A YA adventure finds a high school football star stuck in the past thanks to a mysterious musical instrument.
North High School students Arky and Iris are twins from the accomplished Jongler-Jinks family. Their father, Howard Jinks, is a university history professor, and their mother, Dr. Octavia Jongler, is an astrophysicist. Jongler, however, has been missing without a trace for a year. In a state of continuous coping, Howard indulges his passion for the Civil War and attends a weekend re-enactment. It also happens to be the Friday night of an important semifinal football game between the North High Cyclones and the Lakeside Spartans. When the Cyclones win, Arky throws a party for his best friends, Danny Bender, a defensive back, and Matt Grinnell, the star quarterback. The party ends early when a scandal involving a private video of Kelly, Matt’s girlfriend, erupts. Matt tries to walk home but returns to knock on Iris’ door. He begs her to play the oboe, which the jock finds beautiful. Instead, she plays her cor anglais, a family heirloom that comes to possess her. Mist pours from the instrument’s bell, engulfs Matt, and causes him to vanish. Meehl (Suck It Up and Die, 2013, etc.) has crafted a sparkling tale from both unique and time-tested elements. His layered characterization unfolds wonderfully, as the narrative focus slides from the bickering twins to Matt, the talented footballer who’s begun to think he plays just to satisfy his father’s obsession with the game. The plot kicks in as the author sends Matt back in time—via the enchanted cor anglais—to 1907, when football had a different set of rules, equipment, and cultural value. Meehl’s love of history and sport combine to tell not only Matt’s story, but also Olympian Jim Thorpe’s. As a young man, Thorpe played football for the Carlisle Indian Industrial School of Pennsylvania. A bittersweet ending sets up the second volume in a trilogy.
A vibrant time-travel tale that offers inventive storytelling along with sports, romance, and secrets.