Jan Von Schleh is a Foreign Service expat and a lover of unusual places. Born in Seattle, Jan has spent the last twenty years moving around the world for her day job, often working with teens in Zimbabwe, Nicaragua, DR Congo, Turkmenistan, Kingdom of Bahrain, and Korea. But when it comes down to it, she's still just a girl from the Pacific Northwest who writes about ancient, moss covered buildings and the diverse characters who inhabit them. But Not Forever won the 2019 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Silver Medal in Young Adult Fiction, the 2019 Independent Publisher Silver Medal Award in Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction E-Book. The novel is also a 2019 Forward Indie Finalist in Young Adult Fiction, a 2019 National Indie Excellence Finalist in Young Adult Fiction, a 2019 International Book Awards Finalist in Young Adult Fiction and was shortlisted for the 2018 Chanticleer Young Adult Fiction Rossetti Book Award. But Not Forever was selected by Kirkus Review to be highlighted in the August 15, 2018 issue.
Jan is currently finishing up a follow-on novel to But Not Forever, another coming of age mystery about two teen boys separated by 12 generations and dark secrets.
“Von Schleh uses the time-travel devise to illustrate robust interior lives for her characters, and in the end, their romantic and familial verisimilitude enhances an already fabulous twist.”
– Kirkus Reviews
This YA debut sees two teenage girls switch places in time with significant repercussions.
Fifteen-year-old Sonnet McKay, originally from South Africa, is visiting her grandfather in Seattle for the summer. One day, she explores the abandoned town of Monte Cristo with her twin brother, Evan; her sister, 16-year-old Jules; and their teenage cousins Lia and Niki. Also present is Evan’s friend Rapp Loken, on whom Sonnet has a major crush. After the group enters a decrepit mansion, Sonnet and Rapp go upstairs to a bedroom. Rapp dares her to hide inside the closet as a prank on the others. As Sonnet does so, a gust of wind blows through the window and slams the closet door behind her. She suffers a confusing, painful tumble through “shimmery air,” then wakes up surrounded by people who think her name is Emma. Meanwhile, 15-year-old Emma Sweetwine, from 1895, has likewise fallen through a closet—her own, in her parents’ Monte Cristo home. She wakes in 2015, surrounded by Rapp and company, who nearly mistake her for Sonnet. At first, neither girl can believe her circumstances. But as events roll forward, Sonnet and Emma acclimate to their new centuries and learn that getting back home will require planning, determination, and love. In her novel, Von Schleh tackles one of the more devilish sci-fi conundrums, time travel, with gusto. She meticulously inserts the teens—who are spitting images of each other—into culture-shock scenarios relating to language, clothing, and etiquette, both personal and societal. Sonnet finds the enforcement of Victorian norms by Emma’s mother insufferable, for the woman has a “laser-like focus on me” that’s “a nonstop tsunami, boring down, pounding...on the shores of my new life.” Conversely, the modern freedoms Emma enjoys, reluctantly at first, provide heartbreaking revelations. About her peers’ speech, she notices: “Nothing was strained through a sieve, picked apart, and checked for merit or effect before being spoken.” Von Schleh uses the time-travel device to illustrate robust interior lives for her characters, and in the end, their romantic and familial verisimilitude enhances an already fabulous twist.
Love and equality shape the past and future in this captivating tale.
Pub Date: June 12, 2018
Page count: 312pp
Review Posted Online: June 28, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018
Favorite line from a book
What's past is prologue. (Okay, it's Shakespeare so probably a play not a book...)Highlight on But Not Forever by Jan Von Schleh, 2018 10 Books to Transport You to New Places , 2018 Guest Post: Time Travel Stories that Inspired “But Not Forever” , 2018 YA Books for Fans of Time Travel Stories, 2018 5 Enchanting Books For Fans of Once Upon a Time , 2018 Top YA Books for Teens, 2018
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