The Rhythm of Time240
The Rhythm of Time240
From the Academy Award–winning, Grammy-winning, and New York Times bestselling author Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and the New York Times bestselling author S. A. Cosby comes this thrill-a-minute novel—the first in a rollicking time-travel adventure series that’s perfect for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers and Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky.
Seventh grader Rahim Reynolds loves testing out the gadgets invented by his brilliant friend Kasia Collins. First there were the X-ray glasses and all the trouble they caused. Now there’s the new cell phone she built for his birthday, even though his parents won’t let him have one. But Rahim is excited to use the phone to search for videos of his favorite old-school rap group. What he doesn’t know is the phone has a special battery that interfaces with a secret government satellite, which spells trouble when the phone transports him back to 1997. Almost immediately, he learns what every time traveler before him has: Actions in the past jeopardize the future. With Kasia as his only lifeline to the present, Rahim works with her to get home unscathed, all the while dodging bullies (on his end) and suspicious government agents (on hers).
Philadelphia in the late nineties is a new world for Rahim and Kasia, but it is a familiar place for Questlove, who, alongside S. A. Cosby, delivers a high-velocity tale where two best friends discover that sometimes the best beat is the one that brings you back home.
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|Publisher:||Penguin Young Readers Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)|
|Lexile:||630L (what's this?)|
|Age Range:||10 - 12 Years|
About the Author
S. A. Cosby is an Anthony Award-winning writer from Southeastern Virginia. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Razorblade Tears and Blacktop Wasteland, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, was a New York Times Notable Book, and was named a best book of the year by NPR, The Guardian, and Library Journal, among others.
Read an Excerpt
When he got home, Rahim saw a note from his mother and father saying they were out getting groceries. He slammed the door and stomped up to his room. Harris was right. Even if his dad thought having easy access to a computer was going to rot his brain, that didn’t mean he couldn’t at least let Rahim have a decent phone. He would never understand why his dad seemed to hate technology so much. Maybe he’d had a bad experience with a calculator as a kid.
Rahim closed the door to his room and fell across his bed. Horror movie posters fought for space with old-school hip-hop posters on his walls. N.E.R.D., Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Outkast, and his Four the Hard Way posters took up the most space. Two bookshelves full of horror novels and a few mysteries lined the far wall. Other than those few possessions, his room was sparse.
Rahim pulled the cell phone out of his back pocket and touched the screen. It lit up with a pale greenish light. His name was in Old English letters across the top of the screen. There were also several icons for different apps. Rahim tapped on the search engine icon. Yesterday he’d told an eensy-weensy lie about having a social studies paper due. Today his teacher actually assigned them a paper. Might as well get a start on it. He typed the words Philadelphia Public Library into the search bar. His paper was about the library system—one of his favorite subjects. The phone might be a hideous blue, but he could still use it to do his homework. He just wouldn’t take it to school again. Ever.
The screen glowed as the green LED on the top blinked on and off like it was winking at him.
“Don’t tell me this gonna die already.” Rahim shook the phone up and down with both hands.
The screen began to glow brighter.
The screen flickered in time with the green LED.
I should’ve asked her how long I gotta shake this thing, he thought.
The screen stopped flickering and went black. Rahim stopped shaking the phone.
“Did I break it?”
In a flash the screen glowed so bright it hurt his eyes. He squeezed them tight. At the same time, a strange sensation flowed over his whole body. It was like he was swimming in warm, gooey water.
The white light from the phone died down.
He no longer felt like he was swimming. He felt cold. No, scratch that— he was freezing.
Rahim opened his eyes.
“What the. . .?” he said, but his words trailed off into a muffled grumbling. He suddenly realized why he was cold.
He wasn’t in his room. He was standing on the sidewalk in front of the West Side branch of the Philadelphia Library. Rahim shook his head. People filed around him as his mouth gaped open.
“I gotta be dreaming,” he said to no one in particular. He almost pinched himself, but he knew for a fact he wasn’t dreaming. The cold stinging his cheeks told him that much.
“Oh man. Oh man. OH MAN.” He wasn’t sure how far the library was from his house, but he was sure he hadn’t sleepwalked over here.
