A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity, by Nicole Valentine for (this Wednesday's) Timeslip Tuesday

Sometimes time gets slippy, and even with the best intentions in the world, Tuesdays come to an end before one's post is written.  So here's the (very good) time travel book that was supposed to be up yesterday!

A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity, by Nicole Valentine (Carolrhoda, middle grade, Oct 1 2019) is indeed about time travel, but mostly it's about a boy, Finn.   Finn's twin sister drowned when they were three, and the hole in his family is still there, though Finn only remembers fragments of her.  Now Finn's mother has left home, with no message or explanation, leaving him with his absent-minded historian dad, who won't talk about it, and who then heads off on a research trip, leaving Finn with his grandmother.  Happily, his best friend Gabi lives nearby, and she has his back, and his grandma is loving, warm, and caring.  She also knows where his mother is, although she doesn't come out and tell him immediately...and when she does, it's hard to believe.

Finn comes from a family of time-travelling women, and his mother is trying to reshape the past.  But things have gone wrong.  In order to bring her home, and perhaps even bring Faith home to, Finn is going to have to trust his grandmother's cryptic instructions and travel through time himself.  Gabi refuses to let him go alone, and so they head off to find a portal up in the mountains....But there are those who want a different version of the past, who are determined to stop Finn and his mother.  And everything almost goes horrible wrong.....

That was me trying to avoid giving too much away.  There are lots and lots of twists and alternate timelines and lots of questionable actions and motives....but like I said at the beginning, it's mostly about Finn.  About 100 pages into the book (it's 339 pages long), I thought to myself something like "I am really enjoying the measured way in which the world of this book and its characters are being built up, and how it's been done so skillfully that my interest just keeps getting more and more piqued"  And indeed, the "action and adventure" part where the time travel goes wild doesn't really start until more than halfway through.  But that part of the book wouldn't have been nearly as interesting if I didn't already know Finn, and Gabi (she is great!), so well, and the chance to get used to the time travelling rather gradually made it easier to go with the flow when the flow got going.  

The pacing also gave Finn and Gabi a chance to think about and discuss what they were doing, adding thought-provoking-ness to the story that I appreciated.  Sometimes rushing around like kittens sort of books are fun, but I really appreciated reading one that felt more like a grown-up lap cat.

In short a really interesting, thoughtful, very likeable time travel/friendship/family secrets story that I highly recommend!

disclaimer: review copy.

1 comment:

  1. This book is getting a lot of buzz. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.


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