by Carol Masciola
Publisher: Merit Press
Release Date: October 2015
Lola quickly determines that she’s gone back to the past—eighty years in the past, to be exact. The Fall Frolic dance is going full blast in the gym, and there she makes an instant connection with the brainy and provocative Peter Hemmings, class of ’24. His face is familiar, because she’s seen his senior portrait in the yearbook. By night’s end, Lola thinks she sees hope for her disastrous present: She’ll make a new future for herself in the past. But is it real? Or has the major mental illness in Lola’s family background finally claimed her? Has she slipped through a crack in time, or into a romantic hallucination she created in her own mind, wishing on the ragged pages of a yearbook from a more graceful time long ago?
The Yearbook was a very unusual book that I stumbled upon because of my sudden interest in the 1920s era, thanks to F. Scott Fitzgerald. It starts a bit fast and disorienting as some details might have been omitted, but once we go over that bridge, it starts to run more smoothly. It frustrated me a bit in some moments, like when she goes right back to the present from her traveling backwards (unexpected), yet loved the reasoning behind it.
Lola is a character I’m somewhat conflicted with. I liked how smart she was regardless of her grades or what everyone else thought of her, but I was super concerned with her, which brings me to the topic of mental illnesses. Her extremely depressing moments had me thinking that, indeed, she was insane and ridiculous for missing someone she barely knew and a time she wasn’t a part of. But I liked the portrayal of it, as well as the craziness she might have throughout the events that occur near the end of the book. Other than that, she was an enjoyably sweet girl who, deeply inside, just wanted a place to belong to, and the flapper and jazz age seemed to be it.
The love was super cute and I completely adored it, but it simply happened so fast! Many things in the book were like that; it was hard to grasp them and move on. I would have loved to see it be built slowly with developing the characters more. Peter was a adorkable, caring, understanding, and so supportive of Lola’s wild reality and I loved how he was an inventor (made me think of Nikola Tesla), and Whoopsie was so much fun to read about! The 1920s is a very interesting era with so many types of people, the music, the fashion, even the literature world! Like the characters, this could’ve been more deeply worked with. Yet I understand that maybe it wasn’t the main point of the story, and more on how Lola made it to the past, or if she really is as insane as her mother.
Mental Illnesses aren’t a joke, and I enjoyed looking at that with Lola. Who doesn’t dream of adventure and time travel? Many do. But I hadn’t thought that if it ever happened to me, if I’d even consider it being all a lie from my own mind, and this is what happens to Lola almost to the end of the book. I was beyond frustrated because I wanted to believe it was all true regardless of having evidence stack up declaring that it might not be. I was very close to throwing the book to the wall in anger. The ending was very surprising and bittersweet, but I won’t go into detail because you ought to see it for yourself.
Overall, I actually loved this book very much, even with some questionable things Lola does in it. It was understandable in her situation, so I can’t hold it against her. There were some things that left me with the desire for more even from such a short book. A sequel of whatever happens to Lola would be amazing, but that is left to our own imagination to dwell about. The author’s writing style made the story flow seamlessly and easy to grasp, with moments when it sounded even poetic. Totally recommend it for when you want a historical fiction that is slow yet easy to read. It definitely helped me relax after such stressful weeks of college, even with my random moments of frustration at how things didn’t go as I wanted for Lola.
Rating: 4 stars
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy!
I made the following playlist thinking of whatever music from the 1920s would be perfect for when Lola was there, while others are of later years of Jazz with some of my favorite singers. Some songs are for the music in it, and others with certain things or titles that went well with the events and characters. Plus, some are absolute favorites too (Sinatra is music bae <3). Enjoy!
She is a graduate of Oberlin College.