“Man, it’s soooo cold,” Rahim said.
“You got that right.” Nodding, a homeless man pushed a shopping cart past him. Rahim stared at the back of the man’s head as he continued down the street. He could have sworn he’d seen him before.
Rahim touched the screen on his phone. Maybe this was some computer simulation Kasia had installed in the phone. No, that was silly. He wasn’t even wearing a VR visor. He had to get back home. He could figure it all out once he got out of the cold. He touched the screen and pulled up the map icon. He didn’t know if he had enough for a cab and he wasn’t sure if there was a subway nearby. He typed in his address and hit ENTER.
The green LED began to flicker on and off again.
“Oh, come—” Rahim began to say.
The phone glowed with the same blinding white light.
“—on,” he finished.
Rahim looked around. He was standing in front of his house.
“What is going on!?”
It didn’t matter. Right now, it was too cold to be standing outside without a jacket. Rahim went in the house and closed the door behind him.
“I didn’t hear you leave,” his dad said, sitting in his chair, but this time he had a larger book in his lap. Rahim stopped short.
“I thought you and Mom were at the grocery store,” Rahim mumbled.
“We’ve been back for an hour. I thought you were upstairs doing your homework.” Dad closed his book.
“Um . . . I, uh . . . went out the back door. I went over to Kasia’s earlier, and I thought I had dropped something.”
“What did you think you had dropped?” Dad asked. He folded his hands in his lap and stared at Rahim.
“Uh . . . my notes from class today,” Rahim said. He headed for the stairs.
“How’s the homework coming?” his dad asked.
“Almost done,” he said over his shoulder.
Once he was back in his room and sitting on his bed, he hit the phone icon. He knew Kasia’s number by heart, but she had programmed it into the phone.
“You coming over to do another track?” Kasia said when she answered.
“What’s wrong with this phone?” Rahim said. His fingertips were still numb.
“Well, since we’re talking on it, I’m gonna say nothing,” Kasia said.
“For real, what’s wrong with it? I did a search for the library website and the next thing I know I’m standing in front of it. Then I put in my address and poof! I was back here. Tell me what’s wrong with this phone,” Rahim said.
“Okay, calm down. First of all, are you sure that’s what happened? Like you didn’t fall asleep and dream that you were at the library?” Kasia asked.
“I didn’t fall asleep. I’m telling you this phone is, like, magic or something,” Rahim said.
“Magic is just science we don’t understand. I still think you fell asleep. I mean, I’m good, but I’m not that good.”
“I’m bringing it back. I’ll be right there.”
“Now hold on. Let’s do a little experiment. Do a search for my address. No, I tell you what, do a search for a place you’ve always wanted to go. Let’s see what happens.”
“Uh, nope. I’m just bringing this thing back,” Rahim said.
“Look, you’re telling me I accidentally invented a teleporter. I think you’re having a hallucination.”
“This ain’t a hallucination, Kasia! When I typed in the address for the library, my parents were out getting food. I come back to the house, and they say they been home for an hour. This is X-ray glasses all over again,” Rahim said.
“Okay, just calm down. I mean, on the one hand, you might really have teleported. But on the other hand, if you are . . . making a mistake, we can figure it out. And if you’re right, what’s the worst that happens?”
Rahim pulled the phone from his ear and peered at it. Was it possible he had imagined the whole thing? If he was imagining it and he ended up at Kasia’s, that wouldn’t be that bad, would it?
Rahim typed in the place he wanted to go to more than any other. A place he had dreamed about going. A place that was literally impossible for him to go to unless Kasia’s phone was a teleporter and a time machine.
The green light began to flicker as the screen began to glow.
“What’s happening?” Kasia asked.
“The green light is blinking and the screen is glowing,” Rahim said.
“What do you mean ‘uh-oh’? Kasia, what is uh-oh?”
“It means the power source I used might be a . . . little bit unstable.”
“What should I do?” Rahim yelled.
Before Kasia could answer, the swimming sensation overwhelmed him as bright white light filled his field of vision. The world around him seemed to fade away in bits and pieces as he began to float into that white light.
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