The Last Beginning, by Lauren James, for Timeslip Tuesday

The Last Beginning, by Lauren James (YA, Sky Pony Press, 2018) is a joyful, chaotic romp of a time travel adventure that I devoured in a single sitting.

Clove, a Scottish teenager in 2051, gets hit with two emotional wrenches in one week.  Her best friend Meg, who she has a crush on, has just fallen in love with a boy, Clove's cousin.  On a more earthshaking note, Clove's parents tell her that she is adopted, and that her birth parents, Matt and Kate, are famous for saving the world from a bioterrorist threat developed by England, and then disappearing.  Clove sets the family's AI device, nicknamed Spart, to work trying to track them down (she is a whiz at computer programing).

And in the meantime, her mother has almost finished getting her time machine up and running.

Spart the AI delivers the strange information that  Matt and Kate keep showing up in history, starting in 1745.  So Clove decides that she will use the time machine to go back to find them, to try to figure out what happened to them and why they keep showing up a various crisis points of history.  The time machine works, and Clove becomes friends with Ella, a girl a little older.  She also meets then-Matt and then-Kate, and unfortunately changes the past.  When she returns to her own time, everything is horribly altered, and she starts disapparating...but a bit more time travel shenanigans patches things up.

I don't want to go into any more details about what happens next, but it involves lots more time travel, Ella and Clove falling in love (Ella keeps popping up....and has an interesting story of her own), and Matt and Kate saving the world....

I was very doubtful about how easy a time of it Clove had in 1745, but it turns out there's an explanation for this that made me smile.  And though there are many bifurcations and manipulations of time, I managed not to get overwhelmed with confusion.  Clove and Ella's romance is very sweet, as is the love between all the different Matt and Kates, and the love in Clove's nuclear family.  The story includes on-line exchanges between the characters, some from the future, including Clove's chats with Spart, and some steamy exchanges with Ella, and these lighten the weight of the world saving and time travel confusion very nicely, and made me chuckle.

This is the sequel to The Next Together, but it stands alone just fine, and quite possibly works better if you have never read that one (which is the story of Matt and Kate).  Not knowing the details of their lives makes the reader feel closer to Clove as she figures things out.  Although of course reading about Matt and Kate second might mean their story is less gripping...so really one should probably read both books first!

But in any event, I liked this one lots, and am glad to have an excellent lesbian sci fi time travel with smart girls saving the world to recommend! (we need more!)

1 comment:

  1. I just put in an interloan request for this, as it sounds interesting and my library didn't have it.


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