. I know that it was clear that they didn’t want to talk about it, but I feel like a deeper connection would have been made with them had their home life and background been expanded upon.
3) More of Frank.
Honestly probably my favourite character in the book, and I would have loved to see more of him throughout. Just a little bit more on why he was living with Ida, and what he was like. Considering that he didn’t play a huge role there was quite a lot about him, but because those scenes endeared him to me I wanted more page time with Frank!
4) More of Damaris and Adrastos.
I know I mentioned that I wanted more of these two as a ship, but I also wanted more about them in general. They have lived for so long so they would have done so many things, and met so many people, and I would have loved even a few little glimpses into their pasts and their lives.
Overall, Ida was a very enjoyable YA sci-fi that turned the popular element of parallel universes into something completely new. The storyline was intriguing, the characters were great, and honestly you should support this awesome and diverse Aussie YA book.
© 2017, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.
trigger warning: racism, attempted suicide, car crash, reference to death of a parent via car crash, and multiple near death experiences in this novel