The Time Capsule

The Time Capsule

4.8 41
by Lurlene McDaniel

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In first grade, twins Alexis and Adam wrote down what they wanted to be when they grew up and put it in their teacher’s time capsule. Now entering their senior year in high school, they are surprised to find out what they wrote: Alexis wanted to “help people” and Adam wanted to be a fireman. But that was before Adam got sick and their family fell…  See more details below


In first grade, twins Alexis and Adam wrote down what they wanted to be when they grew up and put it in their teacher’s time capsule. Now entering their senior year in high school, they are surprised to find out what they wrote: Alexis wanted to “help people” and Adam wanted to be a fireman. But that was before Adam got sick and their family fell apart. Adam’s leukemia is now in remission but, sadly, so is the twins’ family. Their mother and father are always working—not only don’t they have time for Alexis and Adam, they don’t have time for each other. Alexis can’t even convince them to take a weekend off for one last family vacation to Disney World.

No one is prepared when Adam gets sick again, but this time Alexis is not alone. Adam’s illness reunites the family. And Alexis discovers that the time capsule predictions weren’t so far off the mark.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The title refers to specific events in the story, but is also symbolic of painful times that are easier to lock away for emotional revisiting. Upper middle class teens may see themselves in this novel where wealth makes all problems (including chronic illness) a lot more manageable. These saintly young characters discuss their anger and despair, without traditional acting out against emotionally absent parents: no sex, drugs, or rock 'n roll. When the family dysfunction gets too intense, Daddy sends the kids to Disney World with a credit card and his guilty blessing. It is a well crafted book and the pages keep turning—partly to learn if these high school kids ever get past cuddling to do some real partying. The pragmatic ending masterfully reveals and imparts a strong message: life goes on. It leaves to the imagination what problems may arise when the emotional capsule reopens, and painful memories resurface. 2003, Delacorte/Random House, Ages 12 up.
— Tina Dybvik

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Random House Children's Books
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2 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


"The school looks exactly the same," Alexis Chappel told her brother, Adam. Together they walked from the parking lot across the grounds of their former elementary school, toward the huge banyan tree that sheltered the playground.

"I haven't thought about this place since we moved," Adam said. "Everything looks so small."

"That's because we're bigger," Alexis said. "And I used to think about it all the time. I really missed it when we moved." Their family had relocated to the southwest side of Miami during the summer following fourth grade, and twins Adam and Alexis had transferred into a brand-new elementary school. Alexis remembered how she had cried because she had loved Woodland Elementary, which was just around the corner from their old house. The low-slung building of white stucco, yellow brick and awning-covered windows looked tired and dingy to her now, eight years later. "You think we'll recognize anybody?"

Adam grinned and pointed. "I recognize Ms. Lola."

Beneath the giant tree, Alexis saw a diminutive woman with a frizzy mass of red hair herding a group of children toward rows of benches. Behind the benches there were several rows of chairs where teens sat, some talking, some eating slices of pizza and sipping canned sodas.

"Is that our class?" Adam asked, pausing to check out the group.

"Did you expect everybody to be six?" Alexis teased. "The letter said our classmates would be invited." Adam was the shyer of the two, and Alexis usually felt as if she was either pushing him or dragging him to do something. But then, Adam's life had been a whole lot more difficult than hers.

Ms. Lola looked up, saw them and dashed over, her face lit with a smile. "I'm so glad to see you. My beautiful twins. Do you know that in all my years of teaching, I've only had three sets of twins in my classes? But you two were my favorite. I never had to worry about telling you apart!" She hugged them, and a jumble of warm, fond feelings flooded through Alexis. To this day, she'd never loved a teacher the way she had loved Ms. Lola. "You both look wonderful! Come, join the others," the teacher said. She led them to the rows of chairs and began to introduce them to eleven former classmates.

Alexis smiled and waved at each person, recognizing names because she had pored over their first-grade class photo and roster before coming. There had been twenty-eight in the class. Some she knew from the old photo, but others looked totally different.

"Grab yourself some goodies and have a seat," Ms. Lola said, then rushed off to greet a group heading across the playground.

"Want a soda?" Adam asked.

"Sure. I'll save you a spot."

Once Alexis had settled in, a girl two chairs over asked, "Remember me? Linda Cummings. I sat behind you in first and third grades."

"I remember." Alexis flashed her brightest smile. "You had long, curly brown hair."

Linda's hair was now short and was dyed pink and red. "And you wore a long braid that usually had ribbons going through it," she said. "I used to sit there and wonder what it would be like to have such pretty, straight black hair."

"It was monotonous. Nothing I did then or do now makes it curl."

Linda's gaze lingered on Alexis's long hair. Finally she shifted self-consciously and asked, "Where are you going to high school?"

"South Kendall. And you?"

"North Miami High."

