Ida by Alison Evans: A Diverse and Unique YA Sci-Fi
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
I would really love to read this book, but science fiction is one of those genres that I find really hard to read – put parallel universes and I think I won’t know what is happening half the time. And I don’t want to dislike the book. I am so glad that you loved it and hopefully one day I will be able to read it. Thanks for the review.
Oh no! So many people are commenting saying they’re worried about the sci-fi aspect. I gotta say that it’s very subtle, and it’s not one of those storylines that is super hard to understand because of the sci-fi! I really do hope you read it one day, Angel! And no problem <3
oh my gosh this sounds amazing! the diversity and the queerness (BISEXUALITY ACTUALLY MENTIONED?? HOLY CRAP) and the eerie sci-fi-ness! i’m not a huge fan of sci-fi but we are the ants is kind of similar (space, aliens, gay, universe pondering) and that is my favorite book now! i’m glad you shipped the ships and i loved your review! <3
I’m so glad you think so! The cast of queer characters made me SO HAPPY. Especially the fact that the WORDS were used for the identities *cheering* It’s a very subtle sci-fi, so I think you;d be okay with it, Helen! I am a sucker for a good ship, haha. Thank you! <3
OH. This sounds like a delightful book and experience. I am loving the representation in it, that’s for sure. Like someone said above, I am not sure about sci-fi as a genre, though. Loving your blog, btw, I am a newbie here. Pleasure to meet you.
It was such a lovely little book! The diversity was amazing, and I would love to see more books like this. The sci-fi element wasn’y complex or super sci-fi-y, so I think it would be greay for sci-fi starters, or people who aren’t usually big on the genre! Thank you so much :D It’s nice to meet you, too!
I keep hearing some great things about this book! And it’s great to hear so much about a little Australian book. I really should check it out soon, I don’t read nearly enough sci fi :D
I am so glad that an indie published YA novel is getting so much love! I hope you do pick it up, Bec!
Whoa, this sounds like a great, trippy kinda premise! I tend to like books with parallel universes and alternate realities and that kinda stuff. And the diversity sounds awesome too! Sounds there was maybe a kind of lack in backstory in general for the characters? But still, this sounds cool, gonna add it to my TBR :-)
Ah, if you like parallel universes and alternate realities then I definitely recommend this to you, Kristen! And the diversity was so awesome to see. I would have loved a bit more backstory for the characters, but I still really enjoyed it overall! Yay, I hope you like it :D
SO DIVERSE I LOVE. I’m really not a fan of sci-fi but I may have to make an exception for this one. EEK.
IT WAS GLORIOUS. The sci-fi element wasn’t HUGE, so I think you’d be okay with it, Emily!
I hadn’t heard of this book (probably because I live in the U.S.), but now I’m going to have to find a copy for myself! This sounds like such a great science fiction read, and I love how diverse the characters are! I love coming across books with bisexual characters – it feels like there aren’t too many of them out there, so I’m definitely interested in reading this. Great review!
Book Depository has the paperback! It was definitely a great sci-fi read, especially because the sci-fi element was so personal. Me, too! I think bisexual characters need more love, that’s for sure. Thanks so much, Kelly!
Great review as always Chiara! I hadn’t heard of this book before but am so glad that now it can be added to my TBR. The idea of parallel universes sounds really interesting, and the cast of characters all seem to be multi-dimensional as well. Thanks for sharing :)
Thank you, Eugenia! I’m so glad you decided to add it to your TBR, and I really hope you enjoy it when you read it :D