Thursday, May 5, 2016

Review: It Wasn't Always Like This by Joy Preble

It Wasn't Always Like ThisTitle: It Wasn't Always Like This
Author:  Joy Preble
Publisher: Soho Teen 
Publishing Date: May 17th 2016
Pages:  256
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Thriller 
Series:  Stand Alone
Source: ARC 

In 1916, Emma O’Neill is frozen in time. After sampling an experimental polio vaccine brewed on a remote island off St. Augustine, Florida, she and her family stop aging—as do the Ryans, her family’s business partners. In a way, this suits Emma fine because she’s in love with Charlie Ryan. Being seventeen forever with him is a dream. But soon a group of religious fanatics, the Church of Light, takes note. Drinking the elixir has made the O’Neills and Ryans impervious to aging, but not to murder—Emma and Charlie are the only ones who escape with their lives.

On the run, Emma is tragically separated from Charlie. For the next hundred years, she plays a cat-and-mouse game with the founding members of the Church of Light and their descendants. Over the years, a series of murders—whose victims all bear more than a passing resemblance to her—indicate that her enemies are closing in. Yet as the danger grows, so does Emma’s hope for finding the boy she’s certain is still out there . . .
This book wasn't on my radar right away. I really don't like the cover and really nothing pulled me into this book. For some reason I kept going back to it and reading about the book again. I decided to give it a shot because time travel books can be good. This one was worth the read. I did enjoy it. It was entertaining, interesting, something a bit different,
Emma drank the tea. When she was 17 years old her and her family became immortal. They no longer got sick, they did not age. They could die of unnatural causes. So Emma' family is killed. Yup killed by some religious cult fanatic people. The family of her beloved were killed too. So there is just Emma and her beau Charlie. To give Emma a chance, Charlie tells her to go her own way. So they split up. For decades they have been searching for each other and descendents of the evil cult religion is searching too. Its a race for Emma and Charlie to find one another or for the crazies to find them and kill them. 

There were quite a few things I loved about this book.... This book did have a Tuck Everlasting feel but more updated.... 

Emma an Charlie. Their story and their characters. I did enjoy this. I loved Emma. She was strong but also human. She screwed up and she is paying for her mistakes. She was innocent in what happened but has had to live to live with it and live with it alone. That is just sad. She was strong and hopeful most of the time. Charlie was a good kid too. I didn't know him quite as well as I would have liked, but what I knew I liked. He was selfless, kind, smart, and loyal. 

Their story was tragic and just killed me on the inside. I mean if you fall in love at 17 and then drink a tea that makes you immortal and ageless... shouldn't you be able to spend eternity with the one person you fell in love with. Yup nope...not for Charlie and Emma. And that was just tragic. 

I loved the pacing. It was really fast paced and had me turning the pages like crazy. It was interesting and I wanted to know what was going to happen. I loved the past and the present scenes and how they fed into each other. I loved the chase, the bad guys, and the story in general. 

The secondary character, Pete, A PI that Emma worked with. I loved him. I loved his ability to forget science and what he has been taught his entire life. Forget how things seem impossible. He believes Emma's story and he is her true friend. He was like another father to her. I loved him.  

I also loved that this book as a thriller as much as a romance. It was a big search and find and chase and do it all before the baddies catch up. I loved this aspect of the book. 

There were  just a few things I didn't like. 

I wanted to connect more with the characters and the love story. It just wasn't quite deep enough for me. I did love what I knew and felt but always felt it could have been more. I wanted more of their romance too. The romance from the past was sweet and I felt it but I just didn't have enough time with them as a couple. That made me sad. 

There wasn't enough story to the story.  I enjoyed the story and understood story but I could have had more... More on the water, more on the cult and its play in all this. More everything. It wasn't there wasn't enough... I just could have had more. 

There wasn't enough Pete. Yup would have liked to seen more of him. 

Really liked the book, the story, the romance, the characters. I just would have liked a tad bit more.

Really liked the book. It was a good sci fi/fantasy thriller. 

So excited for THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater! Managed to get to her event at Blue Willow this week despite getting caught in crazy Houston traffic caused by a shoot out on the beltway. Yeah, that was no fun.
But from my last minute seat on the floor, I snapped this pic:
I have loved, loved the world Maggie has created for the Raven Boys series. Truly magnificent writing. Brilliant. Only a few chapters in and already hooked again.
Maggie Stiefvater is the real deal, y'all. You probably know this already. But her artist's eye helps create stories like no other and her characters twine themselves around your heart. *I'm looking at you Ronan. And you Gansey. And you Blue and Adam.... Okay I'm looking at all of them.*
Two years ago I got to hear her teach about writing at SCBWI LA, which was also a true pleasure to learn about process through her eyes.
Anyway. If you haven't started the RAVEN BOYS series yet, do so right now. Four books, Raven King being the finale. You will thank me.
Til next week, when the IWALT countdown begins because tomorrow is MAY!!


  1. This book does sound a bit like Tuck Everlasting and I loved that movie when I was younger so I may have to give this one a try :D

    1. It is a lot like tuck everlasting. In the good ways. It does have its own story though too. SO that is good. IT was a great read.

  2. It's funny because I was also thinking Tuck Everlasting! The cover and the concept behind this one really interests me so I may end up checking it out!

  3. I absolutely loved Joy's debut, so I am so glad to hear that this is enjoyable too. Definitely going to have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    1. Its the only book I have read by her but I am ready to check out more.


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