Living Backwards by Tracy Sweeney

Living Backwards by Tracy Sweeney
Publisher: Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Time Travel
Length: Full Length (368 pgs)
Heat: Sensual
Rated: 4 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Twenty-nine-year-old Jillian Cross refuses to believe that a pair of skinny jeans has led to her untimely demise. Life just isn’t that cruel. But when an overly-enthusiastic attempt at squeezing herself into them leads her to fall and lose consciousness, she is faced with just that possibility. When she awakens with both a bruised ego and a bump on her head, she’s not in her tiny apartment but her childhood bedroom circa 1999-the spring of her senior year in high school. Jillian knows that time travel isn’t logical. But then again, neither was her decision to wear skinny jeans. As she attempts to navigate her way through the halls of Reynolds High, walking the same path and making the same choices she made years before, she knows that any change she makes can have a catastrophic effect on her future. But when she strikes up an unexpected friendship with motorcycle-riding, cigarette-smoking Luke Chambers, can she pretend to be the same shy girl she once was? At least she has her pink sparkly flask to take the edge off. One little change won’t hurt, right?

The central concept of Living Backwards really appealed… and I have to say, did not disappoint. Lots of the fun in this one is the surprises, so this is a very careful review – no spoilers here!

The idea is enthralling and the writing exceptional so, much like the main character Jillian, “I couldn’t look Away!”

Have you ever thought ‘I wished had known that in high school?’ Well…Jillian doesn’t exactly wish that, but she does want to change the future. She looks at facebook and remembers high school (back when facebook did not exist.) She thinks about links and relationships that don’t matter now…because they weren’t ‘relationships’ back then. On the other hand, she is not now the person she was then.

Jillian is indeed swept backward (and she does ‘know’ as we so hope she would… ) She’s not the ‘shy girl’ any more. Still, while we’re celebrating her return to high school, her snappy knees and her whole new attitude, we are still totally surprised by completely unpredictable events. And Jillian isn’t just hanging out in High School. She has a mission.

The writing is quick and breezy. Okay, Ms. Sweeney employs a fairly ordinary literary device that steps us back in time (or so it seems.) There are moments when the action (or point of view) skips in a way that leaves the reader a trifle confused – yet it sorts itself out and eventually is clear. These are, I must insist, mere trifles.

The banter is witty and situations happen fast. Jillian’s mission reveals so much that was missing in her life – but also, uncovers the needs of more than one friend. The potential romance is not totally unexpected but also, utterly unpredictable. Truly, character development is both excellent and surprising.

Living Backwards is a fun read (with dark moments) as well as a fun take on social media. Do read.


  1. So glad that you enjoyed it!!!

  2. What a thoughtful review…excellent for a reader like me.
    I like to premise, too. It’s curious to wonder what I might change if I could…or would that have unintended consequences? Intriguing.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

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