Cover Image: A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity

A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity

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Member Reviews

I received a copy of this title on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This was a fun read and I think fans of fantasy will enjoy it. I am giving this title 2.5 stars!

Two things I really enjoyed about this book:
1. The author's writing style
2. The overall concept of the story

That being said, I couldn't bring myself to give this title a higher rating. Although this was a fun, cute story, I don't think I was the right audience for this book. The overall concept of the story is great (who doesn't love time travel?) but I wasn't a fan of the story's execution. My interest in the story tapered off towards the end. Additionally, I was unable to relate to the characters. I realize that I am quite a bit older than the author's intended audience! I think young readers will really enjoy this book. I especially recommend this book to fans of Robert Cormier's works.

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Of all the middle grade books I’ve read lately, I think this is one of the best.

Time travel, mystery, great writing... but it also has such a lot of heart. Finn is such an excellent protagonist, with his doubts and insecurities and his loyalty and love.

While I felt like the pacing sometimes got bogged down, the cool worldbuilding and the great character relationships more than made up for it.

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This was a fast-moving adventure that grabs you and doesn't let go. Definitely an intricate plot with several twists and turns ..... you'll need to keep your brain awake to keep up with it. I enjoyed the sweet and philosophical conclusion the most, though.

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Received from NetGalley
Completed 8/21/19
352 page ebook

This book was soooooo cute. I love time travel books, so I was really interested in it when it came up in NetGally. I enjoy engaging Middle Grade books, which this was.

Finn was a great character, very likable from start. The time travel was interesting and unique, not a method seen a lot, which was nice. The book was predictable but maybe not so much for the intended audience. Still, great characters and a cute story made this a great book to read.

Setting = A
Plot = A
Conflict = B+
Characters = A
Theme = A

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A fun, mind-bending time-travel story about a boy who discovers his mother and extended family are time travelers. Reminiscent of A Wrinkle in Time, Finn is a twelve-year old who must try to save his mother, who is lost in time, and reverse or change the fate of his twin sister. In the course of doing so, he learns about love, friendship, loss, and fate.

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What if you could inherit the ability to time travel?

Finn’s mother is gone again. He’s not surprised. She hasn’t been herself since his twin sister died. When his grandmother tells him a secret: the women in their family can time travel, he wonders if his mother is stuck in time somewhere. Only females inherit the ability to time travel but determined to find her he follows the clues she left. He discovers time travel is like making wishes. He must be careful what he wishes for. He might get it.

With plenty of science and a clever fast-paced plot, this will get readers thinking about how their choices determine their future. It is a promising series opener.

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I loved this book that was a combo of quantum mechanics/time travel and magic. When I requested it, I was under the impression that it would be a middle school level book and therefore the plot would be fairly simplistic. But I found it to be very well written and crafted and I loved the main character as he slowly grew in understanding of his own role, not just in the world/town but also in his family. He was born a twin and always thought of himself as a "remainder" after his sister died when they were 3. This story had adventure, science fiction, fantasy and elements of secret societies plus a lot of love. I really enjoyed this book and hope that the author will write more books in the future.

Thanks to #NetGalley, #NicoleValentine, and #LernerPublishing for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Finn discovers he has been into a family of time travelers; however, the gift (or is a curse?) manifests only in the women. With the death of his twin sister when they were toddlers, it seems the family power has come to the end of the line. But, one stormy night (not the only detail that feels too reminiscent of A WRINKLE IN TIME), Finn is told my his grandmother, actually two versions of her from different timelines, that it is up to him to find his mother who has become lost in time. While Finn is an engaging character, the story relies too much in stilted dialog and not enough in action.

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This is one of those books that hurts my brain, but in a good way. Any time I read a book that involves time travel my brain starts to hurt. I did enjoy this book. There are a lot of good themes here, for example, treating people kindly makes a huge impact whether you see it immediately or not. Looking forward to seeing what else this author comes up with.

