Discover the middle-grade debut Kirkus Reviews calls “spellbinding” by an award-winning author Booklist says “has crafted a definite winner.”
Josie and Alec both live at 444 Sparrow Street. They sleep in the same room, but they’ve never laid eyes on each other. They are twelve years old and a hundred years apart.
The children meet through a hand-painted talking boardJosie in 1915, Alec in 2015and form a friendship across the century that separates them. But a chain of events leave Josie and her little sister Cass trapped in the house and afraid for their safety, and Alec must find out what’s going to happen to them.
Can he help them change their future when it’s already past?
|Publisher:||Amberjack Publishing Company|
|Product dimensions:||5.75(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.85(d)|
|Age Range:||9 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Camille DeAngelis is the author of several novels for adults—each of them as full of impossible things as The Boy From Tomorrow—as well as a travel guide to Ireland and a book of nonfiction called Life Without Envy: Ego Management for Creative People. Her young adult novel Bones & All won an Alex Award from the American Library Association in 2016. Camille loves knitting, sewing, yoga, and baking vegan cupcakes. She lives in New England.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This story is entertaining but not unique. It includes a few delicate topics (child abuse, ouija board), so I would be careful before sharing it with my students. It is a typical time-travel scenario with the problems and excitement that comes with that storyline. I enjoyed the book but didn't love it. I would recommend it but only to those I was sure would enjoy the candid truth this book employs. I wondered how the story would end and was not disappointed by how everything was resolved.
This is a spooky story with a medium who communicates with spirits, a talking board, a graveyard, a cruel villain, a creepy doll who whispers to a little girl and a friendship across time. Josie’s mother is twice-widowed and must earn a living for herself and her children. She does so as a medium, contacting spirits of the dead. She is fortunate to have wealthy patrons, and so she can afford a respectable home and a governess for her children. There was a bit of a scandal in her past, so she keeps her children isolated from the rest of world. Josie has no friends besides her sister, Cassie, and her governess, Emily. Though Josie is skeptical of her mother’s ability to really communicate with deceased people, she is also curious. She discovers a spirit board in the room her mother uses to do readings for her clients. She is startled to receive messages from some boys who claim to live one hundred years in the future. Alec is a twelve-year-old boy whose parents are divorcing. He and his mom move to a new town and he ends up living in the same house where Josie lived in 1915. He and his friend find the spirit board when they are exploring the house. They start playing around with it and are spooked when it seems that spirits really are speaking to them. The chapters of the novel alternate between these two timelines. Josie and Alec develop a real friendship over the course of the novel as they continue to use the board to talk to each other. Josie also writes letters to Alec and hides them away for him to find in the future. They are delighted to learn they can also communicate through a phonograph. This friendship sustains them through the difficulties of their individual lives. While most children love a good ghost story, some may be frightened by the paranormal elements of the book. The book includes other material that may not be appropriate for all children, such as disturbing descriptions of cruelty and abuse of the two girls, Josie and Cassie. There is also a gruesome scene where an exotic bird is found dead. Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this book!
I enjoyed the book, and I think that my students would too. The dual-perspective of seeing the world through Alec and then Josie makes it more marketable to all of my students instead of the boys seeing it as a "girl book" or vice versa. I liked the small moments of early 1900s history that were blended in, and it made the time difference between the sisters' and Alec's lives more apparent. Alec, Daniel, and the girls were likable characters, as they were meant to be. The author definitely makes her villains stand out, but does give small glimpses into their humanity and what might lie beneath their issues. At first, I was not expecting the girls' family situation to escalate so much, but I think it was useful conflict that helped to move the story forward. The girls' eager, youthful attitudes made them more magnetic than Alec, and it's undeniable that the sisters steal the show. I do wish the story's pacing was a little faster at the beginning, but it does pick up once the depth of their mother's issues start to be uncovered. I wish there had been a little something more on Alec's end. His own family drama is a bit overshadowed by the girls', and I'm not certain it's really needed aside from a catalyst that prompts his and his mother's move to the Sparrow house. Overall, I think this could be a useful book for a unit on friendships, family, or just a nice recommended read for a student who's looking for something a little different.