The Time Traveler's Guide to Modern Romance

The Time Traveler's Guide to Modern Romance

by Madeline J. Reynolds

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Elias Caldwell needs more than his life in nineteenth-century England has to offer. He'd rather go on an adventure than spend one more minute at some stuffy party. When his grandfather gives him a pocket watch he claims can transport him to any place and time, Elias doesn't believe it...until he's whisked away to twenty-first-century America.

Tyler Forrester just wants to fall hopelessly in love. But making that kind of connection with someone has been more of a dream than reality. Then a boy appears out of thin air, a boy from the past. As he helps Elias navigate a strange new world for him, introducing him to the wonders of espresso, binge-watching, and rock and roll, Tyler discovers Elias is exactly who he was missing.

But their love has time limit. Elias's disappearance from the past has had devastating side effects, and now he must choose where he truly belongs—in the Victorian era, or with the boy who took him on an adventure he never dreamed possible?

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781640636286
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 03/04/2019
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Madeline J. Reynolds is a YA fantasy author living in Chicago. Originally from Minneapolis, she has a background in journalism and has always loved storytelling in its various forms. When not writing, she can be found exploring the city, eating Thai food, or lost in an epic Lord of the Rings marathon.

Read an Excerpt


Party Foul

Elias Caldwell was at the place between his fourth and fifth glass of wine where the room started to tilt and the other guests seemed at least slightly less condescending.

He made a straight line — or what felt like a straight line — for Peter Illingsworth. The guest of honor.

The Illingsworth household was abuzz with the excitement of eager partygoers and aglow with warm light from chandeliers and torches around the open ballroom. Usually when the family was hosting some sort of gala or function, the room was adorned with rich tapestries, colorful banners, and exotic floral arrangements sprouted out from hand-painted vases on each of the tables, but tonight the room was uncharacteristically bare. They likely did not want for any flourish or decoration to distract from the only piece of art to be found, which was on full display at the center of the room: a painting depicting William Shakespeare's lovers in fair Verona, Romeo and Juliet.

At only seventeen, Peter was considered an artistic prodigy, producing painting after painting that captured the eyes of London's cultural elite. Being the same age, with no such remarkable skills or notable accomplishments of his own, it was difficult for Elias to associate with Peter. But their parents were close friends, and of all the boys their age and of similar status in wealth and education, Peter was the only one who seemed to tolerate Elias (or at least, do him the courtesy of pretending to). And in spite of himself, in spite of the shame he often felt for not measuring up to Peter's many accomplishments, Elias also found himself drawn to Peter's company. Perhaps it was the damned tufts of golden curls or the way his laughter could warm him from the inside out. Or maybe it was how whenever Elias was feeling alone, Peter was there to make him feel as though he wasn't.

"Congratulations, Peter! Another masterpiece." As he spoke, Elias used his glass to gesture toward the oil painting, causing the crimson liquid to slosh inside.

Peter raised a nervous hand between the glass and the canvas. "Thank you, Elias. I worked very hard on this one." He smiled and nodded to an older couple who'd previously had his ear as they walked away. His blue eyes were shimmering with pride, and his golden hair gleamed under the light of the chandeliers. It was almost as if Peter were a living, breathing embodiment of the Illingsworth family — as if they had used their great fortune to somehow manufacture the perfect son.

"Well, maybe next time you could try a little less hard ... you're making the rest of us look bad." He said it in a way that made it sound like a joke, but when Elias looked across the room he spotted Peter's parents laughing and mingling with the Caldwells — Elias's parents — no doubt talking about how incredible Peter was and alternately, what a severe disappointment Elias was proving to be.

Peter simply shrugged. "You just have yet to find your own special thing ... a passion, a calling ... a ..."

"Skill?" Elias asked, raising an eyebrow.

Continuing as if he had not heard Elias's addition, Peter said, "You'll have both time and opportunity to figure things out at university. And I believe congratulations are in order. I heard that you were accepted by Cambridge. No small feat."

Elias raised his glass in thanks and took a swig, but again he looked to his parents. It was they who got him into the universities — their name. He found it hard to be bitter about it, though. Maybe it was not on his own merit, but he was in ... or rather, out. Soon he would be out from under his parents' roof, away from their scrutiny and their rules. The constant expectation that he be someone he wasn't left little time or space for Elias to figure out who exactly he was. Once he was away at school he didn't have to be anything or anyone special. Not a Caldwell. Just Elias. He liked the sound of that.

He looked down to Peter's empty hands. "It seems wrong that the guest of honor doesn't have anything to celebrate with. Where are the servants when you need them?" He spotted a member of the staff entering through the ballroom's main doors with a tray of wineglasses. He waved his free hand in the air. "Excuse me? Over here!"

Everyone in the room turned to look at Elias. Most had scowls on their faces, and all had little-to-no kindness in their eyes.

Peter stepped in close to Elias and in a hushed tone said, "Some of the staff have been making rounds with glasses of water. You may do well to switch."

"Come, Peter, this is a party! It's your party. Don't be so prudish."

