Adelaide’s life has been turned upside down by her brother’s addiction, her family’s separation and her devastating breakup with Mikey Double L. With an aching heart and an unfinished school project hanging over her head, threatening her final grades, Adelaide chooses to stay at her boarding school for the summer, walking professors’ dogs and falling in and out of love—over and over again. Through it all, she just might learn that what she really needs is herself.
E. Lockhart is no stranger to the complexities of the teenage heart, and Again Again explores them in a poignant and lyrical way. As in her previous novels, such as We Were Liars and Genuine Fraud, Lockhart again plays with perception and time, treating readers to multiple versions of Adelaide’s experiences, from romantic encounters to feedback from teachers. The line between reality and fantasy becomes intentionally and wonderfully ambiguous. Call it an exploration of the multiverse or a glimpse inside a teenage girl’s mind. Either way, the creative format highlights Adelaide’s uncertainty and elevates her summer into a coming-of-age experience that readers will find relatable.
While every scenario Adelaide imagines (or lives) is honest and heartfelt, the most powerful storyline in every version is her relationship with her brother, Toby. Lockhart depicts his recovery from addiction gently and respectfully, and the siblings’ attempts to find their new normal are beautifully rendered and often eclipse Adelaide’s romance as the most moving relationship in the book.
On the surface, Again Again is relatively simple: Girl meets boy, girl falls for boy, emotional turmoil ensues. But Lockhart’s unique narrative structure and poetic prose stylings transform it into a thought-provoking look at what we expect and what we need from each other—and from ourselves.