I don’t know where I was when the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series was super-popular, but I totally missed out on it. I’m pretty sure I watched the movie on TV at some point and thought it was pretty okay. But I really had no interest in reading the series now or really reading anything else by Brasheres because, well, apathy and other things to read.
But then I saw this book come up in the galley queue and I was like, wait, did you say time-travel? SOLD. Oh, and it’s a YA book with a little YA love story? Okay, sure. Time travel!
It’s a weakness.
Anyway, I picked this up and I read it as fast as a girl reading only on work breaks can read and spoiler, it was delightful.
The conceit of the story is that there is a group of time travellers from the future (of course) who were living in a crappy climate-changed world full of a new plague until they came back to our present day to… fix things? I don’t know, that part is kind of unclear. But the point is, they come back in time and attempt to assimilate themselves into society, and our protagonist, Prenna, is doing okay except she’s totally crushing on a present-day hottie and he’s totally crushing on her but there are rules and regulations and also common sense that say that this is a terrible idea.
As if that’s not enough, the leaders of the time travelling group are doing shady things like sending people to farms upstate (slash boarding schools Back East) and Prenna is not okay with this, and also her hottie, Ethan, has been hanging out with a weird homeless guy who seems to know more about Prenna and her people than he should.
And then there’s a road trip. Does Brasheres secretly live inside my head? It’s the only explanation.
So the story’s solid and I’m all in with that, but also the characters are really well done. Prenna and Ethan are perfectly awkward teenagers, in that space between old enough to go off and do whatever they want and young enough to have to be home by curfew, and the consequences of their actions are, well, as realistic as they can be with the whole time-travelling thing.
The big downside, as I mentioned before, is that the backstory is more than a bit lacking. We know that the future people came back but not really why — one of their big rules is about not interfering with the timeline, which, I mean, too late for that and also what exactly is the point, then? The leaders are big and bad but it’s unclear why they get to be big and bad, since we spend most of our time with Prenna and Ethan rather than Prenna and her people. But really it’s not super important to the story and so I can see how, if I were Brasheres, I’d just put in the basics and let the characters do their thing.
But a big upside is how the story ends, which is very interesting and very story-realistic and it’s weird to give a novel bonus points for making sense, but I’ve read a few novels in my day and this totally earns those bonus points.
Recommendation: A+++, would read again. For suckers for time travel and possibly suckers for Ann Brasheres?