Time Between Us

9781423159568

Title: Time Between Us

Author: Tamara Ireland Stone

Release Date: Available

They shouldn’t be together. The rules of time say so. But when Bennett Cooper appears in Anna Greene’s life from out of nowhere (so it seems), she can’t make herself push him away. She lives in Evanston, Illinois in 1995. In his present, he should be in 2012, in San Francisco, California. But Bennett can travel through space, time, or both, and when he arrives in Evanston in 1995, Anna has no idea he doesn’t belong.

Anna has never traveled outside of Illinois before. In Bennett, she finds not only a gateway to the world, but also a gateway to love. However, with Bennett’s extraordinary gift comes secrets and choices, and Anna must decide if she is prepared to join him in his special yet challenging life.

This is just the simple premise of a much deeper, more intriguing book that won my interest, my emotions, and the day I spent captivated while reading it. Time Between Us combines elements of other iconic books and authors, while creating something beautifully unique. The time travel love story reminded me of The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger; the writing style and plot progression was reminiscent of Sarah Dessen’s wonderful young adult novels; and the nuanced symbols and metaphors reflected John Green. Don’t get me wrong, however – this book is entirely its own, with a distinctive, creative plot and intriguing characters.

As the story unfolds, readers connect to all the characters in the book; Anna, Bennett, Anna’s parents, Bennett’s grandmother, and Anna’s school friends are all perfectly developed. They all feel like real people, with both strengths and flaws.

Not only did I love the book, but I loved the opportunity to meet author Tamara Ireland Stone at a Book Passage event. After hearing her answer questions, I got the chance to have a chat with her about her writing. She was kind, engaging, and inspiring; it was lovely to be able to meet the creator of this wonderful book-world in real life and I was thrilled at how open and likeable she was, and how willing she was to connect with the young adult readers at the event.

Time Between Us is indeed a young adult romance novel, told from a female point of view, so I doubt it would appeal to a great variety of readers. However, for those who like romance, this is a new, fresh story that is beautiful, captivating, and thought provoking. It was one of those books that I had to read all the way through right away, because I was dying to know the ending. This is Tamara Ireland Stone’s first novel, and I was thrilled to learn she is working on her second. Time Between Us was a pleasure to read, and I encourage fans of the romance genre to give it a try! I’m certain you’ll find yourself as immersed in Anna and Bennett’s relationship as I was!

P.S. After you read the book, head over to its website for extra tidbits about Anna, Bennett, the places they travel, a book trailer, and a playlist of the music they listen to throughout the story!

And don’t forget to check out the write-up of Tamara Ireland Stone’s most recent Book Passage visit!

Review by Katie

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The Here and Now

The Here and now

Title: The Here and Now

Author: Ann Brashares

Release Date: Available

In Ann Brashares’ bleak vision of the future, humanity has been near extinguished thanks to a mosquito-borne virus that’s decimated the population and left the rest in ruins. Facing extinction, the only hope of survival lies in the past —  in attempting to somehow prevent the future before it occurs.

Prenna James belongs to the group of survivors sent back in time — strong-willed and stubborn, Prenna finds it difficult to consistently comply with the strict and structured rules of her community. While the survivors have assimilated into present day society, due to the inherent risks, contact outside of the community is kept to a minimum and relationships are strictly prohibited. For Prenna, this rule is made infinitely more complicated by her classmate and friend, Ethan Jarves, who, unbeknownst to Prenna, has a few secrets of his own. But despite the complications plaguing her life, things don’t truly start spiraling out of control until a seemingly insane homeless man confronts Prenna, not just aware of where and when she comes from, but aware of the date that changes everything.

With that information in hand and with the threat of humanity’s existence hanging over her head, Prenna and Ethan are left trying to fit the pieces together, to make sense of the ambiguity and obscurity and determine the cataclysmic event that could change and save the future.

Overall, I found The Here and Now to be enjoyable and compelling and unique. I loved the glimpses Brashares’ gave of the apocalyptic future, as well as the snippets of history that lead up to the disaster — it was plausible and interesting and I wish there’d been the opportunity to learn more about the world Prenna came from. Retrospectively, the time travel angle gets a bit messy and confusing and paradoxical in terms of the various branching timelines that occur, and I wish I could have learned more about the science and details and explanations — but I also understand how complicated and tricky such explanations can be. As for the characters — I thought Prenna and Ethan were both well developed and complex, and in particular, I thought Ethan was engaging and interesting, however some of the supporting cast lacked dimension and falls a little flat in comparison.

While The Here and Now is primarily marketed as a ‘forbidden romance’, I think that label is a little misleading. Yes, the romance between Ethan and Prenna grows and develops and is an important part of the plot, but it doesn’t dominate the story and is, in my opinion, far less significant than their primary challenge to save the future. Both plot lines are given equal attention, and support the other, and I appreciated that the romance was important and relevant without overwhelming the rest of the story — the balance between the two was perfectly executed.

Considering the overwhelming numbers of young adult novels that are beginning to blur and fade into one another, Ann Brashares has presented something new and captivating, with innovative details and compelling characters. A quick, but entertaining read.

Review by Kayla

Order The Here and Now from Book Passage

A Visit From Tamara Ireland Stone

February 28th, MB14 was treated to a visit with the author of Time Between Us and Time After Time, Tamara Ireland Stone. The meeting started out like any other, some milling around, some snacking — then settling in for the usual chat, including updates on current reads and brief reviews on said books.

With Tamara at the table, the conversation soon shifted from the customary discussion into talking about Time Between Us and Time After Time, as well as learning more about Tamara’s writing habits, path to publishing, and upcoming projects.

For those unfamiliar, Time Between Us and Time After Time tell the story of Anna and Bennett, two teenagers whose story is separated by seventeen years, only made possible by Bennett’s ability to travel through time (you can also click over here to check out MB14’s review of Time Between Us).

Time Between Us is told from Anna’s perspective, and Time After Time, it’s sequel/companion book, provides additional information and the rest of the story told through Bennett’s point of view.

While chatting with us, Tamara talked about how in writing both books, her primary goal was to examine the choices people make, the consequences of those actions, and how those experiences affect someone’s life, explored through the decisions Anna and Bennett make as they attempt to stay together across a seemingly unconquerable distance.

Tamara also shared with us her experience writing both books, telling us about how Time Between Us was written, really whenever she could grab a spare moment as handwritten snippets and brief scenes written out on the iPhone’s Notepad app.

She also showed us some of the foreign editions of Time Between Us, redesigned with different covers, different blurbs, even a few with slightly varying titles. Some of the various interpretations featured Anna with different hair color, in a variety of dramatic poses — the Italian edition took things one step farther with Anna kissing shirtless-Bennett, hovering several feet off the ground. So that’s an interesting twist.

Afterwards, Tamara spent a little bit of time telling us about her upcoming novel, one that sounds pretty amazing but isn’t due for quite some time  – so we’ll keep an eye out for that.

The evening concluded like it began, with some last minute small talk and milling around while Tamara signed copies of her books. All in all, we were thrilled to have Tamara stop by and take the time to answer all our questions, as well as the interesting and insightful conversation. Hopefully we’ll see Tamara again soon, and in the meantime, can’t wait to find out more about her newest project.

Click here to order Time Between Us and Time After Time