Author: Andy Gavin
Pages: Paperback; 325
Release Date: December 17, 2012
Content Screening: Violence, Mild Language
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who are fans of deep historical fiction with elements of steampunk thrown in.
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Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, even his own mother can’t remember his name. And girls? The invisible man gets more dates.
As if that weren’t enough, when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don’t take him seriously.
Still, this isn’t all bad. In fact, there’s this girl, another time traveler, who not only remembers his name, but might even like him! Unfortunately, Yvaine carries more than her share of baggage: like a baby boy and at least two ex-boyfriends! One’s famous, the other’s murderous, and Charlie doesn’t know who is the bigger problem.
When one kills the other — and the other is nineteen year-old Ben Franklin — things get really crazy. Can their relationship survive? Can the future? Charlie and Yvaine are time travelers, they can fix this — theoretically — but the rules are complicated and the stakes are history as we know it.
And there's one more wrinkle: he can only travel into the past, and she can only travel into the future!
What an extremely interesting twist on time travel! I have to admit that, even though this book took some time for me to get into, once I was in it was hard to stop reading. Charlie is a boy who is utterly forgettable. Even his mother needs a reminder to call him by the correct name. I think this is really what drew me in the most. Watching young Charlie, a boy who has no idea that a fantastic adventure is in store for him.
That being said, the time travel part of this book is done very well. While the back story to Charlie's ability isn't really explained in detail, enough is given to let you know that there is one very big problem. Charlie can only travel backwards. Lucky for him he meets a girl traveler who can go forwards! Or is it luck? What ensues is a fast paced, rather dark romp through a story set in a much different time from our own.
Now it's important for me to let you know that Charlie's story is fairly gritty. I understood that by going back in time he was experiencing things that really happened. Of course he would be surrounded by drinks, loose women and even violence. Still, it turned me off a bit at first. I'm not against things like this in YA. In fact, I think it made it easier to accept because it was a different time period. Some of the things Charlie did and went through really bothered me though. I'm not certain how I'd feel giving this to a reader under the age of 16.
More than anything I think that my rating of this book was affected by the immense amount of history poured into it. I loved the steampunk addition, liked the time travel pieces, but felt so bogged down by trying to remember what these two had affected and were trying to fix that sometimes I had to go back and reread pages. It may well be that this isn't my genre, but I'm glad I gave it a shot nonetheless. Read this if you are a fan of historical fiction with a twist.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.