Ida by Alison Evans. ★★★1/2
Ida has a secret – she can travel in time. She can close her eyes and go back to the moment before she makes a decision, moving herself into an alternate reality. She starts time traveling more and more until one day, it starts getting out of her control. Now she’s at risk of becoming lost in the multitude of her own lives.
Ida was a quick read – I finished it in about twenty four hours. The prose is plain and the story moves at a fast clip. While a lot of science fiction stories are focused on big pictures, Ida looks at the small. It contains aspects of a psychological thriller, the frightening sensation of Ida’s life unraveling.
One of my favorite things about Ida was the sheer diversity of the cast. This book has more transgender characters than any other I’ve read. Ida herself is bisexual and mixed race (half white, half Vietnamese). Her partner Daisy is genderqueer, and her cousin Frank is a transgender boy. There’s also two genderfluid characters who work for a mysterious time travel authority. All the queer identities are explicitly stated on page.
However, I think the book would actually be stronger if it only contained Ida’s first person POV, not the third person focusing on one of the agents for the time travel authority. I felt like her sections took away some of the tension by over explaining what was happening with Ida. I also felt like the book ended suddenly, and I would have liked to learn more about what was going on with Daisy’s home life (this was being constantly hinted at).
Ida’s around nineteen, and she’s been out of high school for roughly a year. Possibly the book could be considered new adult, although I think it would also work well for a young adult audience. I would certainly recommend it to that audience, especially to anyone looking for a book with queer characters.
I received a copy of Ida from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review.