Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Time Slip Tuesday

Ormondroyd, Edward. Time at the Top. (2003)
This 40th anniversary edition tells the tale of Susan Shaw, who lives in an apartment building with her widowed father. When she goes missing, the whole complex is thrown into a tizzy, and it's not any better when a note appears in Susan's handwriting, telling her father not to worry, and that she will be home soon. After meeting and helping a strange old lady on the street, Susan has been able to travel from 1960 back to 1881, and has met a very nice family. Victoria and Robert are at first taken aback, but then intrigued that Susan was able to take the elevator in her building "to the top" and end up back in their time. They are very worried about their widowed mother, so when Susan reads, in the present day, about treasure being found not far from their house, the children look for it so the family will have no money problems. There is still the problem of both parents being widowed, and Susan has to decide whether living in the past with "swishy" dresses would be something that she would like.
Strengths: This observes my most important rule of time travel-- it doesn't work too hard, just asks you to believe. Is a little bit of a twist, since Susan spends more time in the past than many characters do. Definitely shows the 1950s affinity for the late 1900s.
Weaknesses: A bit dated, both in details of Susan's everyday life and in the writing style. It is criminal that the original Charles Geer illustrations were replaced in the 2003 reissue. Just not the same! His illustrations, as well as those of Joe and Beth Krush, are some of my very favorite!

Lorentz, Dayna. No Safety in Numbers.
ARC received from the publishers. (29 May 2012)
From the Publisher: "Life As We Knew It" meets "Lord of the Flies" in a mall that looks just like yours. A biological bomb has just been discovered in the air ducts of a busy suburban mall. At first nobody knows if it's even life threatening, but then the entire complex is quarantined, people start getting sick, supplies start running low, and there's no way out. Among the hundreds of trapped shoppers are four teens. These four different narrators, each with their own stories, must cope in unique, surprising styles, changing in ways they wouldn't have predicted, trying to find solace, safety, and escape at a time when the adults are behaving badly. This is a gripping look at people and how they can--and must--change under the most dire of circumstances. And not always for the better."
Well, who wouldn't want to read that? And since the author did the really good middle grade title The Storm: Dogs of the Drowned City, I had great hopes for this. However, a completely gratuitous f-bomb appears on page THREE. Young Adult does not mean Potty Mouth. I refuse to condone or financially support this type of writing. It just makes me feel sad and weary and old.

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