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I really enjoyed this book, especially since the main character was a science and math nerd, and the story even touched on basic explanations of quantum physics and such. There were a couple of twists I didn't see coming (maybe I would have if I'd been looking for them, but they weren't painfully obvious as I just sat back and enjoyed the story), and the themes of whether redemption is possible, dealing with death and grief, and trust and love, were handled very well for the age level. And while the summary mentions 'magic', I liked that the unexplained abilities felt more like 'science that hasn't been figured out yet' than anything else.

I did feel like the ending was either too long or too short--I was expecting more action at the end since there was still so much story left--but since everything that needed to be was wrapped up, it still felt mostly satisfying.

This story does have some violence and fighting, as well as emotional tension, and also deals with divorce and separation (somewhat briefly) and death and grief (throughout the whole book). I think it might be difficult for very young/sensitive readers because of those topics, but in general, seems appropriate for most middle grade children as intended.

Thanks to NetGalley for a chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Thank you NetGalley and Publishers for granting me early access to "Watches And Warnings".

I'm currently in the middle of a major move, but I definitely will come back at a later time and write out a full review and rating. Thank you so much!

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Time travel is really hard to write well, and Nicole Valentine smashes it out of the park in A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity. There's a sometimes creepy sense of longing throughout, which is capped with a tentative hopefulness that saves the novel from being something akin to a horror story. Older readers might find it interesting fodder for discussions about morality, choice, and the capacity for change.

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Perfect for sci-fi fans of Doctor Who and X-Men, this novel explores themes of family, friendship, and love while providing an engaging and fast-paced plot. It keeps the reader guessing right until the end. I appreciated the discussion questions at the end of the book, particularly given the theme of familial death which might be a sensitive subject for some readers.

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This time travel adventure manages to tickle the head with its intricacy and the inspire the heart with its focus on a particular family and a particular boy, Finn. When Finn is shipped off to his grandmother's, he doesn't even get in the door before his mission begins. With the help of a best friend and his own faithful heart, he sets out to find one missing person and ultimately save another. Suspense will keep readers turning the pages, and the final scene affirms all that's best within us.

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★ ★ ★ 1/2 (rounded up)
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
Finn Firth is on the verge of turning 13, and is convinced his father will forget his birthday. Which is troubling to him, but really, it's the least of his troubles. When they were three, his twin sister drowned (and he's always felt this absence, and is sure everyone around him does, too). He's not that close with his father, and his mother left home a few months ago, with no warning and no one has heard from her since. Also, his best (only?) friend, Gabi, has been spending less time with him and more time with new friends—the kind that would bully him. He's also a huge science nerd, the kind of twelve-year-old who reads (and re-reads) Richard Feynman and Carl Sagan for entertainment. The fact that he's an outsider, that he's not like the other kids at school is what drives him (like so many) to science, to something he can make sense of and put himself/his trouble in perspective.

So imagine his surprise when his grandmother informs him that she's a time traveler, actually, all the women in his family have been and are. It's not just his family, there are people throughout the world capable of this. Some in his family are more powerful than others, most can only travel to the past—one could only travel to the past but during her lifetime—his grandmother and mother are among the few that can travel forward in time. His mother, he's told, didn't leave his father and him. Finn's dad has been reassuring him that "she just needs some time," and well, that seems to be the case after all. She's stuck somewhere, unable to come back—but she's created a way for Finn to come and get her (despite being a boy).

Time travel is impossible, Finn knows—and even if it weren't, the kind of travel his grandmother describes sounds more magical than scientific. He tells his grandmother this, in fact. But—I won't get into how, it should be read in context—he's given some pretty convincing proof.

Now there are those who don't think Finn should be doing anything regarding time travel, and that no one should be tracking down his mother. And they're seemingly willing to take some extreme measures to stop him. He and Gabi set out on an adventure to evade these others and get to his mother's portal. Finn's ill-prepared for what lies ahead, but he doesn't care. Between brains and sheer determination (and largely it's the latter), he's going to find his mom.

What he never stops to ask is: what else will he find?

