Book Review

The Undoing of Arlo Knott

The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child

What if your life had an ‘undo’ button?

Arlo Knott discovers he can rewind time – just by a minute or two – enough to undo any mistake, say the right thing or impress his friends with his uncanny predictions…

But second chances aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. As wonderful as his new life is, a mistake in Arlo’s traumatic childhood still haunts him and the temptation to undo, undo and keep undoing is too much to resist.

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I got a review copy from the publisher, but the views here are my own.

The book starts off with a relatively normal part of life, until a big accident happens and changes Arlo’s life (but also, after it, he experiences the ability to turn back time for the first time). And we go through Arlo’s life seeing him first come to terms with the “power” he has and then on how he uses it.

As with many “multiple planes/alternative universes” theories, there’s a few “constants” and too many variables after altering things. (There is always a lighthouse, there’s always a man, there’s always a city. – Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite) Of course, at first Arlo finds it just a neat trick and uses it for his own benefit. This means we get to see him turn form a normal human to one that has the power to change things to suit him and that is definitely not nice to see or read (but very interesting to read at the same time, because usually alternate universes are treated on a “new universe that’s it” or on a “butterfly effect”, but with Arlo we are not sure).

As the story moves “forward” we start seeing a lot of what the moving back and “rewinding” to have another go does and potential consequences. I found this intriguing and I felt bad for all the main characters at one point or another but also at times I really disliked Arlo.

My overall feeling with this was that it was pretty well done but sadly I just couldn’t cope with Arlo. He was extremely annoying and I mean, it sounds more realistic to ahve someone like him do stuff like he did than a “hero” ro “Villain” as he is a bit of both. Still, when I finished I was like “neat, that is very interesting, wish we knew more” but at the same time I was like “oh, I just wish he’d stop!”.

If you like alternate universes, butterfly effects, and what ifs panning out and a rewind, this is an interesting read for sure.

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