"It seems weird to be back," Alexis confessed.

"I've lived in the same house since first grade." Linda sounded apologetic about it. "Ms. Lola had no trouble tracking me down. I couldn't stay away. I wanted to see how we all turned out. Plus, I want to know what's in that time capsule of hers. I don't remember writing anything. How about you?"

"I can't imagine what I wanted when I was in first grade. That was ages ago."

Linda glanced toward Adam, who was putting pizza on paper plates. "I don't remember what I wrote, but I remember what I wanted. I had the worst crush on your brother and wanted him to notice me. He's still cute."

"He's got a girlfriend."

"All the cute ones do," Linda said with a sigh. She added, "I used to envy the two of you."

"You're kidding. Why?"

"Because you got along really well together. My older sister and I fought like cats. I remember how you and Adam used to finish each other's sentences."

"We still do. It's because Adam and I were womb mates," Alexis said. Their peculiar link with each other was very real, and at times it seemed as if they could almost read each other's minds.

Linda grinned. "Womb mates--I get it. So who's older?"

"I am. By seven minutes."

"Are you and Adam in classes together?"

"No. He's into math and baseball. I like speech and debate."

"Debate. Isn't that when you argue with someone?"

"It's really problem-solving competitions. Teams get proposals or resolutions in advance and prepare arguments for and against them. It's fun." The competitions were tough, but Alexis loved the high that came when she scored enough points from the judges to advance to the next round. She was team captain and had racked up more points than anyone on her school team so far. Mrs. Wiley, the debate coach, was already prepping Alexis and the team for the state tournament to be held in Tallahassee, the state capital, in the spring.

"Do you want to be a lawyer?" Linda asked.

"Maybe." In truth, Alexis wanted very much to attend law school. She supposed the tendency for high achievement ran in their family. Their father, Blake, was an attorney, and their mother, Eleanor, was a top-selling real estate agent and a community activist interested in running for public office. "Ambitious parents create ambitious kids," Adam often said. "And one out of two isn't bad. With you, Ally, they're batting five hundred."

Adam returned, bringing Alexis a cold lemon-lime soda, her favorite, and a plateful of pizza slices. She introduced him to Linda, whose face took on a pink hue when Adam said hello.

"We were in the same class," Linda said, stating the obvious and blushing again.

"You want a soda?" Adam asked.

"Um, no thanks--I mean, sure, thanks."

He gave her a quizzical look. "What flavor?"

"Yellow. I--I mean, lemon-lime, like your sister's."

Adam left, and Linda groaned. "If he asks, tell him I don't get out much."

From the Hardcover edition.

