The Machine
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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 The story’s historical references are mostly solid, although there are noticeable anachronisms, including mentions of Star Wars and the Martin Luther King Jr.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. 15th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-5462-6847-5
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Program: Kirkus Indie
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