Tuesday, August 03, 2021

The THIRD book in several series

While I try to read all of the fiction books before I buy them, when the series is a hit, I might buy a book before reading it, then snag it from the order before the students get to it.  An order came in at the end of June, so I read the following. 

Lerangis, Peter. Out of Time (Throwback #3)
March 23rd 2021 by HarperCollins
Library copy

After Throwback and The Chaos Loop, Corey has transpeciated and is now a wolf, even though he hasn't traveled in time quite as much as other Knickerbockers who have transformed, and he is a Throwback, someone who can change history. This has had limited success in the past, and things are not working out well right now! Leila is very concerned, and manages to track Corey down at his Papou's house in the current timeline. Sure enough, Wolf Corey is there, but in the current timeline, he has remarried after the death of his wife in 9/11, and Corey has not been born. Instead, he has a grandson named Gregory who died when he was young. Leila has managed to come across Bee, another Knickbocker, who is helping her out. They visit the old headquarters, which is hidden in Central Park by Frederick Law Olmstead, the park designer. At the time, the Federal government was secretly studying time travel! Leila is not sure if she is a Throwback, and the Knickerbockers start to study her, but she knows that it is up to her to save Corey. This involves traveling back to World War II Germany to see if she can indeed affect history. I don't want to spoil the ending of this delightfully brain-bending series, but it is a happy one!
Strengths: I really liked the concept of Trackers, people who can understand and remember more than one time line at once. This is why Leila can remember Corey even though he didn't exist, and Flora and Smig don't remember him. Papou is still my favorite character, and while we don't see quite as much of him, the glimpses into his alternative timelines is interesting. Leila is the real hero in this one, since Corey is stuck as a wolf. There are just lots of clever twists, but I can't really explain them without ruining them. This is a tight, cohesive, time travel series that a really great purchase for a middle school library. The books are all a good length, include some fun history, and move quickly. This was a worthy ending. 
Weaknesses: I could have done without the details of Wolf Corey needing to fart and eat squirrels. Middle grade readers will enjoy that a lot more. 
What I really think: The best time travel books are enjoyed when one just takes a deep breath and tries not to think too hard about where certain objects come from. This was that kind of mind-bending time travel. Bonus points for the cover being the red that I had predicted. 

Bell, Jennifer. The Deadly Omens (The Uncommoners #3)
January 28th 2020 by Crown Books for Young Readers
Library Copy

I adored the first book in this series, so it would have been hard for anything to live up to that first book. It's a great book to hand to readers who zipped through Black and Clare's Magisterium series or Hannibal's The Lost Property Office. Weirdly sad that they changed the fabulous British covers and slightly odd titles. This was originally called The Frozen Telescope. (The second book was published as The Smoking Hourglass in the UK, and as The Shadows of Doom in the US. Boo.)

Quinn, Spencer. Bark vs. Snark (Queenie and Arthur #3)
Published October 6th 2020 by Scholastic Press
Library Copy

I enjoyed Ruff vs. Fluff and Paws vs. Claws, especially since the first one was a murder mystery. As I've said many time, my students are a weirdly blood thirsty lot, and always want more murder mysteries. There were a few years where dog books saw a bit of a resurgence, and these, with their alternating cat and dog viewpoints, were a hit with that crowd. This volume goes back to the traditional "someone is stealing pets for nefarious purposes" trope, which is less popular with my students. I did enjoy Arthur's competition with a bacon soaked Frisbee, and Queenie gets to be the hero of her own story as well as fabulous, but I'm not as big a fan of books from animals' perspectives. There's some family issues going on that would add a lot to Bro and Harmony's story if they weren't filtered through the pets' perspectives. This doesn't seem like the last book in the series, so there may be another one coming. The Bowser and Birdie series is just three books, so I was thinking this might be the last. Did not know that this author also has an adult series, Chet and Bernie, that is 12 books long.

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