YA Review: SIX STRINGS by Jen Sanya Williamson

I was recently approached to see if I would like to review SIX STRINGS by Jen Sanya Williamson. I thought the premise sounded great: a teenager is dealing with her beloved grandmother’s Alzheimer’s, when she discovers that she comes from a long line of time travelers, and that her grandmother has passed this gift along to her.

This was a book I would have loved when I was a teen! Riley, the protagonist, is a typical teenager: loves music, is thinking about college, has her special group of friends. From her grandmother she learns that her father is not her father, but that her biological father is actually a famous rock star from that her mother knew when she was young. His guitar is her item that helps her time travel and she has six chances to go back and explore the past in order to better understand the present. Riley is frightened, and only half-believing, but gives it a try. She goes back to the early 80’s and finds her grandparents (so poignant) and also her teen mother (yikes!) and her uncle. Along the way, she is also drawn to a boy she meets there, but needs to keep her true self a secret.

I just loved this book, which read quickly and was appropriate for a wide range of ages. My only disappointment is that the next book in the series is not available yet! 🙂 I have to add that Ms. Williamson’s portrayal of dementia is so spot on, it brought tears to my eyes.

Thank you for my review copy, and I will look forward to reading more from Ms. Williamson.

Quick YA Review: WHISPER FALLS by Elizabeth Langston

Through Net Galley I found this YA title about a teenager who meets up with a mysterious young woman through the curtain of a waterfall one day when he’s out riding his mountain bike.

Mark Lewis is a typical high schooler who is training for a mountain bike competition. One day he comes across an oddly dressed young woman, Susannah, and they become friends. However, Susannah is from 1796 and Mark lives in the present day. The two teens are drawn to each other, and danger mounts for Susannah from her employer. Can Mark cross the barrier of time to save Susannah from her fate?

I really enjoyed this story, and the ending suggests that there will be a sequel. I look forward to more from Ms. Langston!

Thanks, Net Galley and Spencer Hill Press, for my copy!

KIDS’ REVIEW: Emerson’s Attic – The Blue Velvet by Kathleen Andrews Davis

I selected EMERSON’S ATTIC from Net Galley as it looked like something that would be good for our school library (K-8). This is the first in what will be a series. Emerson is a teen who is pretty typical. One day while having to clean out the attic of their older home, she finds a blue velvet hat, puts it on, and is transported back in time to the 1800’s to England. Poor Emerson has no idea what she is doing there (except working as a housemaid), and she keeps having dreams of her grandfather, who seems to be guiding her on her journey. Why is she there? And what must she do in the past to preserve the future?

I just loved this sweet book. It reminded me of the type of book I would have read as a child. I always loved time travel books! This is a real winner for our school library as it’s appropriate for younger readers, as well as middle schoolers. A study guide is also available (though I did not receive it). I look forward to reading more from Ms. Davis.

Thank you, Net Galley, for my copy.

Quick YA Review: RIPPED by Shelly Dickson Carr

I downloaded the YA novel RIPPED from Net Galley before our recent trip to Hawaii.  In this fast-paced and riveting story, teenager Katie Lennox discovers she can travel through time from present day London to the time of Jack the Ripper using the “London Stone”. Katie takes on the task of thwarting Jack the Ripper before he can do his evil deeds. She also holds in her heart the secret desire to see her deceased parents again. What Katie discovers is that changing history is no easy feat, and small events can have big consequences. The theme of “be careful what you wish for” is oft-repeated in this story.

I really enjoyed reading this novel!  I see that it has won several awards, which is not surprising as it is well-written and well researched. I love historical fiction and mixing it up with time travel just makes me love it more! It is a bit lengthy (over 500 pages in print), but eager readers should have no problem plowing through it.

I look forward to more novels from Ms. Carr, and I see she lives locally, so perhaps our paths will cross.

Thanks, Net Galley and New Book Partners Publishing, for my copy!

Quick Review: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

I grabbed this last week from the new release shelf at the library. I found the length – over 800 pages – completely daunting, but figured my love of King’s writing would see me through.

This tome follows the adventure of Jake Epping- single, high school English teacher- as he warps through time in an attempt to save the life of John F. Kennedy on that fateful day in Dallas.

Oh, how I love the concept of time travel! Ever since I was a little girl I have been fascinated with the construct of parallel worlds and moving between them through time and space. I always thought it seemed logical that if you could just go fast enough – and backwards – you could revisit something that had already taken place. Anyhow, when Jake’s dying friend Al shares his secret with him (there’s a “rabbit-hole time warp” in the basement of his diner), he entrusts Jake with the task of going back and changing history, presumably for the better.

This story brings up the question of the butterfly effect again and again, and the most basic questions: if you change one thing in the past, how does it affect the future and how can you know it will affect it for the better?

Loved, loved, loved this book!