Welcome to another edition of MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY and my review of a new fantasy novel.
BACKGROUND for A TIME TRAVELER’S THEORY OF RELATIVITY by Nicole ValentineTwelve-year-old Finn is used to people in his family disappearing. His twin sister, Faith, drowned when they were three years old. A few months ago, his mom abandoned him and his dad with no explanation. Finn clings to the concrete facts in his physics books―and to his best friend, Gabi―to ward off his sadness. But then his grandmother tells him a secret: the women in their family are Travelers, able to move back and forth in time. Finn’s mom is trapped somewhere in the timeline, and she’s left Finn a portal to find her. But to succeed, he’ll have to put his trust in something bigger than logic.
Publisher’s Release Date: Oct. 1, 2019 PAGES: 352
MY THOUGHTS: The two MG books I had read previous to this one were lighthearted plots—predictable and not very challenging for the adult reader. But they were perfect for any new MG reader.
The exact opposite occurred while turning the pages of A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity. I needed full concentration to figure out everything going on here. There are portals, nodes, parallel worlds, and no real traditional ending. You’re left to ponder time travel and how it will impact Finn and Gabi’s future.
But the character’s won me over. Both Finn and Gabi are a couple of great kids who approach life differently. Finn takes a science approach while Gabi is more likely to say science can’t prove magic doesn’t exist. Other family members also enrich the premise of time travel and their relationship with Finn. There’s the Grandmother who cares deeply about Finn and often presents herself in two time periods. His mom who is desperately trying to save her child. It was the Dad’s attitude toward his son that bothered me at first, but he comes around.
Overall, my head hurt just a bit after reading this one, but it was a good kind of hurt. One that made me appreciate how the love for family and friendship is the most powerful magic of all.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT:
A TIME TRAVELER’S THEORY OF RELATIVITY
- The third person narration stays close to Finn 95% of the way, but a first person narrator puts her own slant on the preceding between several scenes. It’s creepy at first but rather heartwarming with the final words she uses to end the story.
- The bond between twins is given the most compelling set of twists and turns I’ve ever read in a book with twin characters. Great plot structure and character arc here.
- A unique and welcome addition to time travel themed books. Fans of science, Einstein, and magic will polish this off in one sitting.
- The question of who we are to friends and family will resonate long after reading.
- Compelling and hopeful, this one will be best for the established MG reader
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nicole Valentine (https://www.nicolevalentinebooks.com/) earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches writing workshops at the Highlights Foundation in Honesdale, PA. As the former chief technology officer at Figment.com and Space.com, Nicole loves science and as a writer enjoys pondering the times when science falls short of explanation and magic has room to sneak in. When not engaged in fictional world-building, Nicole can often be found with a hawk on her arm. A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity is her debut novel. She lives in Pennsylvania with her family.
An advanced copy was provided in exchange for my honest review. If you have time, please comment below.
There is still time to enter the huge giveaway offered here last Wednesday for Explorer Academy: The Double Helix Book Blast. Read my post and find out how to enter.