High schooler Samantha Kang is coasting through life. Her high school is culturally diverse and she enjoys the anonymity of her high school scene, although being the girlfriend of a popular guy does put her a little more in the limelight than she’d like. Her mother wants her to care more about her prospects for college and thinks her boyfriend is holding her back, so needless to say their relationship is strife with conflict. A pattern that she see’s repeated between her mom and her grandmother. When Sam and her mom have a big blow-up, leaving Same stranded at the mall she calls for a rideshare service to get her to school in time for her first class. What she doesn’t expect is to be dumped back to the 90’s where she comes face to face with an whited out version of her mother whom she befriends. Her mom, Priscilla, has just been nominated for homecoming queen, something that Sam knows she didn’t win. She thinks that by helping her mother win, she will find her way back to the future.
Whereas Sam and her mom Priscilla don’t swap places, I did get a Freaky Friday vibe from Throwback. What sets this novel apart from those other time travel novels is that Sam’s time is spent working towards the goals of someone else instead of securing her own future. Although working for Priscilla will ultimately get her back to her own time so it’s a twofer. Another thing that sets her apart is that there is someone else in this time who is from the future, someone who helps her see her own life back in 2015 clearly, and when she goes back she knows the person she wants to be.
I really enjoyed all of the 90’s references since I was in school during that time and Maurene Goo was spot on with how life was as a teen during that era. Totally clueless when it came to cultural diversity, women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, etc. Life was lived with blinders on regarding impropriety and Sam’s reactions were both funny and poignant. She was a cultural sounding board but no one was listening.
Throwback was a fun read that hid the seriousness of relationship struggles with her mom through humor and some emotional scenes. I really enjoyed her characters emotional growth and especially loved the ending of the book. This novel gets a solid 4.0 rating from me!
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review and it was honest!
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