This is one of those books I’ve had laying around the house for a long time. Months ago I read a few pages and then stopped, and then I saw that it was one of the books on the Best of the Best list and figured I would try again. My few pages here and there (late at night, no less) really gave it short shrift. Because once I got a full chapter or two in I was totally engrossed in the story and couldn’t wait to see how it all resolved itself.
Lucky Linderman is an only child. His dad is a chef and spends most of his time at work, or trying to connect with his family by cooking for them. His mom seems vaguely unhappy and copes by swimming laps for hours and hours every day. Lucky’s grandfather served in the Vietnam War and was MIA when Lucky’s dad was just a baby. Lucky’s dad seems to still feel this loss, but Lucky has for years, been visiting his grandfather in the Vietnam jungle every time he falls asleep. It seems like dreams, but when he awakes he has objects that he had when he was there. Every visit he tries to help his grandfather escape to come home. These visits become especially important to Lucky when he turns 7 and a horrible boy called Nader begins to bully him. Now a teenager Nader is still a grade A a**hole and he torments Lucky. When he physically hurts Lucky, Lucky’s mom takes him to Arizona where he stays with a family more messed up than his own.
This book was so beautifully written, moving between times and realities (?) so easily. The pacing of the book was excellent-this book was exactly the right length-it did not drag on, but it did not wrap up too quickly. I really thought it was great-the scenes with Lucky and his grandfather were often very moving, his mother-who at first I thought a pitiful character-grew on me, and even his late night meeting of the tough girls doing the Vagina Monologues (which really seemed like the sort of thing that happens all the time in books and absolutely never in real life) fit in neatly.
Oh, and the ants? A clever part of the story. Not to keep harping on this, but not only did the story grab me, but I was just so impressed and taken in with how wonderfully written this was.
I briefly wrote about this book in a post I did about time inspired books on The Hub. It won the 2010 Newbery Medal and is indeed, wonderfully written. I admire a book with an interesting construct and this is put together wonderfully. Miranda and Sal were friends, but then things start to fall apart. And when Miranda receives little notes that indicate someone knows her and her friends and things that have not happened yet, she wonders what it in the world is going on.
You won’t know until the end of the book how it all fits together, and watching those pieces fall into place is really cool. it’s also a bit of a tender, moving story.
Picking up immediately after Blackout (and with no background, so don’t bother reading if you didn’t read the first-this is clearly one long story just split into two books)the time travelers spend most of this book trying to find a way back to 2060 Oxford, all the while trying to survive everyday life of World War II in Englang. This was amazing historical fiction-so detailed and I don’t doubt the authenticity of it at all. It really was frightening and inspiring to see how people got through-some of the best historical fiction I’ve ever read! The ending did get a bit convoluted as you try to wrap your head around the time travel aspect, and I think she threw in a something on literally the last half a page that I am not at all certain I understand.
I picked up this prepub at Midwinter, as it was described as “The Time Traveler’s Wife” for teens. I’m not so sure about that description, catchy though it may by, though this is a sweet, romantic, time travel story.
After a troubled time with a dreadful boyfriend Amy has moved to the rural Northwest to live with her great aunt. She is nervous about this new start and anxious about making friends and having a bad reputation precede her. When she meets Henry after walking through a dense mist into the clearing behind her aunt’s trailer she is attracted to his gentle manners and thoughtful ways. He seems almost not of her time and, in fact, he isn’t. Henry and his mother and grandfather have been stuck in the same summer during WWII ever since Henry offered up a particular prayer. This is a very charming twist to traditional time travel because it’s not so much that Amy time travels, more that she happens upon Henry, who is stuck in time (like Brigadoon?) One of the other things I thought interesting was that what appeals to Amy is not only the romanticized pace of the time period, but also the manners and gentility of boys.
A quick read with a particularly wonderful ending.