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Staff Picks: “Time Between Us” by Tamara Ireland Stone

Since I read A Wrinkle in Time, I have been fascinated with time travel. Whether it involved going back into the past or light-years into the future I was always intrigued by these kind of stories. Though I have never been much of a science nerd, I blazed through Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, especially the chapter on wormholes and time travel.

But at the end of the day, what really draws me into a book is the love story, so I was interested to read Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone. As long as readers have no expectation of receiving any kind of explanation of how or why Bennett can time travel, they’ll likely find this an enjoyable romance. Anna is a likable character. She’s sweet, but not too sweet. Bennett is cute and fun and a bit mysterious, even though he’s not some super-hunky guy. Both characters seem realistic, and attracted to each other in a believable way that your average teen can relate to. Parents are so often absent in YA fiction, I loved seeing Anna’s parents portrayed as normal people. Anna has an average family and an average life, until the very un-average Bennett makes his appearance.

Filled with sufficient angst, the romance is really the heart of this story. As readers slowly come to understand why Bennett has tried to keep Anna at arm’s length, and why she is so drawn to him, it’s hard not to fall in love right along with them. Though Anna accepts his ability, she doesn’t accept him using it to change her life without her knowledge, though she does insist he use it to prevent her friends’ car accident, and ultimately change the course of their relationship.

Explanation of how the whole time travel business works is slim. The rules are very simple, and don’t seem sufficient to keep the world from imploding. All Bennett knows is that he shouldn’t go back in time to before he was born, and he shouldn’t ever show up in the same place he was in the past. There’s no discussion of creating alternate time lines or really many consequences to their little and big “do-overs.” What there is a lot of is indulgent, fun trips to exotic locales. This book doesn’t prompt much thinking, but it does manage to make the reader feel. Stone’s prose is light and engrossing and fun to read.

I wouldn’t recommend this to those who favor hard science fiction, but for those looking for a unique young adult romance that’s heavy on the sweetness, this is a perfect fit.

– Molly, YA

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