Still mourning the loss of her beloved grandmother and shaken by her mysterious, dying request to “find the baby,” Abbi has just arrived at UW Madison for her freshman year. But on her second day, she wakes up to a different world: 1983. That is just the first stop on Abbi’s journey backward through time. Will is a charming college freshman from 1927 who travels forward through time. When Abbi and Will meet in the middle, love adds another complication to their lives. Communicating across time through a buried time capsule, they try to decode the mystery of their travel, find the lost baby, and plead with their champion, a kindly physics professor, to help them find each other again … even though the professor gets younger each time Abbi meets him. This page-turning story full of romance, twists, and delightful details about campus life then and now will stay with readers long after the book’s satisfying end.
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
Well damn. This book was sooooooo weird for me. I was extremely compelled to read it, and couldn’t put it down (staying up until the wee hours of the night to finish it). But I was also kind of unsatisfied with many aspects of the story, and I’m not exactly sure what was compelling me. Honestly, I think I just wanted to know the answers. I wanted to know the different mysteries, and I wanted to know how the time travel was going to work and be explained.
I can honestly say that the mysteries were my favourite parts of the story, from how the time travel was working to the lost baby plotline, even though the lost baby mystery wasn’t really remembered and reintroduced until fairly late in the story. I think it’s so odd when something is part of the blurb, or mentioned at the very beginning, but ends up only being a small part of the plot as a whole. I wasn’t expecting that, and it was kind of frustrating how it kept getting lost in the shuffle. But at the same time I was really interested in finding out, and while I had some theories pretty early on that ended up coming to fruition, I was still really satisfied with the way that worked out. I think I just would have liked for it to play a more central role in the book, instead it felt a bit tacked on…even though there was groundwork laid earlier, we as the reader didn’t know that. I don’t know…
And then there’s the time travel. I found it really compelling, but I have to say the explanation was very underwhelming. But I think it still ended up being enjoyable for me, just because of the way the time travel was working and the theories I would come up with in my head, and that anticipation, that even though I was unsatisfied with the explanation, it still made for a fun read. I think time travel is extremely hard to get right, and in the end this book just left me with a lot of confusing questions and plot holes, which is a shame. Also, if you’re looking for a time travel book that’s science based, this book isn’t for you. This was more just hand-wavy in the end…which would have been ok if a major part of the book wasn’t about the Physics Professor making it his life’s work to figure it out. *shrugs* See? Mixed bag.
Honestly, I could write a lot more negative things about this book than positive things. Abbi was not a very well-developed character, and I really couldn’t tell you what she was like, what interested her, any of that. She was extremely shallow. She was really just a vehicle for the plot I guess. Which is kind of disappointing when she’s your MC and voice. The Professor, Sharon, Ruby, and even Walter a bit, were more interesting and 3 dimensional.
The love interest, Will, was very sweet, but we really don’t learn much about his journey either. And I was even less satisfied with his reasons for time travel than I was for Abbi’s (I was satisfied with Abbi’s). And while the romance was sweet, it was a bit insta-lovey just because of the nature of the way their stories intertwine, and because we don’t really get to see them connect, it’s sort of glossed over in that they share time talking over weeks or whatever. I want to see that chemistry and connection, not just have it exist out of nowhere. And it really wasn’t a very prominent part of the book either, just a small section.
So see? Not a lot of positive to say, but at the same time I really was entertained. It was a quick read. I’m not sure how well Ms. Stanton did getting the historical stuff right, but I’ve never been a historical book reader so that wasn’t what drew me to the book. In the end it was pretty light on history, mostly just shallow details there as well. So I guess I would mostly recommend this to those who enjoy a good mystery. Because in the end that’s what drew me in and had me turning the pages to find the answers. I’m just not going to guarantee that you will be satisfied with the time travel resolution.