Every summer 12-year-old Jenni looks forward to her family’s vacation at Riverside Village—it means spending the days with her buoyant and optimistic best friend, Autumn, and her family. But this year, a fateful elevator trip somehow transports Jenni one year into the future, and much has changed. It turns out that just hours after Jenni “left” the previous summer, Autumn’s younger brother, Mikey, was thrown from a horse and has been in a coma ever since, his family struggling to keep it together. As Jenni gradually pieces together what happened to her (and gets increasingly dire glimpses of the future through subsequent trips in the elevator), she works to return to the present and possibly avert Mikey’s accident. Kessler (the Emily Windsnap series) isn’t interested in the mechanics of time travel or even “why” Jenni’s time slip has occurred (as Jenni reflects, “What matters is the fact that it has”). Rather, it’s a vehicle, occasionally heavy-handed but effective, for her story’s empowering message: “Don’t just accept the life you’re given.... Question everything. Always attempt the impossible.” Ages 9–12. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
Preteen readers will likely be swept up in the suspense of Jenni's journeys back and forth in time.
Children's Literature - Margaret Orto
Twelve year old Jenni, who does not like surprises, looks forward to a vacation week at a time-share resort with her family and her best friend's family just as they do this time every year. However, an old elevator in her friend Autumn's condo building takes Jenni on an unexpected adventure into her future where she ages by one year for every floor she travels; as she travels everything that she understands in her present changes. Once Jenni comprehends that she is involved with time travel rather than amnesia, she tries to find a way to return to her time to prevent an accident that has tragic consequences for both families. She also wants to find a way back to her present life to repair her friendship with her once vibrant friend who shuts Jenni out as she deals with her own pain. There is a long build-up to the time travel aspect of the story and the time-travel device of an old elevator feels clumsy. A subplot involving a middle-aged women dealing with her own time-travel nightmare of a missed youthful romance is far-fetched and mostly a distraction. Despite these weaknesses the tension that builds as Jenni travels back and forth in time and creatively solves her problems is well-done and will keep pre-teen readers wanting to know what happens. The tension does not let up until nearly the end. Issues of divorce, friendship and family life are raised and the overall message of changing your life by asking questions and not remaining passive is appealing. There is a nice character arc as Jenni changes from a reserved young girl into someone who speaks up to affect change. Reviewer: Margaret Orto
Time travel to a disturbing near future forces a preteen to cope for the first time without the help of her best friend.
Twelve-year-old Jenni Green and her best friend Autumn are inseparable. Along with their families, they even spend their summer vacations together every year at Riverside Village. There's so much to do there, from hot air balloon rides to adventure parks. Though Jenni naturally prefers museums to rock climbing, Autumn is always roping her into one crazy activity or another.This summer doesn't seem any different, until a ride in an old elevator lands Jenni in the middle of a strange and unsettling time-travel adventure all on her own. For the first time in her friendship with Autumn, Jenni must take the reins and figure out how to change the past in order to protect the ones she loves in the future. Jenni's first-person narration gives readers a ringside seat to her disorientation. Will she be able to save her friendship with Autumn and spare both of their families the heartache of a looming tragedy? Only time will tell.
Though the logistics of Jenni's time travel are a bit convoluted and the characters often feel disappointingly flat, preteen readers will likely be swept up in the suspense of Jenni's journeys back and forth in time. (Fantasy. 9-12)