The Boy from Tomorrow, by Camille DeAngelis, for Timeslip Tuesday

The Boy from Tomorrow, by Camille DeAngelis (Amberjack Publishing, middle grade, May  2018), is the sort of book that makes me glad I went with "timeslip" instead of "time travel" for my Tuesday postings, because there isn't any time travel (in the sense of people popping out of their time into someone else's), but time gets very slippery indeed!

Alec and his mom have moved from the city out into an old house in a small town after his parents split up.  It's a lovely old house, full of secrets...not the least of which is an old Ouija board.   Fooling around with the board one night with a new friend, Danny, Alec opens up a line of communication to Josie, the girl who lived in the house 100 years ago, and they become friends across time.  Josie has left letters for Alec to find, filling in details of her life, and when the Ouija board is replaced by a phonograph that lets them actually talk, their friendship becomes even more real.

Josie's life is not happy; her spiritualist mother is cruel and downright abusive to her little sister Cassie.  And Alec can only watch from 100 years away...distracting the girls with stories and songs not yet written, and finding more about their lives in the library archives, though he can't bring himself to find out everything....he doesn't want to know, and neither does she.  But Josie and Alec both know that she and Cass must escape their terrible mother and the virtual imprisonment in which they live, even though it will end their friendship.

And so the ending is bittersweet, with one final letter coming to wrap up all the loose ends long after she has died.

It's told in alternating perspectives of the two kids, so that the reader gets to see both sides of this strange friendship.  It's almost like reading two different overlapping stories, because the characters and their lives are so beautifully delineated and just right for their particular time periods.  External interest in Josie's side of things is added by her mother's spiritualism (she's rather famous, and good at what she does), and on Alec's side of things by his having to cope with his parent's divorce and his new life.  There's a generous dollop of creepiness, though never going over the edge into supernatural horror, although Cass's doll, with whom she has a physic bond that is more than a bit disturbing, comes close.

In short, it is rather a magical book, blending contemporary and historical fiction beautifully!  "Spellbinding." says Kirkus.

(sigh.  Instead of interesting letters about their lives left by my boys in our own old house, children of days to come will find, hidden in the walls, little notes saying "you are stupid" and other witty jests.)

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