A 12-year-old in 1987 time travels a half-century into the past and meets her own grandmother at the same age.
Annie Jaffin and her mom visit Annie’s grandmother, a woman she barely knows. The dying older woman still resides in the once-grand hotel her family owned and where she and her daughter, Annie’s mom, grew up. The reunion is grim: Her bitter, angry grandmother hurls recriminations at the two. That night, Annie dons a sleep mask, her world goes dark, and…next morning, she’s shocked to awaken in the hotel room of a girl called Molly who gradually reveals that it’s 50 years earlier—and that her given name is Mary Moran: Annie’s grandmother’s name. Annie wisely keeps the relationship a secret. Molly, kept almost completely sequestered for health reasons, relishes this new “friend’s” company, and the pair embark on a series of whirlwind adventures beyond the hotel’s environs. The novel’s premise is tantalizing, but its execution lacks true spark. The girls are likable, but characterizations are superficial; certain plot details are confusing; the Great Depression barely registers; and readers may wonder why neither girl is more curious about each other’s time and lifestyle than she is. Youngsters may also wonder how the vivacious though depressed and lonely young Molly grew up to be such a tartar; they will see that some circumstances in her childhood seem to have changed so as to presage a happier future. A surprise at the end disappoints and doesn’t resolve matters.
Overall, there are some pleasures, but this is time travel lite. (author’s note) (Fantasy. 9-12)