Time Travelling with a Hamster, by Ross Welford

Yay!  I have a Timeslip Tuesday post!  Time Travelling with a Hamster, by Ross Welford (Schwartz & Wade, October 4, 2016) is more than just a cute hamster adventure, but is also a rather moving story of time travel used in its most personally powerful way--to save the life a beloved parent.  It begins thus:

My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty-nine and again four years later, when he was twelve.

Al Chaudhury's dad died, and his mom remarried, so Al now has a stepfather and stepsister, and a hole in his heart where his father was.  But then on his 12th birthday, a letter from his father arrives, and gives him hope that his loss might be undone.  The letter sends Al on a mission back in time.  Back in the bunker at their old house, his father had built a time machine, that actually works.  If Al can go back to 1984, and prevent the go-kart accident that will ultimately lead to his father's death, that death won't happen after all.  So Al, accompanied by his pet hamster, sets out to the past.

Time travel, though, is tricky and complicated, and though it seems easy to change one specific event it's harder than Al thought (hence the second death of his father when only twelve, that ends up with Al in a very sad present.  And it's hard for Al to get to the bunker, which is quite far from his new house.  Misadventures and mishaps (stealing his grand-dad's moped, setting his school on fire, dealing with a bully back in his dad's childhood, endangering his hamster) make his job difficult, but he is determined....

So it's a story of desperation, with funny bits and tense bits (that other people might find more amusing then me, for whom tension is never funny), and there's extra depth from familial connections, such as that between Al and his Indian grand-dad, and extra interest for us US readers, from the English setting.

In short, it's a good read, one that keeps complicating things until its not clear that things will work out for Al, his dad, or the hamster, but happily, it does end well!

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