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BOTH SIDES OF TIME

In Annie's opinion, the 1990s are seriously lacking in romance. Her boyfriend pays more attention to old cars than to her, while her father is having an affair right under her mother's nose. When Annie wishes she had lived a hundred years ago, she gets it, falling out of her century and into the 1890s, in a mansion replete with elegant ball gowns, sparkling mirrors, and a handsome young man who falls in love with her on sight. First of all, Cooney (Driver's Ed, 1994, etc.), usually such a pro on the specifics, weakens this time travel with inattention to detail. For example, she never describes Annie's bicycle (or that of her 1890s lover). Surely Annie's has gears; why doesn't anyone notice? Failure to mention it rings false with readers. Second, Annie describes herself as being good at "silly and frivolous.'' A better description might be self-centered and shallow. In both centuries she's chiefly interested in clothes, hair, and boys, and she breaks hearts past and present. Toward the end of the book she begins to look beyond herself, making a second trip to the past to prevent a miscarriage of justice, but for readers, it's too little, too late. She deserves everything she gets. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-385-32174-0

Page Count: 210

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1995

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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