There’s no time like the present in this time-travel romance.
Teenager Harper Croft, apparently abandoned by her (inexplicably) aloof mother, moves to Iowa to live with her widower uncle, Jasper. It’s been six years since she saw her childhood buddy, now-17-year-old Kale Jackson, but their friendship soon turns into romance. But Kale finds it hard to be present, mentally and literally. He’s traumatized by his seemingly uncontrollable and increasingly frequent travels through time, having spent several months traveling back to World War II. With unexplainable absences and injuries, Kale has earned his gruff dad’s wrath and brother’s dismissal. Kale’s baffling unwillingness to demonstrate his ability is as logically flawed as the oversimplified explanation of time travel, but here, it’s cast as neither superpower nor curse but a metaphor for coming-of-age. Each of the white protagonists (also co-narrators) deals with familial woes, but girl gamer Harper is far less angst-y than broody mechanic Kale. Debut author Cole focuses more on exhilarating relationships than excellent adventures; she uses the slow pacing to develop her characters but tends toward repetitive descriptions and moralizing.
This emotional journey for a time-traveling guy and his now–girl-next-door is better suited to romance readers than science-fiction aficionados. (Fantasy. 12-18)