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Time Capsule 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My 12 year old daughter has been reading Lurlene McDaniel books and she absolutely has loved each and every title she has read. Her nook is full of this authors titles and she can't put it down once she starts a new book. As a mother I am very grateful for this author and the way that she writes, allowing our children to feel empathy for the characters as well as learning from the experiences that the characters are going through. 2 thumbs up and 5 stars!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a really good but sad story. It made me want to cry but it had a good meaning to it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my all time favorite books. Never thought id be able to say that about one book!!!!
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Ashley Kirby More than 1 year ago
When I read this book it literally brought tears to my eyes. The whole book just made me wanna lay down and cry. Most of all though it made me appreciate what I have. Lurlene McDaniel is the best author for teenage girls who like love and disaster stories. I think this book is totally worth the price and EVERYONE WILL LOVE IT!!!!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The Time Capsule By: Lurlene McDaniel In the beginning of the story the twins Alexis and Adam get invited to their elementary school Woodland Elementary School in North Miami. It was their first grade teacher Ms. Lola, she had written them a note saying in one of the paragraphs ¿I¿m writing because I want you to join me in a celebration picnic here at Woodland Elementary. First, I¿m celebrating 25 years of teaching first grade. But more than that, I¿m celebrating YOU, my students-that is, all of you can locate who are still attending school in the greater Miami area!¿ She made all the students write what they wanted to be or do when they grew up and she had them do that on the last day of school 'last day of first grade'. She then put the pieces of paper in a box called the time capsule. Well now its time to come open it! ¿So please come to the picnic, get reacquainted with one another, eat pizza and cake and meet my brand new first graders.¿ Ms. Lola wrote. Adam and Alexis went under the giant banyan tree by the playground on the last Friday of August at 3:00 pm., just like Ms. Lola wrote in the letter. Alexis wrote, ¿I want to help people.¿ Adam wrote that he wanted to be a fireman. Later in the story their senior year of high school, Alexis wanted to go to Disney World with her family like they used to when Adam and Alexis were young. Alexis planned the trip, she wanted her parents to go but they were to busy with work. So her father told her to bring her boyfriend Sawyer, her best friend Tessa, Adam 'obviously', Adams girlfriend Kelly, and his friend Wade. Alexis started planning the room situations and all that important stuff. Alexis thought that Kelly¿s parents would only let her go if they shared a room together, so it was Alexis, Tessa, and Kelly, and Adam, Sawyer, and Wade. They had a great time in Disney, they didn¿t want it to ever end but, it had to. About 2 weeks after they came home from Disney Adam had a secure when he was with Kelly and he had to get rushed to the hospital. When Alexis got home their was a note on the table saying Adam was in the hospital, so her and Sawyer rushed over there. When they got their they couldn¿t see Adam right away because he was in surgery but, once he got out only family could see him, so Alexis went in and Sawyer waited in the waiting room. When Ally 'Alexis' went in Adams room she found burses on him all over, she asked him why he had random burses, and it was because he missed one of his treatments and no one could tell he had them in Disney because he was covered up most of the time. She had asked him why he never told her because they tell each other everything or at least she thought so. He said that he didn¿t want to make it a big deal. Well Adam was in the hospital for a couple weeks and then they moved him too Kendall Hospital ER. and that¿s where he staid the longest. After him being in there for so long he made a friends with all the little children on his floor. One of the little boys Rudy, Adam called him his little brother. Adam staid in the hospital through Christmas and his ¿little brother¿ got to get out, Adam said that, that¿s a good Christmas present. Adam decided to make the children teddy bears and dress them with the kids favorite things. He asked Ally and Tessa to help and when Ally told her parents what Adam project was they wanted to help, when Ally told Adam that mom & dad wanted to help he was shocked and said ¿Ally what did you bribe them with?¿ aha Ally said ¿nothing they came to me asking to help.¿ Adam was happy that they wanted to help. After they were done with the project Adam, Ally, and Tessa handed them out to all the children and Adam saved Rudy¿s room for last. He wanted some alone time with his ¿new brother¿ since he was leaving. Adam gave him his teddy bear and a wrapped box. Rudy opened it and it was a baseball glove. The little boy was so happy! He had a big smile on his face, thanking Adam. A month or so later, Adams medican
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome! I would recomend it to anyone. Lots of girls in my class have read. First it seems boring, but then it gets really really exciting. So if your reading it don't quit because it gets really good. And it gives you clues leading up to when Adam gets sick again. So be looking for them and if you don't find them at first it will tell you in the end. I didn't see them untils the end anyways.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! It was the first book I read by her and I loved it! I cried and I laughed and everyone thought I was crazy when I did it in public. But it was an awsome book! you should read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book alot but it wasn't one of her 'Lulene McDaniel' best books. I recommend it but beware, it is VERY sad!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was soo good. I loved it. This was the first Lurlene McDaniel book I have read. I could actually relate to this book, because I am also a teenager. She's close with her twin brother. Although I don't have a twin brother or sister, my sister and my age aren't too far apart. This book showed real tragedies that a teenager would go through. This book's base and storyline was capturing. It was so dramatic, and I think that's why I enjoyed it the most. It was puzzling without the confusion. It was really sad, and this was actually the first book where I actually cried while I was reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Time Capsule is a phenomenal book. It carries you through the intense life of a teenager that is struggling with her twin¿s sickness. Alexis¿s family is falling apart. Her mother is staying busy with her real estate, and her father is a lawyer that barely ever takes a vacation. However, that does change when her twin brother, Adam, gets a relapse of his cancer. Now, her whole family has to come together and deal with Adam¿s sickness. The gossip of others and ending of friendships doesn¿t make the sickness any easier for Alexis¿s family, true friends, and especially Adam. This heart wrenching novel shows the bitterness and anguish of the diagnoses of cancer to a beloved brother and son. With stunning details, Lurlene McDaniel informs readers of the pain and suffering of both the family and son when tragedy strikes. This book will make you want to hug your siblings!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cheating. Betrayal. Break-ups. Destinies crashing. That¿s what Time Capsule written by: Lurlene McDaniel is all about. If you like young teen realistic fiction books, and books that make you cry, and make your heart feel all warm and fuzzy this is the book for you! I promise! The main characters in this book are Alexis and Adam. Alexis is the star captain of the debate team, and Adam is a sweetheart who in his life has suffered from leukemia. This book takes place in present daytime, and It¿s basically about everyday life. When Adam and Alexis ( twins ) were in 1st grade, they wrote down what they wanted to be when they grew up, and they put it in a thing called a time capsule. When entering their senior year in high school, they got invited to a reunion to open up the time capsule, and see what they put. They were in shock what they had written. But when life got turned upside down, and all you can do is believe, Adam and Alexis realized that what they put in the time capsule, wasn¿t so far off the mark. I absolutely loved this book because it made me laugh, and cry, and it was really enjoyable. So read this book. I promise that you won¿t regret it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is the best book ever.i read it in 2 days i couldn't put it down.