Sunday, February 14, 2016

Book Review of Unhappenings by Edward Aubry

Goodreads Summary:  When Nigel Walden is fourteen, the UNHAPPENINGS begin. His first girlfriend disappears the day after their first kiss with no indication she ever existed. This retroactive change is the first of many only he seems to notice.
Several years later, when Nigel is visited by two people from his future, he hopes they can explain why the past keeps rewriting itself around him. But the enigmatic young guide shares very little, and the haggard, incoherent, elderly version of himself is even less reliable. His search for answers takes him fifty-two years forward in time, where he finds himself stranded and alone.

And then he meets Helen.

Brilliant, hilarious and beautiful, she captivates him. But Nigel’s relationships always unhappen, and if they get close it could be fatal for her. Worse, according to the young guide, just by entering Helen’s life, Nigel has already set into motion events that will have catastrophic consequences. In his efforts to reverse this, and to find a way to remain with Helen, he discovers the disturbing truth about the unhappenings and the role he and his future self-have played all along.

Equal parts time-travel adventure and tragic love story, Unhappenings is a tale of gravely bad choices, and Nigel’s struggle not to become what he sees in the preview of his worst self.

Goodreads Rating: 4.24 stars with just under 400 ratings.
Genre Listing: Science Fiction, Time Travel, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Book Challenge progress: Pop Sugar Challenge, 3/40 A Romance Set in the future


Edited 12/1/2016

I happened upon this book (pun intended) via Kindle Unlimited. Yes, I reactivated it. I'm an addict to having books at the touch of my finger. I'll be honest I was wanting to read it without even getting through the entire synopsis. I must say, this book was very engaging. I say this because I started it last night and only paused for a few hours to sleep. It's an easy read, and at only 370 pages, it doesn't take long to read.

If you require a lot of character detail, this is probably not the book for you. There's not a lot of information regarding what characters look like and a whole lot of background story on them. It's very much a "you know what you need to know" type of book. There is also a lot of questions/foreshadowing that comes from the characters. The answers to these questions usually result in an "I don't know" or a "you'll find out" type of answer from the characters. I say this because I honestly lost count of how many times Penelope/Una/Athena tells Nigel she doesn't know or that she can't answer his questions. It's annoying, but I got past it. Eventually, questions start getting answered.

I didn't find any of the characters particularly remarkable. I did like the mystery surrounding Penelope/Una/Athena, but honestly the big reveal isn't that surprising. I had guessed it fairly early on in the book. Helen's likable enough, but I feel like she's almost too likable. There are no real quirks to her. She's agreeable, superficially witty, and just accepts everything that happens for most of the story. I don't have any real like or dislike for Nigel. He's just necessary to the story. Carlton's presence just seems like it was taken to the absolute extreme.

For me, the best part of the story was the unhappenings. I found myself interested to see what would "unhappen" and what timeline would take its place. The time travel was interesting as well, but it does get a little crazy trying to keep track of all the whens. There is a lot f jumping around between timelines. It's not too awful to keep up with, though.

Eventually, everything does make sense. All of the questions that are asked are answered. The unhappenings are explained, and things set themselves right. I will say that the time traveling aspect of it is very similar to aspects of Doctor Who. I say it reminds me of these two things because there's a lot of  Nigel's timeline going forward while Penelope/Una/Athena's timeline was working backward. That kind of reminded me of The Doctor and River Song. There's also a lot of asking where in the timeline they are.

As usual with my Kindle reads, here are some quotes I found particularly interesting.

"Memo to self: if a person is obviously lying about something, it is a good idea to consider the possibility that he is lying about everything." -Chapter Twenty-Seven
  - I just think this is sound advice.

"You have everywhere and everywhen to go." - Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Three
 - I just love this out of context. In the book, it's actually sad, but out of context, it sounds so promising to someone with a severe case of wanderlust.

Overall, this is not a bad book. I enjoyed it very much. It's by no mean a great read, but it is entertaining. I think that's generally what matters most in books. I rarely read to be enlightened and empowered. I read to be entertained.


  1. Totally agree with your review. I thought the ending could've and should've been better. I felt that they had a chance to save the daughter from a lifetime of distress. I too would've like to have seen more character development. Overall, it was an entertaining book to pass the time, but felt the plot had more potential and could've been so much more.

    1. Thanks for reading and also for the comment! You're definitely right. This book had a lot of potential and fell short in a lot of ways. It's always a bummer to me when the full potential of a story isn't realized.


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