The Low Down: Anna Greene and Bennett Cooper have met under the strangest of circumstances. It’s 1995, and on her morning run at a nearby track, Anna sees someone in the stands. Watching her. He smiles at her like he knows her. When she looks back, he’s gone. Along with his footprints that should have been in the snow. Her best friend, Emma, tells her on the way to school that a new boy, a boy from California, no less, is starting at their private school. Once she arrives, she starts to tell Emma about her weird sighting at the track, but doesn’t get the chance. Then she sees the new boy, and she knows, without a doubt, that it’s the same person.
Bennett is assigned to her Spanish class. The weird thing is, when Anna smiles at him, his returns one that means “Hi, but I don’t know you.” Most unlike the smile he gave her at the track before school. At lunch, Anna tells Emma and her friend Danielle about what happened that morning. As they observe Bennett in the lunchroom, Emma and Danielle decide to drag Bennett over to their table and ask why he was watching Anna at the track this morning. Once they determine that he’s never seen Anna before, she introduces herself. That’s when he acts weird. Like he’s heard her name before.
As the day goes on, Bennett is sometimes very sweet and acts interested. Then he completely ignores her. Then he saves her at her parent’s bookstore when it is being robbed. Then he’s not there at school at all. What is the deal with Bennett Cooper? When she finally confronts him at home, after he’s been out of school for a week, he looks horrible; tired, pale, gaunt. What is going on?
Then Bennett tells her the most amazing story of travel. He can go anywhere he wants to go. He can think it, and he’s there. He can even take someone with him. What’s more, he can travel to any time during his lifetime, which is the reason he’s there in Chicago in 1995 when he’s from San Francisco, 2012. He’s looking for his sister who got left behind while they were trying to get to a 1994 Pearl Jam concert that took place close to the time Bennett was born. Bennett is in 1995 trying to find his sister since he can’t get back to 1994.
He wasn’t going to get involved with anyone in 1995, but then he met Anna. He knows something that he’s not sharing about their relationship. And when he suddenly disappears, will Anna never see him again?
Best Thang ‘Bout It: This is a great story where one of the themes asks whether you should stop dreaming and start living. Don’t wait around for something to happen; be your own catalyst. I love books about time travel. It’s magical without being magic; everything else can be normal life. The story brought up the point of if you know something bad is going to happen, is it OK to try to go back and change it? Anna learns a good lesson about that. The characters are very likeable and the secondary characters, which oftentimes are two-dimensional, are complete and vivid as well (though I would have liked a little more time with them). I love the wrestling over whether time travel should or shouldn’t be done.
I’m Cranky Because: The ending wasn’t completely clear to me. I won’t give anything away, but either I just didn’t get it or it was too neatly tied up – kind of like, was that it Did I miss something? Of course you want them to end up together, but how is that possible when Bennett is really seventeen years younger than Anna and they live in two different eras? Would you either want to miss out on seventeen years of your life, including being younger than your friends, leaving your parents? Or, the other way, would you want to relive seventeen years of your life? I guess you’d know not to be in NYC on 9/11 or to get your money out of the stock market before 2008.
Should You?: Yes. I thought the love story was very sweet, and the travel bits fascinating. There was a good amount of depth and thoughtfulness, too. If I could, I’d go back in time and read it again for the first time.
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone was published on October 9, 2012 by Hyperion Book CH.
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction Romance
Ages: 12 and up