A hodgepodge quartet of Brooklyn teens joins forces to defend against the unraveling of time.
Edward prefers invisibility to eighth-grade social echelons. Feenix is a gangly queen bee who dishes up acidic insults and trickery. Painfully shy Brigit has been rendered mute by a familial tragedy. Athletic Danton is the goodwill ambassador and friend to all. When they each touch a peculiar stone, they become the only ones capable of preventing the destruction of time. The stone is a Time Fetch, containing time foragers who, under the right command, gather bits of unused time. In the wrong hands, they spell a fast-forward destruction of the world. With four starkly different eighth-grade archetypes, readers are likely to find themselves somewhere in the mix. Each character is interesting enough (though Edward’s pagan aunt is generally more intriguing than all four combined), and the book isn’t without quirky moments: three gruesome sister witches, panthers stalking in Prospect Park, a shape-shifting villain with backward thumbs. Hope for a fluid narrative is stalled by theorizing and philosophizing about time, and occasional choppy phrasing is equally off-putting.
Mostly fun for confirmed fantasy fans, and even their enthusiasm will be diluted by what feels less like narrative and more like lesson. (Fantasy. 12-14)