Published 30 years ago as a three-volume series, this effort is an updated version combined into a single novel.
Rising junior-high-schooler Rebecca witnesses the kidnapping of a classmate and while trying to help him, is transported by time machine to 2050, a dystopian, post–nuclear-apocalypse future in which the few survivors live underground. Damaged by radiation, they have resorted to kidnapping young teens from the past to provide for future reproduction. In a fast-paced series of often-suspenseful events, the pair return to their own time accompanied by teens Lewis and Catherine. In a second part, Rebecca follows time-travelers Mark and Jonathan to a different dystopian future, a commerce-driven police state in which the pair are freedom fighters. Eventually, Rebecca ends up in her own time living side by side with another version of herself as she and her friends try to change the present in order to alter the future. The action and imaginative ideas will keep readers engaged, although the sometimes preachy, albeit worthwhile, message occasionally intrudes. With numerous characters making brief appearances, Rebecca’s role serves to connect the various time periods, although the three parts of this effort still feel a lot like separate, related tales.
A thought-provoking and entertaining time-travel tale with a useful, even hopeful, message about personal responsibility. (Science fiction. 10-15)