What starts out as a prank, when six sixth-grade girls register an imaginary classmate in their overcrowded school, becomes a mystery to them when a real Dayla Jones starts showing up at school. It turns out that the newcomer is a visitor from the pre-Columbian past the same children brushed with in The Daybreakers (1970); she's disguised as a contemporary to mislead a strange, sinister group of loiterers who, in turn, are really enemies of Dayla's people and have followed her through the same chink in time. Exactly what they are up to isn't clear--and Curry's seeming lack of interest in their story considerably undercuts the urgency attached to a climactic, stagey Halloween party that the children plan as a cover for Dayla's safe return to her proper period. In truth, the sober, italicized hints of ancient mystery read almost like a parody of such fantasy, and don't mix with the old-fashioned ""six chums at school"" narration or the self-consciously contemporary slang and multi-ethnic casting. Like The Daybreakers, it rings false.