Ninety Days in the 90s
A Rock N Roll Time Travel Story
by Andy Frye
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Pub Date 01 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 16 Sep 2022
What would you do if you could time travel—back to the 1990s?
Go see Nirvana’s first gig? Form your own punk band? Play a winning lottery ticket? Buy a bunch of Amazon stock?
That all sounds great, but Darby Derrex has other things on her mind.
Darby is not—repeat not—experiencing an early midlife crisis. (Or is she?) She’s failed on Wall Street and failed in her relationships. And once she returns to Chicago to take over her uncle’s record store, she decides she really needs a “do-over.” Little does Darby know a time machine rumbles under her feet.
Chicago, 1996: Grunge and punk are preeminent. Indie rock tops the charts. Concertgoers are crowd surfing at Lollapalooza. Bands like Smashing Pumpkins rescue our ears from Celine Dion and hair metal. And it's the year Darby left behind her music critic job—along with her true love, Lina. Once she gets back to the 1990s Darby starts trying to fix simple things.
But soon enough she's having a blast, and that’s part of the problem. And she has only 90 days to return to the present or stay back in time forever. Both options are tempting, but Darby has to face the music.
For fans of Portlandia and High Fidelity—and anyone who loves American pop culture, Ninety Days in the 90s is a witty, tender love letter to rock ’n’ roll nostalgia and the power of second chances.
A Note From the Publisher
"I enjoyed ripping through NINETY DAYS’ rock history, punc-tuated by booze, bands and dreamy Chicago landmarks. Frye’s written a fun time trip that feels like an everlasting punk tour where the van goes around in circles in Schuba’s parking lot."
~ Bill Davis, guitarist and lead singer of Dash Rip Rock
"They say you can’t go back... But Pearl Jam named their greatest hits album Rearviewmirror, so let’s humor Andy’s premise. In NINETY DAYS, Andy Frye paints a picture of a time and a place, taking you, dear reader, back to a bygone era: a simpler time called the 90s. Chicago is as much a character as it is a setting, and Frye rivals Nick Hornby in his ability to use musical references as a storytelling device, navigating relationship highs and lows. Some-times you can go back. Sometimes it’s great."
~ Jim Ryan, writer at Forbes, Daily Herald + broadcast contributor to WGN Radio
"I f***ing love this book. It takes all the angsty, music-loving elements of High Fidelity and mashes it up with the fast-paced humor of Hot Tub Time Machine. Grab a flannel, dust off your Doc Martens, and prepare to be transported on a wild ride through the best decade of the 20th century."
~ Steve Lemig, author of Just Act Natural, A Memoir and Camping Anatomy Activities for Kids: Fun, Hands-On Learning
"This book gets right what is serious and what is funny, without contradiction. And it’s entertaining! But it’s more, too. It’s as Matt Sorum (of Guns N Roses) said: 'Rock ‘n’ roll is about the celebration of life, the celebration of being an individual. Freedom. The freedom to be exactly who you are, whenever you want. Whenever.'"
~ Doug Milam, author of Still the Confusion
This book transported me to a ten-year stretch in which I spent most of my summer days hanging out at a record store, watching Bulls games, playing music, and playing games of I’m-more-punk-than-you with my frenemies.
Spacey was such a painfully believable character that I feel I must have known her in a 90s parallel universe. Anyone who lived in this decade needs to brace themselves before reading NINETY DAYS. You’re about to go back."
~ Jeff Winkowski, author of Time of Your Life Hardcore, Punk, Indie, Rock and a Life Well Begun in Milwaukee
"Andy Frye’s NINETY DAYS IN THE 90s is an intelligently written, pop culture-filled blast from the past. A great read to ease one’s aching nostalgia. Or to some, a journey back to discover why the 90s will forever remain an obsession."
~ Stephanie Wilson, author of Big Waves & Wooden Benches
"How did Andy Frye write perhaps my favorite piece of fiction about my least favorite decade? Beats me, man, but more of this mystery and magic, please."
~ Kevin Smokler, author of Brat Pack America: A Love Letter to 80s Teen Movies
"Ninety Days in the 90s is ostensibly about music, and there’s plenty for music fans to sink their teeth into. Ultimately though, it’s a novel about the moments in life when someone chooses who they want to become."
-Independent Book Review
"This book will appeal to anyone with vivid memories of the music of the 1990s."
"Author Andy Frye’s Ninety Days in the 90s is a well-written, wildly entertaining jam-packed nostalgic trip back to what many believe to be the best decade ever."
"A top recommendation not just for the usual time travel story reader, but for rock music fans who would relive the music, social influences, and world of 1990s Chicago."
-D. Donovan, Sr. Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
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Average rating from 22 members
I enjoyed this book. The plot was paced well and the characters were well developed. I would recommend this book to others and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
I Love anything to do with time travel, so when I saw that this book was about just that, set in the 90’s based around the great music we had out of the decade I had to read it. I was not disappointed. It helps that the main character was basically my age, I had an even greater connection because of that. If you love the ‘90, especially the music you will want to read this book.
