Story Title: Ginny Returns
Author Name: kbo
Story Url: Story Link
Alternate URL: Story Link 2
Content Rating: Teen
Length: 162,265 words
Story Summary: What if the war was over, but the only ones left were Ginny and a paralyzed friend? When Ginny finds a ritual that will send her back to an earlier point in the timeline, how will she change things to come out for the better? HP/GW
Truthfully, this fic would have had to have been pretty awful for me not to want to rec it, as I was so very, very excited to see a redo!fic in which Ginny is the protagonist. I’ve never seen that before and have always wished for a good one. However, I can safely say that this fic earns a rec based on its its own merits; specifically, the plot is captivating and the writing is very good.
It was surprising to me how well this fic is written. I had been expecting poorly-written, extremely cracky crack!fic. Instead, I found a story in which the author gave serious thought to her characters’ development in light of the new timeline and the way little changes would have an impact on how her parents grew and their personalities developed. Harry, for example, has a vastly different life. The author doesn’t blithely assume that the new Harry and Ginny’s original Harry will be similar enough as to be indistinguishable to Ginny. Ginny is also not perfect – she makes at least one rather grey decision in the beginning which I found quite disturbing and manipulative, though I fully understood how she came to be at that point. The author also found a creative, non-creepy way to handle the age disparity between redo!Ginny and young!Harry by blending the Ginny’s from the two timelines in such a way that Ginny is neither fully adult nor entirely a child, an approach which gave the author a lot of leeway in her plots and character interactions and behavior. Very smart plotting, that; as was the author’s creative idea in having the story told solely through the POV of female characters, particularly Ginny, of course. Overall, this story clearly demonstrates brilliant execution of an idea I’ve long wished to see written.
The story is tagged “Alternate Universe” because it literally takes place in an alternate universe thanks to the time travel – not because the fic is AU in the sense of being inconsistent with canon. It is actually consistent with all of canon up until the Battle of Hogwarts in Deathly Hallows. “Ginny Returns” deviates from canon there when Snape does not manage to get his memories to Harry, which means Harry doesn’t know to sacrifice himself, and thus the war doesn’t end then. (This story is similar to Deadwoodpecker’s “Backward with Purpose” series in this regard, in that a minor change in the final battle has such a domino effect on the success of the war.) As a result of that, this fic might appear to be inconsistent with canon on occasion, but that is because Ginny is operating off of the best information she has, which is not always correct, since Harry didn’t get all the information he did in canon. The incorporation of Ginny’s occasionally incomplete information is therefore an example of the author’s meticulous story crafting.