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Goodreads Summary- Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, even his own mother can’t remember his name. And girls? The invisible man gets more dates.
As if that weren’t enough, when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don’t take him seriously.
Still, this isn’t all bad. In fact, there’s this girl, another time traveler, who not only remembers his name, but might even like him! Unfortunately, Yvaine carries more than her share of baggage: like a baby boy and at least two ex-boyfriends! One’s famous, the other’s murderous, and Charlie doesn’t know who is the bigger problem.
When one kills the other — and the other is nineteen year-old Ben Franklin — things get really crazy. Can their relationship survive? Can the future? Charlie and Yvaine are time travelers, they can fix this — theoretically — but the rules are complicated and the stakes are history as we know it.
And there's one more wrinkle: he can only travel into the past, and she can only travel into the future!
It's funny because when I was asked to read this novel for review and received a finished copy of the book (THANK YOU) I thought I was reading a middle grade novel. And the illustrations inside would let you think that, but don't hand this to your middle grade kid until you read it first. I was actually going to put off reading it but the weather was bleh, so I opened it up and I just kept reading. I had no idea this novel would be so captivating and such an adventure and it was definitely YA, mature YA.
It starts with Charlie, a loner, who no one can remember. His mother can't even remember his name. There are post its all over the house reminding her of his name. And then there are his aunt and father who travel all the time and are home two weeks at his birthday and two weeks in October. Til the year the police raid the house and his dad and aunt inexplicably disappear from a locked room with windows locked from the inside. And they don't return. Charlie isn't only unnoticed by his mother, no one notices him. Not the girls at school, the teachers, no one. But he's not really one to whine or complain. He seems to be very smart and his father is always bringing him books on history to read and telling him, "Man is not God." They aren't overly religious so Charlie's not really sure what he means. He does find out!
Charlie gets a crash course in time travel when he falls through a time hole created by one of the "bad guys" a Tick-Tock. He drops into 1725 London and promptly gets his pockets picked by the lovely Yvaine. I love the way time travel works in Untimed. If you fall from the 21st century into the 18th century, your clothing changes with you along with your money and Charlie's iPhone changed into a notepad and pencil. It was like that everywhere he went. Now that's the way to time travel. Of course, he didn't automatically have a place to stay and his house wasn't in London so those complexities still remained, but Charlie did pretty well thinking on his feet.
Yvaine probably had it the roughest because girls only travel forward in time. So she couldn't experience something that she was familiar with. Everything she experienced was weirdly new to her especially advances in technology or medicine. But she was really a tough girl. She's got a conundrum in London as to whether or not she can leave and Andy Gavin really makes the reader think hard about what she has to leave behind in order to help Charlie.
The action is fast paced. There is always something going on. No lazing about in one century or another. There is always something after the, trying to catch up with Charlie's dad and aunt or trying to right a wrong. The pacing of the book is fast and nothing is overdone. There is something for the history buff in there, the action lover, the time traveler, the romance lover, the adrenaline junkie. I felt like I was on a roller coaster, my adrenaline was pumping especially towards the end waiting for a rescue. Yvaine and Charlie together are a perfect match. She's smarter than him, but I think he's just a wee bit more in love with her than she is with him so it makes him a bit more cautious and protective.
As I said, this is for a mature YA reader. There is sex, suggestive talk, mention of rape, 18th century descriptions of sex. None of it is gratuitous or overdone. You be the judge.
I highly recommend this series and will be looking for the next in this series! I sequestered myself in my room all day so I could read the book in one day but I had to read it over two days. There's just a lot of information to absorb.
Thanks to Tribute Books and Andy Gavin for the finished copy of the book for review. I was not compensated for it in any way.
Andy Gavin Bio- Andy Gavin is a serial creative, polymath, novelist, entrepreneur, computer programmer, author, foodie, and video game creator. He co-founded video game developer Naughty Dog and co-created Crash Bandicoot andJak & Daxter. He started numerous companies, has been lead programmer on video games that have sold more than forty million copies, and has written two novels.
His first book, The Darkening Dream, has been well-received by fans and critics alike. Publisher’s Weekly called it “gorgeously creepy, strangely humorous, and sincerely terrifying.” Untimed is an even more ambitious follow-up. It is a lavish production with a cover by acclaimed fantasy artist Cliff Nielsen and twenty-one full page interior illustrations by Dave Phillips.
(he created Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter!!!)
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