Rewind, by Lisa Graff, for Timeslip Tuesday

Despite not having finished preparing the talk I'm giving tomorrow (on shipwrecks and archaeology, which I've done before but it needs work), I'm here with a Timeslip Tuesday both again!   And it's a fun one--Rewind, by Lisa Graff (August 22, 2023 by Philomel Books).  

An annual highlight in 12-year-old McKinley's hometown is the Time Hop--everyone dresses up in clothes from the chosen year, and parties to that year's music.  It's about to be Time Hop 1993, and McKinley works hard on her outfit.  But the happiness of the day is spoiled when her father tells he she has to stay home to look after her grandma, who had a stroke a while back.  She sneaks out anyway to join her best friend Meg, but they have a falling out.  And then her father shows up in the middle of the party to drag her home.  But that's not all--McKinely, devastated, rushes away...and travels back in time to the real 1993!

It's the same town, and she's quickly befriended by Meg's mom.  Her grandmother hasn't yet had her stroke, and her dad and Meg's dad are two utterly obnoxious pests.  She and Meg's mom join forces to try to figure out how to get McKinley home--does she have to change something?    Like, perhaps, make the two dads less obnoxious so that Meg stands a chance of being born, and McKinley's own home life is more pleasant?  And some research in the library (microfiche ftw) results in the two girls learning that others in the town have travelled back in time as well- adding an interesting twist to the puzzle of getting back to the present.

(Meg's mom is just the sort of new friend one wants to make when time traveling!  She accepts the situation, is tremendously helpful, and very practical, keeping McKinley safe and fed).

It's fun, and I'm sure the target audience will love all the details of 1993, and be taken aback, as McKinley is, at some of the cultural nuances of that long ago time  (including more overt misogyny and racism than kids today maybe, I hope, experience).  There's some food for thought gently folded in, like this quote-“Not mentioning the bad stuff, doesn’t make it go away,” McKinley had explained. “It just makes it so kids like us don’t know what really happened. And talking about the awful stuff doesn’t mean you can’t talk about the good stuff that happened that year, too.” (pp 150-151).  And there's a subtle but strong message that changing other people isn't the way to solve problems.

It wasn't quite a book for me, as I have no interest in the 1990s, and didn't much like the characters (especially the two boys, who I found unbelievably horrid), but still I read it with enjoyment.

1 comment:

  1. I was curious to see what you would think. The appeal of this for middle grade readers is DEFINITELY 1993, since that's when a lot of their parents were in middle school. The boys were horrid, but it's good for today's children to see how things were different. Glad you saw some good in it!


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