I REALLY wanted to like this book. It had a lot of elements that I’d usually enjoy — time travel, the 1910s era, a bit of mystery… but there were a couple of things that really ruined it for me.
– The voice that the author used drove me a little crazy. The descriptions were too detailed (do we really need to know what every single character was wearing?); the dialogue sounded scripted; and there were so many references to specific brands I started to wonder if the book had corporate sponsorship (iPod, Abercrombie, Tiffany & Co, etc)
– The cliches… oh my goodness the cliches! We have the perfect BFFs who have sleepovers and matching Halloween costumes; the perfect single mom who’s more like a best friend; the wealthy aristocrat grandparents who are old-fashioned and don’t understand; and the perfect, sapphire-blue-eyed gentleman who of course falls in love at first sight with the protagonist… not to mention the snotty private-school clique, the privileged early 1900s debutante, the rebellious 20s flapper, and the not-rich-or-popular-but-nice new best friend.
– The ending *would* have been fine, if the author wouldn’t have included the last page or so. At that point, she throws in an extra twist that necessitates a sequel and leaves the reader going “huh?” and not necessarily in a good way.
– The people she visits in the past are all her ancestors, but the family tree gets kind of complicated and hard to follow, especially since there are so many minor characters that don’t really play much of a role.
Other gripes (may contain some spoilers) –
– When she time travels, only one (or sometimes two) people can actually see her. The explanation? Well, apparently Time has decided that they need to make a connection.
– Michele and Philip fall in love at first sight, and after the first dance together, he decides to completely change his plan for his life based on him being madly in love with her, a girl that no one else can even see.
– There are a few particular passages in which the author really needs to learn how to use pronouns. If Michele looks in a mirror and sees a girl that looks like Michele with Michele’s face and Michele’s hair and if then Michele looks at her own hand because she feels someone holding Michele’s hand then maybe Michele should learn to use the words “she,” “her,” and “hers.” This alone made me feel like ditching the book after the first page.
– Michele’s dreams tell the future. Or past. Or something.
– Michele tells the people she meets in the past that she’s a ghost who has been sent to help them, and then they give her “side missions” (for lack of a better term) to complete. One of these ridiculous requests is to help her great-grandmother sneak out of the house to get to a singing audition. How does she do this? “Tell them you’re going to stay overnight with a friend and then tell that friend so that if they call to check, she can cover for you.” Really. Not only is this a really lame thing to ask, it’s an even lamer solution, but I guess it progressed the story line?
– Time always brings her exactly where she needs to go to find answers. Need to know why George adopted Clara? Here, Time will bring you to the moment where George and Clara’s mother are confessing their love for one another. Need to know what happened to your father? Here, Time will take you to his funeral.
– It takes Michele the entire book to realize that her father is a time traveler, too. DESPITE the fact that the key which allows her to time travel WAS HIS TO BEGIN WITH, and the fact that there happens to be a man in the past with his SAME NAME (only with the first and last names switched).
– Michele relies way too much on Google. And obviously is doing something wrong, because she never gets any answers from it. She finds out that he didn’t marry his fiancee by lying to her grandparents about a school research project; and she finds out when he dies on a school field trip to his family’s summer home. Right, you’re dating a famous guy from the past and those are your best sources of information??
Overall, I was kind of confused by this book. It seemed to go from a time travel romance novel in the first half (such as the Caroline Cooney “Both Sides of Time” series) but then the focus shifted to Michele traveling to other eras and although she did it to help Philip, he was kind of put on the back burner for the rest of the novel and it kind of lost its romance-novel feel, which I guess I didn’t mind so much, since I found the “romance” aspect of this one really incredibly cheesy and unrealistic.