Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Timeslip Tuesday- Time After Time

Mlynowski, Sarah and  Soontornvat, Christina. 
Time After Time (Best Wishes #3 )
November 7, 2023 by Scholastic 
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

While Becca in Best Wishes wanted everyone to be her friend, and Addie in The Sister Switch wanted to not be the middle sister, Lucy has a different wish when the magical bracelet arrives at her house in Texas. She's happy with her life, which includes a mother who has remarried and has twins, and her father, who works at the local natural history museum. She loves that it's quieter at her father's house, and the two get along really well. When there is a fifth grade field trip to the museum, however, the day goes badly wrong. A classmate throws up blueberry yogurt on Lucy's brand new shoes, her friend Olive seems mad at her, the assigned scavenger hunt doesn't go well, and to cap things off, her father proposes to Ms. Brock, her school librarian! Appalled by this, Lucy runs away from the museum, gets picked up by the police, and finally contacts Addie and Becca about her wish. She decides to wish for the perfect day, which ends up sending her into a time loop. Like with any time loop, it's difficult to get things right, and Lucy has to live her day several time before she figures out what would really make the day "perfect". Eventually, she figures out how to avoid the vomit (and this is a real threat in schools; in 1973 my entire second grade class came down with the chicken pox, an event which snowballed after Robbie Pease threw his spaghetti lunch up down my back while waiting in line to go back to the classroom), learn to listen to Olive, make peace with her father's relationship with Ms. Brock, and avoid the shadowy figure of Eloise, who is still tracking the bracelet. Where will the magic head next? (And what author will pen the story?)
Strengths: Lucy likes her life, even though she has younger siblings and has to go between homes, and that is such a refreshing take on a character. I have to deal with enough actual children who are negative that I don't need to read about them, too. The field trip is realistic, and it's fun that Lucy's dad works at the museum. His relationship with Ms. Brock makes sense as well; they met when he worked at a book fair! Lucy thinks that Ms. Brock doesn't like her because she seems to be "meaner" to her than to other kids, which makes absolute sense if Ms. Brock is trying not to show favoritism. The interactions between Lucy and Olive were great, and I would not have minded seeing more about that. There's the ongoing mystery of Eloise, and it's amusing to see Beeca and Addie show up as well. While this might seem a little young for middle school (Lucy is in fifth grade), I have a large number of girls who read this series and Mlynowski's Whatever After books even in 8th grade, so I'll definitely purchase this. 
Weaknesses: It seemed somewhat out of character for Lucy to be upset about Ms. Brock, but it was an important part of the story and her acceptance showed growth. Maybe Lucy should have been more unlikeable at the beginning, but that's not usually something I ever recommend. I know it's not the done thing to want characters to be nice and engaging, but I still prefer it, and Lucy seemed like a great kid from the very beginning! 
What I really think: I can't wait to see how this series continues, and love that there is a mini trend in time loop stories, including Cirrone's 2016 The First Last Day, Bearce's 2020 Paris on Repeat, Thayer's 2021 The Double Life of Danny Day, Moses and Gangi's 2021  Kingston and Echoes of Magic Ormsbee's 2023  Vivian Vance's Second Chances

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