"I am doing you a favor," Peter continued. "I am the only one who will tell you when you are acting like a complete fool, and now is one of those times."

There was a small part of Elias that knew Peter was right, but it was hard to listen to rational thought when a much larger part of him couldn't help but feel Peter was being just like everyone else: pointing out what he was doing wrong, making him feel ashamed. There was no escape from it.

"Well forgive me, we can't all be stern, serious artists like yourself. I'd much prefer to enjoy myself."

"And I would prefer if you'd lower your voice." He was speaking to Elias, but his eyes were scanning the room, looking apologetically at each of the other guests and forcing a smile.

"Am I being too loud? Am I embarrassing you, Peter?" With each word he was getting progressively and intentionally louder, as if it would prove a point to him, to all of them. The small part of Elias that was still thinking rationally did not like himself in that moment. He wasn't proud of his behavior. He was acting like a child, or worse, an animal. And in that moment, and many others, that was exactly what he felt like. An animal who was backed into a corner, forced to show his teeth in order to survive.

"No," Peter said, "you're embarrassing yourself. You've let your jealousy drive you mad."

"Jealous? You really think I'm jealous? Of what? Of yawns like this?" Once again, Elias used his wineglass to gesture toward the painting, but this time the sloshing red liquid did not land back in the glass. A sea of horrified gasps erupted across the room as the wine splattered across the canvas, tainting the Illingsworth original. Elias's heart sped and his hands shook violently, causing the small amount of wine still in his glass to swirl and jump again. Peter's mouth hung open, his eyes wider than Elias had ever seen them. Elias stood, waiting for him to scream at him, or sob, or even faint from the pure shock.

Instead it was his father, Mr. Illingsworth, who stepped forward. "Elias Caldwell, you will leave this home immediately."

"But I ..." Elias fumbled for the right words as his heart sunk in his chest. Certainly he had been angry in the moment, but he would never intentionally do something so awful to Peter. If anything, Peter was the one person he would hope to never let down in this way. His parents were constantly disappointed by him, but causing Peter to be ashamed or disappointed — that filled Elias with a dread he could not bear.

Before Elias could think of what to say, his parents were on either side of him with words of their own, desperate to clean up his mess.

"Charles, I am so incredibly sorry; we will pay for the damages." Elias's father didn't bother to look at his son. Meanwhile his mother's hand clutched his shoulder, ready to pry him out and away from the crowd.

"Get out!" Mrs. Illingsworth screamed.

His parents didn't hesitate, striding straight for the door, dragging Elias with them. He wanted to break free and run all the way home, but that would make more of a scene than he already had.

Once they were outside and well past the Illingsworth manor, Elias made an attempt to shake off his mother's grip, but her grasp was unrelenting and firm, more like a claw than a human hand. And so they continued to walk down the empty cobblestone streets in a harsh and unforgiving silence. The frown his mother wore made her otherwise handsome features wrinkle and contour in ways that were most displeasing. Her chestnut-colored hair had been pulled back so tightly that the fierceness in her eyes was accentuated by how taut the skin was around them. His father was making brisk strides toward their home, a few paces ahead of them. He turned back to look at them every now and then. His face appeared neutral thanks to the thick moustache covering his lip, but Elias knew the anger that was not manifesting itself on his father's face was instead festering within.

After a while, the silence that was broken up only by the sound of their steps was more than Elias could bear.

"I'm sorry." It wasn't enough. Not nearly ... but what else was there for him to say at that point?

"Time and time again we have given you chances, and time and time again you have disappointed us," his father said.

"Soon I will be going away. I will not be your burden to bear," Elias said, mostly under his breath. He knew deep down that he should not be pushing them at this moment, but he tried being apologetic and all that elicited from his father was a comment about how much shame Elias had brought them both.

"Yes ... well. We shall see," his mother said.

"What is that supposed to mean?" Elias asked.

"My study. Tomorrow morning," his father said, then added, "The last of your chances have been used up."

No other words were spoken for the remainder of the walk home.

* * *

Elias sat in his father's study the next morning. His father's collection of books stacked in neat rows on shelves along the walls normally instilled awe in Elias. Books always gave him the sense that anything was possible. But now the room felt cold and stark like the gray of the wallpaper. Elias was staring down in disbelief at the pamphlet his parents had handed him. He'd thought he could not feel any worse than he had the night before, but now he had been proven wrong.

The Berghoff School for Troubled and Wayward Young Men.

"It's in Munich," Olivia Caldwell said to her son, as if that would make the prospect sound exciting, like they were sending him away on some fancy holiday.

"A reformatory? You want to send me away with a bunch of criminals and miscreants? I've committed no crimes!"

His father sighed. "We think it best that you look at this not as a punishment, but as an opportunity to better yourself — to improve."

Elias shook his head. He, of course, felt dreadful about what he'd done to Peter's painting, but still, even this seemed rather severe. Couldn't his punishment simply be the fact that Peter would never forgive him? It was sad, but then again, Elias had never considered Peter a true friend — more of a companion of circumstance.