This is a fun little read—Finn and Gabi are well-developed characters, his various family members are interestingly and distinctively drawn, the writing is crisp and brisk—once things get going, they stay going, and it's easy to get swept up in it The best is the mix of science and . . . however you end up describing the time travel. For a book directed toward the 9-14 set, the science (time travel, chaos theory, multi-world theory, etc.) is presented plainly and without condescension. That last point, in particular, resonated with me.

The heart of this book is found in two concepts—the power of individual choice, and the importance of kindness in spite of everything. Lessons good to be absorbed by the target audience, as well as the rest of us.

I really enjoyed this book and heartily recommend it. One thing, though, kept running through my mind as I read it. As much as I enjoyed A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity, when I was 8-13, I would've loved it (probably when I was 14 and 15, too—I just wouldn't admit to liking a book written for younger people at that time). It's the kind of book that I would've been checking out of the library every two or three months. Get this for yourself and enjoy it, get this for your kid for them to obsess over.

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Carolrhoda Books via NetGalley in exchange for this post—thanks to both for this opportunity.

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Finn's twin sister drowned when they were toddlers. Life is never the same after that, but things get infinitely worse when his mother disappears several years later following many arguments with his father. Finn's afraid she left their family for good. When his grandmother reveals some of his family's time traveling secrets to Finn and charges him with a mission to save and bring back his mother, Finn needs to reevaluate his scientific outlook on life and discover for himself some secrets of time travel that he'll need to save his friends and family.

This was a fascinating book and wonderful journey. Finn changes a lot throughout the book, going from surly teen to the young man he becomes at the end of his journey. The time traveling concepts were well thought out, although I'm still trying to wrap my mind around a few ideas.

There were some great plot twists and heartwarming friendships. I really enjoyed the journey through this book.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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First sentence from the prologue: We lie to ourselves when necessary. Some of us are more convincing than others. My family has always been particularly good at it.

First sentence from chapter one: Finnegan Firth slid out of his bedroom window and padded on bare feet across the cold slate patio.

Premise/plot: Finn, our hero, believes that science holds the answers to everything. But he's forced to question and re-question everything he believes to be true after his grandmother's death. For the night she died, she revealed a huge family secret. The women in their family are travelers. Most have only ever been able to travel to the PAST. But in recent generations--notably his mother and grandmother--they have been able to travel to the future. (In fact the Grandma revealing the HUGE secret is not the Grandma from his time line. That Grandma is lying dead in bed as they speak.) She wants him to try to time travel via a portal that his mom created in order to help save his family from their current crisis. But does Finn have enough faith? Perhaps even enough faith to save FAITH? Who is Faith? Faith is his twin sister who disappeared--believed drowned--when they were three. Her body was never found. What would a great, noble, oh-so-dangerous quest be without a best friend? Finn's best friend is Gabi.

My thoughts: I loved, loved, LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one. It was super-compelling and packed with action and intrigue. You should know that I tend to LOVE time travel stories. I do. I always have. I think my first exposure to time travel came via Star Trek and Star Trek the Next Generation. I have never really stopped being intrigued and fascinated by the concept of traveling to the past or the future.

I enjoyed the dual narrators. The second narrator--the one of the prologue--is super-spooky. Her voice is a haunting one. I wouldn't say it kept me reading--Finn's voice alone probably would have achieved the same thing--but it added a certain darkness or richness to the text overall.

“I don’t want to hear any ancient stories, Gran. I want to hear about now.” She studied him for a moment, her eyes narrowed. “Everything is now, dear boy. And make no mistake, things that happened before you were born have everything to do with who you are and what you do. So much of our lives are built on what happened before we even arrived. The past is never dead. It’s not even past. Faulkner said that.”

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Definitely one to recommend to my students who love the idea of time travel, this book investigates multiple timelines and multiple universes. For older kids who like Fringe, they will enjoy this book. Younger kids may find it difficult to follow at times. The ending seemed a bit contrived and rushed as the author worked to close up loose ends.

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