Once Was a Time
By Leila Sales
San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2016.
Grade 4 and Up 322 Pages
This is a great story of friendship, loyalty, and time travel. Lottie and Kitty are best friends during a tumultuous time in history; World War II. The German Nazi’s were desperate to win the war at all cost and they were looking for a secret weapon—they thought it was Lottie’s father. Mr. Bromley was a British scientist studying time travel and a great storyteller. He would keep Lottie and Kitty on their edge of their seats and filled their dreams with traveling back in time, always together, to make the world a place with no war. The Nazi’s kidnapped Bromley, Lottie and Kitty. They threatened to harm the girls in order to get him to spill the secret of finding a time travel portal. The men are ready to harm the girls when Lottie notices a portal and jumps in. Finding herself in the grass not in 1940 but 2013 and Kitty is nowhere to be found. A British girl, now in the United States, seventy-three years into the future and alone. Join Lottie and those along the way who helped her grow and understand that friendship is timeless.
Voyagers: Project Alpha
New York: Random House, 2015
Grade 5 and Up
So the trend started with 39 Clues, Spirit Animals and now the Voyagers Series. Short books in a series, each written by a different author—this one starts off with YA author MacHale. I met D.J. MacHale several years ago when he was promoting his first series of books called Pendragon—he was intense and driven both as author and TV producer. He was great with our middle school students.
If you love surprises and this book had plenty of them! It is kind of mix of Star Trek meets Jurassic Park. It starts off with the Earth running out of energy and going into 8 hours of blackout each day—no electricity, no cell service—a real energy crisis. So the government cuts the energy usage, while scientists believe that they have found an energy source but not on this planet.
So the scientists and government set up he Alpha Project Competition—where kids twelve and under compete to become part of the solution to the energy problem and become part of the four chosen for the Alpha Project.
The competition is fierce amongst the final 8 contestants. But there a few standouts, Dash a leader and a team player, Anna a fierce competitor who will win at all costs, then Gabriel, Carly, Piper, who was wheelchair bound, Niko, Ravi and Sienna. All worthy—but only four are chosen. The first half on the book deals with the competition and the second half with the mission and quest to save the world.
Buckle up for this first installment where there are ancient lands that dinosaurs roam and technology gadgets that will rock the earth!
Series Website: Voyagers
Check out the book trailer: Voyagers
The Here and Now
By Ann Brashares
New York: Delacorte, 2014.
Pages 242. Grades 8 and Up
It used to be if you said sci-fic it meant a “guy book” but over the last couple of years there have been some really great girl sci-fi novels and this one ranks at the top! Ann Brashares, author of the popular chic series, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, does not disappoint her female fans!
Prenna James has come to the USA with her mom and handful of other people but she is not coming from another country she is coming from another time—she comes from the USA but from the future. Traveling back in time allows seventeen year old Preena and her mother to escape the plague (spread by mosquitoes)—that is wiping out future generations. Ann Brashares hints at true events taking place in our world today—such as climate change; that is leading our country to sure future destruction unless some subtle changes can be made. This group of time travelers tries to blend in and the their “counselors” have stringent rules so that they do not change the course of history but when Prenna meets Ethan Jarves—she finds the rule about “no relationships” with anyone impossible. Can the two time periods really coexist without collisions if love is involved?
This is set in present day but you will love being introduced to future technology like iMemory, a camera and microphone that can be worn as an earring that records 24/7 and uploads it to cloud storage. The story blends the two time periods flawlessly—it is exciting, romantic a must read!