A breezy, straightforward approach to time travel featuring unforgettable characters.




In Yanni’s debut YA adventure, four siblings discover a way to travel through time, giving them the opportunity to possibly prevent their parents’ deaths.

After the Fitzgerald children lose their mother and father in a plane crash in 1974, their Aunt Alicia becomes their new guardian. She ships them off to Choate Rosemary Hall, a boarding school in Connecticut. Teenagers Ken, Deb, and Joe and 10-year-old Kim slowly adjust to their new lives; they make friends, and the teens start dating classmates. Joe, however, has a tougher time dealing with his grief, and he focuses his energy on some files that he found in an abandoned campus building. They detail a machine prototype and a “theoretical calculation” for making time bend—which could make time travel possible. Joe, who excels in math and science, manages to develop the machine with help from campus caretaker Mr. Brewster and his own siblings (Ken is studying mechanical engineering). Joe suggests that they go back in time to save their parents, so Deb comes up with a strategy: She believes that stopping the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 will spark a series of events that will keep their parents away from their fatal plane trip. Yanni establishes strong foundations for all the young characters before the time-hopping takes center stage; for example, Deb writes letters to Denise, her best friend whom she misses, and Ken ditches his plan to join the Marines so that he can look after his siblings. Throughout, the author clearly shows how the Fitzgeralds care for one another. He also simplifies the sci-fi concept by offering few particulars on how time travel or the machine actually work, but there are intriguing discussions between the siblings and their friends regarding the changes that time bending could generate—including the Fitzgeralds never attending Choate. The story’s historical references are mostly solid, although there are noticeable anachronisms, including mentions of Star Wars and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day federal holiday prior to their existences.

A breezy, straightforward approach to time travel featuring unforgettable characters.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5462-6847-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2019

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Ramona returns (Ramona Forever, 1988, etc.), and she’s as feisty as ever, now nine-going-on-ten (or “zeroteen,” as she calls it). Her older sister Beezus is in high school, baby-sitting, getting her ears pierced, and going to her first dance, and now they have a younger baby sister, Roberta. Cleary picks up on all the details of fourth grade, from comparing hand calluses to the distribution of little plastic combs by the school photographer. This year Ramona is trying to improve her spelling, and Cleary is especially deft at limning the emotional nuances as Ramona fails and succeeds, goes from sad to happy, and from hurt to proud. The grand finale is Ramona’s birthday party in the park, complete with a cake frosted in whipped cream. Despite a brief mention of nose piercing, Cleary’s writing still reflects a secure middle-class family and untroubled school life, untouched by the classroom violence or the broken families of the 1990s. While her book doesn’t match what’s in the newspapers, it’s a timeless, serene alternative for children, especially those with less than happy realities. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-16816-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-82979-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1999

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