Ida is a novel about youth, acceptance and the mysterious power of inter-dimensional travel.
Cover image: Ida by Alison Evans via Echo Publishing.
This intimate journey – with the young Ida fresh out of high school – takes you into a world with layers of emotion, endearing you to the relationship with her genderqueer partner Daisy and to the relational constellations of family. Ida is a cool novel written for young adult readers (YA).
Ida’s character grapples with the mental emotional challenges of a young person seeking answers, and as an actual time traveller with multidimensional realities, it’s easy to see why. It seems Ida is new at time travel and at times revels in the capability, however as the novel develops, Ida is on the brink of being trapped or collapsing the universe with her dimensional shifting and the appearance of doppelgangers that start to complicate her world.
Evans’ (Co-editor of Concrete Queers) first novel engages the imagination and takes you deep into the world of Ida. The very real structural and descriptive language engages the reader from the start. I first thought there was a typo in the book, only to realise that the main character’s partner Daisy, is genderqueer. Thus, making the relevant pronoun a Them. It was actually really refreshing to have characters in the book with an inherent diversity of gender identity without inadvertently making a novelty of those dimensions of character profile in the localised modern world landscape.
As Ida struggles with her realities to reconstruct an ideal outcome, her plight in seeking answers and ultimate connection with those she holds most dear, is raw and emphatically empathic to youth issues.
It takes time to deduce the shifting realities and why they are occurring which kept me hungry to read on. The shadowy plot thickens as an intriguing stranger tries to intercept Ida. Leading the reader to believe there’s more to the story than meets the eye.
I really enjoyed the setting of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in the novel, a taste of the cultural city of Melbourne. The sensitive dialogue and thoughts between the main character and Daisy, Ida’s partner, is an anchor for Ida as she searched for a solution to her dilemma. It serves as a kind of sanctuary for the characters.
This intelligent work opens itself honestly through an imaginative storyline meshed with fantasy that would appeal to most fans of YA. The crescendo which unveils truths, hopes and some absorbing answers towards the end still lends itself to further adventures. I could easily read a sequel to Ida and recommend the author to do so.
Rating: 4 stars
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What the stars mean?
- Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
- Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
- Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
- Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
- Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
- Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
- Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
- One star: Awful, to be avoided
- Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level