Saturday, September 14, 2013

Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone -- ESSENTIAL

Stone, Tamara Ireland Time After Time 352 pgs. Disney-Hyperion, October 8, 2013. $17.99.

Language: PG-13 (18 swears; no 'f'); Sexual Content; PG-13; Violence: PG-13.

This sequel to The Time Between Us picks up three months after the first story ends. Now Bennett gets to tell his side, letting the reader know more about his time-traveling abilities, his family and friends in his own time, his feelings about Anna, and the guilt he suffers whenever he chooses not to use his powers to undo major disasters and save lives. Central to the story is his ongoing desire to be with Anna, his love interest from the first book. Unfortunately, his time-traveling is unreliable at best and downright dangerous at worst. As he has more and more difficulty hurtling through time, it looks as if their relationship may be doomed.

While The Time Between Us stood alone nicely, I enjoyed this follow-up almost as much as the original. It was interesting to hear Bennett's side of the story, and to ponder the moral dilemmas he faces. After all, if you can travel back in time to save lives, does it mean you should? While I would have liked to see that theme resolved a little more,  it may have taken the book in an entirely different direction.

As with the previous book, the main characters are well-drawn. I especially love how Stone portrays the parents. Rather than the simple, antagonistic cardboard cutouts found in some YA novels, the adults in Stone's book are excellent role models -- strong and firm, but loving, too, and very real. Above all, they want what's best for their children. For example, when Anna's father does not want Bennett around, it makes absolute sense. From his perspective, I wouldn't want Bennett around my daughter, either.

All in all this was an enjoyable read that touched on some deeper issues. Would appeal to fans of young adult romance and/or time travel stories. The relatively clean nature of the story should make it easy to recommend. While there is kissing, nothing else is disclosed. Bennett does attend a party with alcohol, but it is only mentioned in passing when someone offers him a drink and he declines.

HS -- ESSENTIAL. Reviewed by: Caryn

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