Our mysterious narrator comes into consciousness to find a young man killing himself in his bathtub. Hovering overhead, unable to pull away, he watches the boy die, unable to understand why he is there and who he is. Ever since then, he has been living the boy's, Dan's, life backwards, day by day, his tomorrow our yesterday. Trying to understand Dan's motivations for taking his own life, while grasping to understand his role in it, our narrator observes the details and relationships Dan frequently overlooked in his short life, and does what he can to try to change the ending to Dan's story, or at least remove some of his loved ones from the heart of the explosion.
"Backwards" was not an easy book to read. Not to say that the language was advanced, or that I didn't like it, or that it was a particularly long book. In fact, it is written relatively plainly, and is not really long at all. It was hard to read because it begins at the end, and so the whole story has the weight of the inevitable pressing upon it. The unavoidable future, being treated as the past. Todd Mitchell speculates through the story about the answers to some of life's unanswerable questions, and that is not an easy thing to put forth, let alone in a young adult novel. I think he did a wonderful job of it, nonetheless, and seriously doubt I will be forgetting "Backwards" anytime soon.