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Once Was a Time
     

Once Was a Time

by Leila Sales
 

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In the war-ravaged England of 1940, Charlotte Bromley is sure of only one thing: Kitty McLaughlin is her best friend in the whole world. But when Charlotte's scientist father makes an astonishing discovery that the Germans will covet for themselves, Charlotte is faced with an impossible choice between danger and safety. Should she remain with her friend or

Overview

In the war-ravaged England of 1940, Charlotte Bromley is sure of only one thing: Kitty McLaughlin is her best friend in the whole world. But when Charlotte's scientist father makes an astonishing discovery that the Germans will covet for themselves, Charlotte is faced with an impossible choice between danger and safety. Should she remain with her friend or journey to another time and place? Her split-second decision has huge consequences, and when she finds herself alone in the world, unsure of Kitty's fate, she knows that somehow, some way, she must find her way back to her friend. Written in the spirit of classic time-travel tales, this book is an imaginative and heartfelt tribute to the unbreakable ties of friendship.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/25/2016
Ten-year-old Charlotte “Lottie” Bromley lives near war-torn London in 1940, which means food rationing, blackouts, and seeing little of her preoccupied father, a renowned scientist who is determined to discover the existence of time travel. Lottie finds enjoyment with her best friend Kitty, but when Lottie’s father goes missing, Lottie and Kitty are thrust into a dangerous situation that finds Lottie journeying to 2013 Wisconsin, where she discovers that she will never see her best friend—or anyone else she loves—again. Like many time-travel stories, Lottie’s adjustment to an unfamiliar era provides opportunities for lighthearted moments, such as using the Internet for the first time or eating at a diner with a 12-page menu. Lottie’s fortitude and resolve make her an admirable and sympathetic protagonist, but the real heart of this story lies in her friendship with Kitty. It’s a relationship that haunts Lottie (and will haunt readers, as well) until Sales (Tonight the Streets Are Ours) brings Lottie’s journey to an unexpected but satisfying end. Ages 10–up. Agent: Stephen Barbara, Inkwell Management. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"A timeless story of best friendship that is as original as it is authentic, as elegant as it is heart-wrenching. Sales is a master storyteller." -Courtney Sheinmel, author of Sincerely and the Stella Batts series

The friendship of two 10-year-old English girls is tested when one travels through a portal to the future. In 1940, food rationing and fear of bombs are the backdrop for best friends Lottie and Kitty, who care more about anagrams and playing make-believe than the war. Lottie's scientist father researches time travel, work that's governed by the Official Secrets Act and coveted by the Nazis. The girls are kidnapped and taken to a cellar where Germans are trying to coerce Lottie's father into revealing his research. Lottie sees a shimmering portal and leaps through just as shots are fired, landing in a small Wisconsin town in 2013. She's befriended by a helpful librarian and a boy her own age named Jake. The passage of three years confirms her father's hypothesis that there is no returning to her own time. Lottie adjusts to a new school and life with a foster family, when she finds a postcard from Kitty addressed to her and stuck in a library book, raising her hopes that her friend is still somewhere to be found. Lottie's first-person account has a lighthearted tone, with lots of dialogue and details contrasting childhood in wartime England with modern-day America. Her transition to her new life is awkward but realistic, and the focus of this charming novel is always on friendship and loyalty. Rewarding and uplifting."

Will delight those who prefer to revel in the vast mysteries of time and coincidence."—The Horn Book Magazine"

Touching, bittersweet ending."-VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates"

The bond between Lottie and Kitty-proves to be both tender and unstoppable." -Booklist"

Superb. Months after first reading the book, I find myself reflecting on its characters and outcomes."—The Children's Book Review"

Shines in its portrayal of friendship... will appeal to fans of When You Reach Me and A Wrinkle in Time."-School Library Journal"

Once Was a Time has it all: suspense, humor, an intrepid heroine, and an intriguing take on time travel. But at its heart, Leila Sales's dazzling tale is about a friendship so powerful that nothing-not even time itself-can break its bonds. Unforgettable." -Katherine Applegate, Newbery Medal-winning author of The One and Only Ivan"

Lottie's fortitude and resolve make her an admirable and sympathetic protagonist."-Publishers Weekly"

