A slow-moving time-travel romance emphasizes romance over everything else.
When Anna sees a strange boy who smiles warmly at her when she’s out for her morning jog, she’s puzzled. Puzzlement turns to bewilderment when that boy—Bennett—shows up as a new student at her tony private high school and reacts violently to her name but seems not to recognize her at all. She has always wanted to see the world, but she’s hardly ever left her hometown of Evanston, Ill.; she explores the travel section of her father’s bookstore instead. One night, Bennett uses his amazing time-travel ability to save her from a robbery at the store; he explains that he comes from 2012 and is in Anna’s time, 1995, to find the sister he lost at a Pearl Jam concert. Love ensues. Stone doesn’t bother to give Bennett’s unique talent any kind of coherent framework, instead using it to fuel fabulous trips to exotic places and to provide an excuse for hand-wringing about unrequitable love. Anna forces him to go against his preternaturally developed sense of chrono-ethics when her two best friends are in a terrible car accident, but even the consequences of that are only limply explored. The rushed ending exposes the lost sister for the MacGuffin she is and knocks the feet out from under the novel’s only emotionally honest moment, Anna’s decision to live for herself.
Time travel can be fascinating, but here it is not. (Fantasy. 12-16)