CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 16 . . . .April 14, 2006
The psychic party, hosted by Penny Fitzsimmons' mother, would not have impacted on her had she not wanted to sample some of the delicacies from the desert tray in the living room. However, this brief appearance turned out to be a catapult to a summer of adventure when the psychic informed the 17-year-old that a boy from her past was searching for her. This was not just any boy, but a boy called Ulrich from a thousand years ago. Finally, Penny, the main character of this story, seems to have everything going for her. While looking forward to the end of school, she enjoys the companionship of her best friend, Diana, and discovers the world of romance with her first boyfriend, Ryan. Suddenly, everything falls apart when she is told that she and her sister Kali are to be spending the summer vacation with their father who lives in another town.
Amy McAuley introduces a variety of dilemmas that add to the complexity of the story and make for an interesting main character. Since the initial psychic encounter, Penny becomes constantly plagued with lucid dreams and evening nightmares. She develops numerous premonitions and an uncanny knowledge of historical events, such as the French Revolution. Readers will observe a tormented Penny who envisions herself as Marie Antoinette, witnessing the Plaque, and living during the period of the Vikings. The narrative frequently jumps between the past and present. When disaster looms, Penny realizes that she has the ability to intervene and alter the consequences to bring about a positive ending.
Over and Over You touches on numerous topics that are pertinent to the readerís age group. The strength of friendship and relationships are explored through many avenues such as best friends, siblings, and a first love. Amy McAuley attempts to enhance the storyline with a psychic twist, but this can cause some confusion for the reader due to the fact that she blends the narrative with flashbacks and dream journal entries. As the reader progresses, however, one can better understand the direction taken by the author. The addition of the journal allows the reader a different perspective to the main character. The gimmicks are good after grasping their relationships within the story.
Over and Over You is an intriguing undertaking, although it is somewhat chancy for a first novel. In the end, Amy McAuley manages to pull it off by having everything coming together and leaves a sense of satisfaction for the reader.
Jo-Anne Mary Benson of Osgoode, ON, is a writer/reviewer for North American magazines, newspapers, and journals.
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