Genre: YA – Time Travel
Paperback: 336 pages
Editor: Penguin Canada
Release date: July 1st, 2011
Reviewed by: Tynga
Purchase: Amazon Canada
Source: ARC from Penguin Canada
Clarinet Reid is a pretty typical teenager. On the surface. She’s smart, but a bit of slacker; outgoing, but just a little insecure; not exactly a mischief-maker… but trouble tends to find her wherever she goes. Also? She unwittingly carries a centuries-old Druid Blood Curse running through her veins.
Now, with a single thoughtless act, what started off as the Summer Vacation in Dullsville suddenly spirals into a deadly race to find a stolen artifact, avert an explosive catastrophe, save a Celtic warrior princess, right a dreadful wrong that happened centuries before Clare was even born, and if there’s still time—literally—maybe even get a date.
This is the kind of adventure that happens to a girl once every… never.
In a big YA mixing bowl, add one cup of Time-Travel, one cup of Celtic Mythology, one table spoon of smart-mouthed teenage girl and mix gently. Add a touch of amazing writing and there, you have the recipe for Once Every Never!
Clare thinks of herself as average (and she hates that word) in a circle of amazingly smart and talented people. She finds herself set in exile in London for the summer after throwing a gigantic party at her place (and blames facebook). What a boring summer it will be, following her aunt around while she works at the museum. But maybe she’s wrong? On her first day at the museum, she touches an invaluable artifact (a big no, no!) and somehow finds herself thrown somewhere in the time-space continuum. How did it happen? That’s what she’ll try to figure out with her side-kick Al and her hottie – and nerdish- cousin Milo, and she’ll get herself in a world of trouble! So much for boring summer right?
I have to tip my virtual hat to Miss Livingston for writing such a great story.The plot is very intricate because Clare travels back and forth between the present and a two thousands years away past. But it gets even more complicated because her journeys to the past aren’t in chronological order, so you really have to stay on your toes the whole time or you might miss the subtleties and consequences of each of her trips. I truly enjoyed the whole concept and read the book in just one afternoon. I simply couldn’t put it down.
Love triangles are a big thing in YA novels, but Lesley took it one step further. Once Every Never has a spatiotemporal love square! Yes, yes you read right. I’ll make it short because I don’t want to give anything away, but imagine a girl and a boy form the present, a girl and a boy from two thousands years ago, all four of them mixed in a complicated relationship. I say pretty awesome!
I really loved the characters Lesley created, and appreciated even more that smart teens were cool guys in this novel. Each character had its own quirk and personality and I have a hard time picking my favorite one. I think I’d have to go with Connal, a Druid Prince from the past. I liked his fierceness, determination and he was cute, smart and kinda sweet, I mean what more can a girl ask for?
This novel was action-packed and the lore could’ve been heavy, but Miss Livingston handled everything very smoothly. The world, the legends and the historically accurate facts were down-right amazing and I've never read anything remotely close to this in any YA novel. The closest comparison I can come up with is Kevin Hearne’s adult series: The Iron Druid Chronicles, because of the Celtic Lore and Time Traveler’s Wife, with two thousands years time jumps. Really, this book is simply made of awesome.
I strongly urge you to get your hands on this amazing, completely out-of-the-box, novel. Once Every Never crept its way into my dreams long after I finished reading it. Magical, mesmerizing and truly engaging, Once Every Never had me begging for more.