It feels like a loooong time since the Doctor and River had a moment in the Christmas special (still feeling the feels about that one). But when the show is off the air, things do tend to get a little timey wimey. With six months to go before the next new episode (oh, for a TARDIS right about now!), here are some space- and time-bending YA novels to occupy your mind palace (yes, I know that’s Sherlock’s thing, but come on: You know the Doctor has one, too). Ready? Run!
The Archived, by Victoria Schwab
Schwab is a noted Who fan, and The Archived feels very…Who-y. It’s set in a mysterious library called the Archive, which holds the dead, who are known as Histories. 16-year-old Mackenzie is a Keeper, whose job is to hunt unruly, violent Histories and ensure they don’t escape into the world. (Sometimes this involves Buffy-style ass-kicking.) When Mac and her family move to the Coronado, a creepy old apartment building, the dead begin escaping in huge numbers. Someone is erasing Histories, and the existence of the Archive itself is under threat. This has everything you need to keep you going until December: deadly libraries, a powerful undercurrent of loss and rage, snarky companions, and an incredible imagination at play.
The Future of Us, by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
It’s 1996 (ew, so long ago). Emma and Josh are awkward friends-neighbors-maybe-more-than-friends. When Emma gets her first computer, she rushes to load up a fancy, futuristic…AOL CD-ROM. Oh yeah. This truly is a historical novel. When Emma logs onto this new thing called the internet for the first time, she sees a mysterious website called Facebook. She has a profile on this Facebook, and for some reason, she’s 15 years older in that profile—it’s Facebook in 2011, and Emma and Josh are totally looking at their futures. Which is when they realize they have the power to change those futures. At first it seems funny, seeing how changes they make now affect their future selves. But quickly it’s not so funny anymore. Even without the Doctor there to shout at them for being stupid, Emma and Josh start to understand how serious it is to mess with time, and that’s when they really begin to focus on each other.
Loop, by Karen Akins
Get ready for some serious paradoxes up in here. Bree Bennis is enrolled in 23rd-century time traveler school. When the students take history classes, they don’t just visit the museum—they travel back in time to see it for real. Unfortunately, Bree is not the best student. Her midterm ends with her taking Finn—a 21st-century boy—hostage (by accident!). She tries to go back again to persuade him to keep quiet, but she even messes that up (seriously, it’s like she’s flying a TARDIS), and ends up talking to a Finn who is now three years older. Sparks fly, while elsewhere, someone is starting to attack time travelers. Bree and Finn have to work together to find out who is responsible, and why they seem to be targeting Bree in more than one timeline. Timey wimey rating: Whoa.
More Than This, by Patrick Ness
Spoiler: the 2016 Christmas Special is NOT the next Doctor Who-related show we’ll get to see this year. YA god Patrick Ness is at the helm of a spinoff show, Class, which should air this fall! (He has promised Buffy-style emotional intensity, LGBT characters, and some new scary Who monsters). What better way to prepare than with one of Ness’s most reality-warping, inclusive novels, More Than This? It opens with protagonist Seth dying. It’s a bold start. Then he wakes up in the neighborhood he grew up in, which is now desolate and abandoned. Seth has to figure out where he is (Hell? Purgatory? Dystopian future? An alternate reality?) and how to survive it. He needs to come to terms with his memories before he can understand what’s happening to him now. This is an intense and wonderful novel, full of emotions, love, suspense, and cool Matrix-style tech (not a spoiler: I’m not telling you if it’s real or not!).
All Our Yesterdays, by Cristin Terrill
Em is imprisoned in a military base, held hostage and tortured by an evil man known as…the doctor. No, not that one. She escapes with a fellow prisoner, and they travel back in time in an attempt to stop the development of time travel. Timey wimey rating: Whaaaaat?! She and Finn see their younger selves, and as the timelines start to collide and pile up, the stakes get higher and higher. The book is told in two narratives,by present-day Em and her younger self, Marina. It asks some big questions alongside all the time-scrambling thriller action, and doesn’t flinch from the consequences of dabbling in time. The Doctor (yes, that one) would be proud.