15 Minutes, by Steve Young, for Timeslip Tuesay

This week's Timeslip Tuesday, 15 Minutes, by Steve Young (HarperCollins, 2006), is one for the younger middle grade set (10-11 year olds).  It's very much aimed at that group in its humor and plot twists, and though I'm happy to recommend it to Wimpy Kid fans, for instance, this means that I didn't personally enjoy it all that much.

Casey Little is pretty ordinary, although his talent for being late is remarkable.  He has a few friends, he is bullied at the normal level for his school (which is considerable), and he longs to be one of the admired, popular kids.  But when, rummaging in the attic, he finds an old watch that used to belong to his grandfather, ordinary goes out the window.

The watch can take its wearer back in time, but only for 15 minutes.  No one else realizes, so there's freedom to try again, this time getting it right.

This re-do ability is convenient for a kid, like Casey, who's a bit of a klutz and who embarrasses himself a lot.  And by fixing all his mistakes he is, in fact, able to attract the attention of one of the popular girls and even excel at football (a game where it helps to know in advance which way everyone's going to go).  But the watch has a mind of its own, and sometimes time goes back when the watch thinks it should, complicating things.

As Casey tries to achieve his (flawed) ideas of perfection, he drifts away from his old friends, and when he realizes that the worst of the bullies, the football star of the school, is in fact the victim of bullying from his own father, he quits the cycle of do-overs, and finds peace in the present. It's a rather abrupt change of heart, but still a nice ending.

I myself don't have much patience for middle school kids who are thoughtless and self-centered, and so didn't like Casey at all for most of the book.  There's a lot of humor that will appeal to Wimpy Kid fans, which means that it's not humor I find all that funny, and the number of times kids get their heads flushed by the bullies is ridiculous.  So not a book for me.

But it is quick read, and an interesting premise, and the final point of the story is a valuable one (about compassion, not making judgements, and a touch of trying to be  one's authentic self) and so I'm sure there are kids out there for whom it is the right book....

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure there is an audience for this, but it's not for me either. Good to know about though. Thanks for the review.


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