Sometimes, all I want is to close my eyes and go back to 1995. I would be who I am now--well, maybe 20 years younger, but still in 1995. I would go to every show I wasn't old enough to get into to. I would see every band that never came to my home state. I would make out with every lead singer that I dreamed out making out with.
Darby is NOT having a mid-life crisis. She is however reliving her life from 1996, the year that she left her job as a music critic and her true love, Lina.
Now, she has 90 days to decide if she wants to go back to present day....or to stay and change everything.
I really enjoyed this look back at one of the greatest decades. Maybe I'm just a GenX'r longing for a bit of my own youth again. Maybe I just want to be in a sweaty bar with a grungey guitar and sweaty dudes. And that's okay. This book reminded me of that time, and that's why I loved it.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Darby feels like somewhat of a failure and is desperate to make some changes to her life – little does she know she is on the precipice of travelling back in time to the tune of a cracking soundtrack…
Time travel and 90’s music – what’s not to love? A well-paced and entertaining journey with a surprisingly moving thread exploring regret and second chances. Overall a really interesting premise, particularly recommended to any music fans who are in the market for a good helping of melodious nostalgia.
Thank you to Net Galley and Atmosphere Press for providing an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Ninety Days in the 90s from Andy Frye is a fun read that makes up in nostalgic references what it lacks in compelling plot.
I know that sounds negative but sometimes a book can be relatively fluffy and still be well worth reading. In this case, I think as long as you remember the 90s you will enjoy reading this. Come for the memories and a few interesting characters, don't overthink the plot, it isn't worth the effort. The story hangs together well enough to make the trip down memory lane pleasant. Think High Fidelity but instead of going to old flames to figure out where you might have messed up you simply go back in time.
Some of the fun was agreeing and, of course, disagreeing with the characters on their assessment of the music. Depending how broad your tastes were in the day, you'll nod when a song or artist gets trashed, then turn around and be offended when another one gets the same treatment. Now that is the fun of nostalgia!
I would recommend this to any reader with fond memories of the 90s music scene and a desire for some light reading that will leave you singing songs that will make your children look at you funny.
Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
I LOVED this novel! Andy Frye rules in this whimsical, never too-serious time-travel/nostalgia tour/romance (with little R) story about Darby, a thirty-something licking her wounds and dealing with inheriting her deceased uncle's record shop after returning to Chicago in the aftermath of both a failed relationship ten years earlier and a rapid fall from Wall Street. This novel saturates the reader with 90's mood, vibes, music, and fashion like the power washing Andy Dufresne got in Shawshank. All of the main, supporting, and tertiary characters are developed accordingly and relative to their participation in the story, which is NOT an easy thing to do. I adored Spacey and would read a whole book about her. Recommending this book to the max!
What would you do if you could time travel—back to the 1990s? Fast paced, unpredictable and original with a storyline that made me gasp. Recommend……
Darby has many regrets she regrets quitting her record critic job and breaking up with Lana the love of her life. When her uncle dies and she inherits his record store she moves from New York back to Chicago where in her opinion she ruined it all. One night at a hole in the wall bar she meets an older gentleman Who claims he watched a Cubs game in person twice. Darby thinks it’s sad that such a spry old man suffers from Alzheimer’s but she is courteous. Later that night she is awaken by a rumbling under her apartment and the record store when she goes to investigate The smart watch she found in some boxes lights up and she sees a subway train stop and the doors open. Dobby is now frightened… Is she delusional? She goes to the Internet to see what she can find. She has heard of the urban myth the gray line that can take you to the past but that’s just a myth right? When she finds routes and rules to the gray line she is nervous but excited! Could she go back and change everything? Could she get her job back and Lana too? She doesn’t know but with a map of the Subway route an old ID and some money she is going to find out. Her first night back she hooked up with her best friend and they go see a new Hindu grunge band is she has the time of her life and that will be what she continues to do until her time runs down and she Musta saw does she want to go back home or stay in the 90s? This book was so much fun not only was it cool hearing about all the old bands especially smashing pumpkins my favorite band ever but it was so cool hearing about cell phones with antennas cable TV it’s so much more it was like a blast from the past and I enjoyed every minute of it. I think Mr. Fry has a winner with 90 days in the 90s it was an awesome fun read! I received this book from net Gally but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review but all opinions are definitely my own.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I couldn't think of a more perfect book for me. I grew up in the 90s and they were some of the best years of my life. In my opinion grunge is the greatest music of all time and was (obviously) very heavy into the music growing up in the 90s. There are so many awesome references when Darby goes back to the 90s for 90 days, that I felt jealous that I couldn't go with her! I dont think I would want to stay there but maybe going back and living there for a few weeks wouldnt be so bad. Darby wants to fix a few things and I could totally relate. Who wouldnt want to go back and undo or not make those same choices if they could? I would go see Nirvana and Alice in Chains if I got back to the early 90s. Any 90s fan will love this book. Highly recommend.
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