Who wouldn’t like to pause and hit rewind whenever something goes wrong in life? Instant re-do! Upon finding a mysterious locket engraved with the phrase “Some mistakes weren’t meant to last” among her grandmother’s belongings when getting reading for her anniversary date, Katie slips it on, thinking it to be the perfect complement to her black and silver outfit. Plus, the phrase has a deeper meaning for her: Something happened, something she keeps referring to as “a mistake.” That night, the mistake bubbles to the surface and ruins everything. Stranded, alone, and upset, the locket hones in on Katie’s emotions and sucks her back to the night everything changed. She now has the chance to fix things and make them right. Only...things are no longer quite as they once were. Little things have changed in this time, from people’s attitudes, to their relationships with one another, to things that never existed before or were in different locations. Not only that, there is a scar left against Katie’s skin from the locket’s blaring heat as it brought her backward, a reminder of the price she paid to return to this moment. And certain things scare Katie, such as the fact that the locket her grandfather had given her grandmother after a mistake no longer has his picture…but that of a completely different man.
Katie isn’t sure what happened, but she’s determined to make things work this time around. She knows what situations to avoid, and she’s able to work her way around things that didn’t go well for her the first time, such as forgetting her math homework and getting in trouble, or getting embarrassed by a fellow classmate. Plus, she’s able to prevent The Mistake from happening. But something goes wrong that never happened the first time around, and the locket takes on a life of its own, sucking her back a few minutes and leaving behind a second scar…and another new reality. This time around, situations are darker, scarier, and after two terrible tragedies that Katie isn’t able to reverse, she begins to realize just how evil the locket really is, but it’s impossible to move from around her neck. In this reality, her grandmother has never seen the locket before, and she has nobody to turn to; there is no one with answers.
THE LOCKET by Stacey Jay reminds me of Lauren Oliver’s debut novel, bestseller BEFORE I FALL. As Sam repeats the last day of her life, trying to change things so that she doesn’t die in a horrific accident, she’s able to repeat various situations and learns a lot each time, as does Katie in THE LOCKET. She becomes wiser, learns truths she’s been hiding from herself for a long time, and forms new opinions of the people in her life, able to analyze them in a way she never could before. Both novels remind me of the Bill Murray movie GROUNDHOG DAY, where a weatherman is forced to live through his most hated holiday again and again and again. Like Sam and Katie, he goes through many revelations and has a different outlook on life by the end. Katie’s story is the most dissimilar of the three; while it shares common elements, Katie only goes backward twice and has no control, so she doesn’t do crazy things that can be fixed the next day the way the others can, having been through the same day again and again and again with no hope of the next one being any different. Jay manages to weave together a story that never gets boring, but leaves readers more tense as the novel progresses, wanting to know what happens next and the secret behind the locket with a life of its own.
The cover has a whimsical feel to it. I first heard of the book after seeing another blogger (But I forget who now, sorry!!!) review it earlier this year. The cover was the first thing to catch my eye. The image on the right reminds me of Dorothy from THE WIZARD OF OZ. The one on the left reminds me a lot of what Katie is wearing the night she discovers the locket. The locket itself isn’t exactly as described, since these images aren’t the same ones used in the book, but the cover images showcase moving through time. On the left, you have a dark sky and tumultuous clouds, a girl with an expression of horror. On the right, you have a perfect-day sky, a carefree girl…though I still don’t get the Dorothy reference. But the cover is striking, especially with the black background and gold dust streaming off the locket. I also like the fact that the title is written in gold while the author’s name and book’s sub-title are in an eye-popping red.