"There is no need for you to send me away," Elias said. "I will be doing so willingly when I leave for university in the fall." The thought of attending Cambridge was the one thing that kept his mind at ease under his parents' constant scrutiny and suffocating rules. The knowledge that soon he would be off on his own, having a chance to be himself ... once he was able to figure out who that was ... was his one comfort in the coldness that festered in this household. The walls of his father's study felt as though they were closing in, the moderately sized room suddenly feeling like a closet.

"Do you really think we can allow you to attend one of the country's finest schools with how abysmal your behavior has been of late?" his mother asked with a snide laugh.

Elias's heart felt as though it had turned to stone, the way it so rapidly sank in his chest. "What?"

His father cut in. "Once your behavior is deemed appropriate for a school the caliber of Cambridge, then you will be permitted to return and enroll." He tapped on the pamphlet for the Berghoff School. "That's what this is all about."

Permitted? Elias crumpled the insulting bit of paper in his fist and flew up from his seat, making straight for the door of the study.

"Elias Caldwell, your father and I are not done speaking with you."

Elias did not answer. He pulled the door open and marched down the hall. He and his parents were always at odds with one another, but never before had they stirred this sort of rage in him.

"Elias?" a small voice called after him. His little sister, Samantha, had been standing right outside the study, likely eavesdropping, and was now staring after him with wide blue eyes.

Only then did he consider stopping, but he shook off the impulse and continued. His sister could provide little comfort in that moment. He needed to be alone.

No, that wasn't entirely true. There was still one person who could comfort him.


The Filmmaker

Tyler Forrester framed the shot, hit record, and scanned his surroundings.

His camera lens — the lens through which he viewed the world. It was too difficult thinking of himself as an active participant in his own life. He definitely preferred the idea of being a director, a casual observer who got to call the shots. Then, if things got messy, he could just say "cut" and move on to the next scene.

Life didn't work like that, though. Briar Grove Academy wasn't a film set and there were no second takes. Still, putting a camera between himself and the world around him was comforting. It was a small barrier. A security blanket.

The courtyard at BGA rarely provided any interesting subject matter for his filming. Students rushing off, late to their next class, sparrows and chickadees fluttering about, Mr. Halsley eating an egg salad sandwich (and not doing a great job of keeping his mouth closed).

Tyler paused when he noticed two figures across the way. Vanessa Samuels and Charlie Holt. Widely considered the two most perfect specimens at school — it seemed right that they ended up together. They were wrapped in each other's arms. Vanessa traced her fingertips along one of Charlie's biceps while Charlie twirled a loose strand of Vanessa's strawberry-blond hair.

Tyler sighed. Whenever he spotted couples being all lovey and adorable he couldn't help but imagine how nice it must be to belong to someone. Absently, he zoomed in on them until a dark palm covered his lens.

"Aaaaannnnndddd cut!" his friend Oscar called out behind him. When Tyler turned to face him, Oscar was miming like he had a clapperboard in his hands, as if BGA were some sort of film set.

Embarrassed, Tyler closed the viewing screen on his camcorder. When he turned around he saw their friend Zoe was with him.

Oscar nodded toward Vanessa and Charlie. "So which one are you fantasizing about?"

Tyler had a crush on Vanessa since the fifth grade. It was in seventh grade that he realized he also had a crush on Charlie. He'd officially come out as bi during sophomore year, but even though everyone knew, Oscar and Zoe were still the only people he could comfortably talk to about it. It was lonely being one of only three out queer kids at a prep school in Jersey. That said, Oscar was good at empathizing, being one of only a handful of black students at the school. BGA was pretty starved for diversity.

Tyler shook his head. "Can we please talk about something other than my nonexistent love life?"

Zoe was quick to oblige, pointing to his camcorder. "That thing is looking a little beat up. You should see if Lydia will buy you a new one."

Tyler scoffed. "The Evil Stepmother? Fat chance."

"She may not be the most pleasant person in the world, but she's definitely loaded," Zoe said, running a hand through her cropped blond hair.

Lydia Forrester spent what was left of his father's money on weekly mani-pedis, maids for a house way too large for just one person, oh, and that new SUV she'd treated herself to a few months ago. "I'm not exactly a priority expense on her budget. The only reason she's still paying my tuition for Briar Grove is because it keeps me miles away from her. She's even been trying to get me to trade in my camera for a football ... or something like it ... anything that'll be more likely to get me a college scholarship."

"What?" Oscar laughed. "You mean Lydia doesn't foresee a lucrative career for you as the next Spielberg?"

Tyler shrugged. "Eh. More Spurlock than Spielberg."

He was hoping that would get a chuckle, but neither Zoe's nor Oscar's face showed any sort of reaction. Tyler should've figured no one except him would appreciate good documentarian humor.

"Ah, yes, because the success rate for documentary filmmakers is so much higher," Oscar said. "You do realize you basically just made my point for me, right?"


Excerpted from "The Time Traveler's Guide to Modern Romance"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Madeline J. Reynolds.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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