Blew me away... heart-wrenching and beautiful and totally unexpected."— Geek Dad"

At once epic and intimate, bold and gentle, and as boundary-breaking and timeless as the friendship that is at this story's magnificent heart. A gorgeous, exciting read." -Anne Ursu, author of the National Book Award-longlisted The Real Boy"

An imaginative and heartfelt tribute to the unbreakable ties of friendship."—Middle Shelf Magazine"

A very beautiful story about the power of friendship."—India Winslow, children's bookseller, Brookline Booksmith

VOYA, April 2016 (Vol. 39, No. 1) - Mirta Espinola
This story details a friendship kept strong despite two best friends being trapped in different times. Lottie and Kitty spend time fantasizing about time travel and listening to Lottie’s father speak about the possibilities of traveling through time. Amid a war and Nazis’ destruction, a little fantasy goes a long way. When the opportunity arises, Lottie follows her destiny and is sent to another time. She must adapt, and although she cannot think of being anywhere without her best friend, she has to learn various skills to help her navigate through her travel to another time. She experiences new friendships and adventure along the way. Despite different paths, Lottie and Kitty remain friends to the bitter end. While the time-travel story has been told many times, this book may appeal to tween and teen girls, who may enjoy it for its friendship theme. It is a quick read, the language and characters are not complex, and the story flows easily. Furthermore, the setting of this story could be used to address cross-content: literature and history. The portion of the story that is most pleasing is the touching, bittersweet ending. Reviewer: Mirta Espinola; Ages 11 to 15.
School Library Journal
03/01/2016
Gr 4–6—"Most people don't believe in time travel," begins this work of fantasy/sci-fi set in 1940s wartime London. Ten-year-old Lottie and her best friend, the anagram-obsessed Kitty, certainly do. Lottie's dad is engaged in top-secret scientific research that may help win the war. Sales's story takes an abrupt detour as Lottie travels to suburban Wisconsin in the year 2013, without any clothes, without any clues, and, worst of all, without Kitty. With the help of a friendly librarian, some clueless but kind foster parents, and a geeky outcast artist, Lottie finds a new life, but she can't forget her dearest friend. She's determined to find her again, though time and space themselves stand in the way. Packed with literary allusions, meditations on friendship, and historical/geographical tidbits, this book is a bit of an unwieldy read, and its never-ending stream of coincidence, luck, and nice people can get a little wearing (has any Child Protective Services interview ever gone so well with so little paperwork?). The science is fluff, but the book shines in its portrayal of friendship, both the intense bond between Lottie and Kitty and the blossoming trust between Lottie and her new friend, Jake. VERDICT This genre mash-up will appeal to fans of Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me (Random, 2009) and Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.—Katya Schapiro, Brooklyn Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
2016-01-20
The friendship of two 10-year-old English girls is tested when one travels through a portal to the future. In 1940, food rationing and fear of bombs are the backdrop for best friends Lottie and Kitty, who care more about anagrams and playing make-believe than the war. Lottie's scientist father researches time travel, work that's governed by the Official Secrets Act and coveted by the Nazis. The girls are kidnapped and taken to a cellar where Germans are trying to coerce Lottie's father into revealing his research. Lottie sees a shimmering portal and leaps through just as shots are fired, landing in a small Wisconsin town in 2013. She's befriended by a helpful librarian and a boy her own age named Jake. The passage of three years confirms her father's hypothesis that there is no returning to her own time. Lottie adjusts to a new school and life with a foster family, when she finds a postcard from Kitty addressed to her and stuck in a library book, raising her hopes that her friend is still somewhere to be found. Lottie's first-person account has a lighthearted tone, with lots of dialogue and details contrasting childhood in wartime England with modern-day America. Her transition to her new life is awkward but realistic, and the focus of this charming novel is always on friendship and loyalty. Rewarding and uplifting. (Fantasy. 9-13)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781452140094
Publisher:
Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
04/05/2016
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
172,704
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
760L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 16 Years

Meet the Author

Leila Sales is the author of the young adult novels Mostly Good Girls, Past Perfect, This Song Will Save Your Life, and Tonight the Streets Are Ours. She grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts, graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Chicago, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Once Was a Time is her first book for younger readers. Learn more at LeilaSales.com and follow her on Twitter at @LeilaSalesBooks.

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