by Elle Strauss
I got this book free from Amazon mostly because as a fan of Star Trek, Quantum Leap, The Twilight Zone, and such the concept intrigued me. It was a fun light read, though by the time I got to the end I really couldn't be sure what the point of it was. The story really lacks any dramatic heft. I had worked out the two biggest twists long before they occurred.
In case you're too lazy to read the jacket description, the story is about a teenager named Casey, who like Henry in "The Time Traveler's Wife" seems to have some natural disorder that causes her to go back in time. Only in her case she goes back to 1860. She's been doing this since she was 9 years old. Along the way she's made friends with the Watson family, especially a boy named Willie, but he's a red herring so don't worry about him.
In the 21st Century, Casey worries endlessly about her curly hair, which in true Hollywood fashion, along with her height, makes her completely repulsive to every boy at school. There is the cute quarterback named Nate she has a crush on. Then one day she accidentally takes Nate with her in the past and everything turns upside-side down in her life.
On the scale of female YA heroines, Casey falls somewhere between Bella Swan of "Twilight" and Katniss Everdeen of "The Hunger Games." She's as whiny and insecure as Bella, though she has some hunting skills like Katniss so that she's not a total bore. None of the other characters really come off as anything other than one-dimensional archetypes. For instance, there's her friend Lucinda, but about all I know is she's Casey's friend and has a crush on some guy named Josh. Apparently that's all I need to know about her.
Like many "indie" books this could have used a competent editor to clean up the typos. The dialog formatting especially was atrocious. Sometimes two different characters would speak on the same line. Other times the same character would speak on one line and then the next one too. Compounding the problem is the author hardly ever uses dialog tags, so often I wondered who was speaking.
As I said at the beginning, the story really lacks much in terms of drama. The problems that crop up are dealt with pretty easily. There seemed little in the way of a dramatic arc. By that I never felt the story was really building towards anything, which didn't leave for much of a payoff. It really amounts to girl meets boy, girl and boy travel in time, girl and boy come back but can't express feelings for each other, and so on in that way.
Also as someone who's watched/read plenty of time travel fiction, one thing you really need are consistent rules. The one thing that bugged me was when Casey goes back in time she's wearing her clothes from the 21st Century. She usually ditches these in favor of 19th Century garb. But when she comes back, she's again wearing her 21st Century clothes. This made little sense to me. Did the clothes just reappear? Did they change shape? I mean apparently when she goes back in time she's not leaping into someone else's body like Quantum Leap or a disembodied spirit or anything, so why is it different on the way back? Maybe I'm being overly picky.
Anyway, despite my concerns, the book was a fun read. It would probably be more fun for its target audience--teenage/tweenage girls--which is why I'm rounding it up to four stars. I'm sure they'll get more out of it than a crusty old nerd like me.
That is all.