Glitch, by Laura Martin, for Timeslip Tuesday


I really enjoyed Glitch, by Laura Martin (Harper Collins, June 2020)--not only was there fun time travel, but it was also a school story with an enemies into friends twist, so it was right up my alley!

Regan and Elliot both have the gene that lets them time travel, and both are students at the Academy which trains kids like them to be Glitchers, going back in time on missions to keep history safe from interference by those who would alter what actually happened.  They don't have a choice about this--all kids with this gene are gathered in by the Academy as infants.  Regan's mom happens to be the director, but Elliot has no memories of his family.  

The two of them dislike each other lots--Elliot thinks Regan is a spoiled princess, and Regan thinks Elliot is a know-it-all jerk.  Neither is entirely wrong.  But fate throws them together when Regan finds a note left to her by someone from the future, and Elliot intercepts it.  It's a crypt note warning of things to come and things that must be done, and both kids are appalled to find themselves entangled in one of the very butterfly effects they are supposed to be working to stop.  

Not content with implicating the two kids in an illegal manipulation of time, fate throws another wrench in their lives.  Competing in a stimulated mission challenge, they unwittingly demonstrate that to the Academy staff that they make a great team.  And so, with no say in the matter, they are shipped off to an even more secret campus of the Academy to train together.  For the rest of their lives as Glitchers (which won't be that long, because time travel burns a person out, forcing adults to retire early), they will have to work together.

But to do that, they will have to figure out how to get along, and figure out the clues given them from the future in order to save the Academy and the Glitchers from a threat to its very existence by their enemies who want to change the past.

It beautifully vivid time travel to a variety of periods (mostly simulations sending them into pivotal moments of American history, like Gettysburg and Lincoln's assassination).  The task in each mission is to identify and foil the person trying to change the past.  Regan has almost preternatural intuition when it comes to identifying that person, and Elliot has a wealth of knowledge and a respect of the rules, so they do actually complement each other.  

The time travel is brisk and to the point; the kids can't interact with the past for fear of changing it themselves, so it's more a matter of observation, survival, and capturing the enemy.  There's enough consideration about the ethics of the whole set-up to give the Glitchers the moral high ground, while being thought provoking.   And it was a fun story in its own right, with the threat to the Academy giving the story dramatic forward progress while still leaving lots of room for the more personal story of Elliot and Regan figuring things out.

(there was only thing that bothered me--as an adult, I was rather distressed about kids being taken in as babies, and how little the Academy does to be a warm and nurturing place, which explains a lot about poor Elliot!)

But in any event, I would definitely read another book about the Glitchers!

(Elliot is described as dark-skinned, and shown on the cover thus, and so I'm counting this as one for more list of diverse middle grade sci fi/fantasy).

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting concept for a time travel device. Thanks for telling me about this book.


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