Goodreads: Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!
Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
First, a disclaimer. I think you should take into account all the things I love in this book are pretty much all the things everyone else hates and vice versa.
Let me start with: I LOVE Gwyneth's character! She reminds me a lot of the girls from Finding Cassie Crazy, and considering that is one of my favourite books of all time, it's a huge compliment. That being said, everyone else seems to hate that about her (I'm judging by Goodreads reviews), saying she acts like she's twelve. Ummm...when was the last time you spoke to a 16 year old/were 16 years old? Did YOU act like Katniss or Katsa when you were 16? I know I didn't! I was just as silly and chatty at 16 as Gwyneth is, and she IS 16. I think we are just saturated with YA heroines who act older than their age (I usually pretend they are at least 18, if not older since I have hard time thinking of them as younger partially because I am no longer that young, but also because they act WAY more mature than any 16 year old I've ever met). I'm in no way criticizing these heroines - they are perfect for their stories and I absolutely adore both heroines I named. I just think we shouldn't expect ALL our heroines to act that way. It's not like she has any sort of tortured background that would shape her to be anything OTHER than a normal 16 year old. I thought it was absolutely refreshing that she doesn't transform from a silly 16 year old to a mature badass as soon as she finds out she is a time traveler, especially since this book only spans a few days! I mean that would be ridiculous, people resist change, so no one is going to transform that quickly! It was really great that the book didn't solely focus on the time traveler part, so you get lots of time with her family and best friend as well as school life. I think she is likely going to start some character growth, but I love that it is being done gradually, and you are really being shown all aspects of her life. I also loved that she doesn't know what makes her special to the love interest or anyone else, but she doesn't go on and on about how undeserving she is like a lot of other characters in these situations do (pointed look at Everneath). Basically she reacts how I would imagine I would act: still the same person she was before, just very confused and determined to make the best of it.
On to other things I adore about this book - her best friend Lesley. Lesley might be even MORE hilarious than Gwyneth is, it's hard to tell because they are PERFECT together! And I love, LOVE so much that they are really best friends. They tell everything to each other, Lesley is excited for Gwyneth about finding out she's a time traveler when Gwyneth is scared, Lesley is great for great brainstorming and general hilarity. And as previously stated, they are REAL best friends, it's not one sided, so Gwyneth is constantly thinking of what Lesley would do, or trying to bring her back souvenirs from the past among other things. I just...this is easily one of my favourite friendships of all time. And again, their relationship is similar to that of the girls from Finding Cassie Crazy. This is easily my favourite part of the whole book.
And then there's Gideon. As soon I read the name Gideon, I knew it was him. I mean honestly with a name like Gideon who else could be the love interest? (And don't you think it's an awfully good name for a pet owl?) I really disliked Gideon. My bet is *SPOILERS* that he kissed her at the end because he's got some trick up his sleeve. Otherwise WTH? I mean they met in the span of what, two days? And all of a sudden he's after Gwyneth instead of Charlotte? Come on. Not realistic. *SPOILERS* He may be attractive, but he's arrogant, and not in an attractive way. And he seems like a really two dimensional character at the moment. I did like that Gwyneth was honest with herself about her feelings towards him. She may have wanted to dislike him (in my opinion for good reason), but she knew that she found him attractive and accepted it instead of trying to deny it. It was refreshing. I'll admit - I'm usually a total sucker for that. The romance in Pride & Prejudice is one of my favourites...but it was really well done. Too often I see authors try and spin out the hate/love for too long, even though it is SO CLEAR they know they are attracted and it's just dumb. So basically I hate Gideon and I'm pretty sure everyone else loves him, so again take my opinions with a grain of salt.
I feel like the book was too short, or the ending was abrupt, or both. I liked the time spent with Gwyneth, meeting her friends and family, and the laying the foundation for what I'm sure is going to become important later (seeing ghosts). At the same time I felt like Gwyneth was confused by the explanations and gave up trying to understand them too easily. I also think it is why I don't really understand what is going on. Honestly I feel like I didn't actually get a good grasp on what the mystery was just that there was one everyone kept talking about. I mean I get the gist of it - evil guy, some mystery behind the joining of all 12 people, etc. But I don't understand the how or why of anything. And I think that's what this book needed to make me fall in love. It was a great read, and I'm definitely reading the next book (which I hope will explain all my questions), but this book just didn't feel fleshed out enough. Since I've been blogging, I've realized that perhaps I pay an abnormal amount of interest to world building. It won't break a book for me, but it will absolutely make a book. So in short, yes I think you should read this book, but you need to have an open mind for a silly heroine rather than a gung-ho sword toting one. If you're cool with that, this is a really fun book!
Questions I have that you shouldn't read unless you've read the book because potential spoilers?
- What role does seeing ghosts play?
- Are Paul and Lucy her parents?
- What's the secret that happens when you get all 12 together?
- How much does her mother actually know? She had to have had the same reason as Paul and Lucy for not wanting her to see him
I am very intrigued to see how this is going to play out! I can't wait to get to the next book.