Series: Time Between Us #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion on 2012-10-09
Genres: Love & Romance, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Young Adult
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Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.
As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.
I really, really enjoyed this book. We follow Anna, who lives in Chicago in the year 1995, and her normal teenage life. She runs track and practices every morning. One day she notices a guy watching her from the stands. She thinks from his expression that he somehow knows her. But when she risks another glance in his direction, he’s gone. Disappeared. He left no tracks in the snow to or from his spot on the bleachers. Anna freaks out a bit. But after a car ride to school with her best friend and talk about the new guy in school, she’s moved on. Until she sees him. The new guy and the bleachers guy is the same. Thus we meet Bennett, who lives in San Francisco in 2012. Anna and Bennett’s lives continue to cross paths and their bond grows. Bennett shares his secrets with Anna slowly and she learns to accept them. But something bad happened that brought Bennett to where Anna lives and he must find a way to fix it. How much time do they have? Neither Anna nor Bennett know. But at some point, events from the past and the future will force them to confront the time between them. (Is that too much?)
As for the time travel aspect, I think some people may be put off by the brief explanation for Bennett’s time travel, but it didn’t bother me. There are always lots of questions that arise in time travel books, timelines that must be lined up, multiple selves existing in the same time, etc. But if you’re able to suspend belief for a short time, since it is fiction and all, I think this book is very enjoyable and quite successful as a time travel book. As for the romance aspect, it was adorable, emotional, and heart-breaking. Just like with The Time Traveler’s Wife, thinking about falling completely in love with someone only to know they can’t stick around is enough to pull your heart right out of your chest. So it was definitely emotional, but View Spoiler » « Hide Spoiler this one does have a happy ending.
My Likes: I love YA contemporary romances and I’ve got a thing for time travel books and this covered both of those. I was nervous going into it because you never know how an author will explain how their character can time travel and their explanations can really make or break those books. I was happy with the explanation here, though fans of science-fiction or people who like detailed explanations might be wanting for more. I think fiction is fiction and anything can happen. So while there isn’t a lot of science that goes into why Bennett can travel through time, there is enough of an explanation for me.
I also loved reading about the ‘butterfly effect’ and Bennett’s rules for traveling. One of the reasons I like time travel books is because they offer so much to think about and consider. We’re always moving forward and everybody’s actions cause other actions to occur. If you could go back and change one tiny thing from the past, perhaps if you hadn’t had to spend so much time searching for your car keys in the morning, how much would that affect the rest of the day’s events and other people’s lives? I loved how much this book put into those thoughts and what Bennett had to say about them.
My Dislikes: The main characters weren’t always my favorite. I wanted a bit more backbone from Bennett at times. I wish he would have stood up for the rules he had made and not messed around with time so much, not just in regards to Anna and what she wanted, but also with his dad and sister. I also wanted Anna to have been a little bit less selfish at times. I wish she had understood that everything didn’t always revolve around her and what she wanted. I wish she hadn’t put Bennett in such a bad spot. I hope her desire to be with Bennett has more to do with him and less with his ability to finally help her travel the world.
Lastly, I wish there had been more of a wrap-up of their problems. Both with the problem that Bennett had to fix and the issue of the time that separated them. I know most of the story is about their romance and the progression of their relationship, and I’m definitely okay with that. But if you’re going to bring in problems that need to be solved and issues to be dealt with, then there should be enough time left to solve and wrap them up without rushing it.
Overall Feelings: I really enjoyed this book. I couldn’t put it down once I started it. I wanted to know what was happening with Bennett’s random appearances, I needed answers to the questions that were raised about the past events, and I wanted to know how they were going to deal with the fact that Bennett didn’t belong where Anna was. I enjoyed reading about Bennett’s time traveling and thinking about the ‘butterfly effect’. The book touched on a few changes that Bennett makes and how they change people’s futures, both the good and bad. While Bennett and Anna weren’t always my favorite characters, I did like Emma (Anna’s best friend) and Maggie (Bennett’s grandma) a bunch. I do wish the resolution hadn’t felt quite so rushed. But overall I still really enjoyed this book. And I wonder, with regards to the butterfly effect, if the aspects of the book I didn’t like so much were changed, how would that affect how much I ended up enjoying the book? Would there be more of a negative affect than a positive? In the end, I don’t think I’d actually change anything about the book because I really did enjoy it. The romance is fun but equally emotional, the time travel is interesting and thought-provoking, and the ending is happy. I give Time Between Us four stars.