by Ross Welford
Editor: HarperCollins Publishers UK
“My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty nine and again four years later when he was twelve. The first time had nothing to do with me. The second time definitely did, but I would never even have been there if it hadn’t been for his ‘time machine’…”
When Al Chaudhury discovers his late dad’s time machine, he finds that going back to the 1980s requires daring and imagination. It also requires lies, theft, burglary, and setting his school on fire. All without losing his pet hamster, Alan Shearer…
I received an ARC copy from NetGally in exchange for an honest review.
Hands down one of the best book of 2016! It's funny, it's witty and it's heartbreaking and heart warming at the same.
Even though I got very weird looks out of people when they asked me what I was reading I have to admit that the title captured people's attention and imagination and when they asked about the premises their interest grew.
Our hero Al Chaudlhury grandfather is Indian and his grandmother is white British, this accounts for an interesting background story and a mix of traditions and customs. This also makes him a POC hero which is always needed in YA/Children's books, Al is also funny and has his heart up his sleeve. He is living with his mother and stepfather after his father died at 39. However in a twist of fate Al is given an amazing opportunity when he discovers that his father invented a time traveling machine. Of course no adventure is complete without a loyal sidekick, which in Al's case is his hamster Alan Shearer.
Traveling through time has its pro and cons as Al rapidly discovers and the following is a mix of adventures and misadventures as Al finds his father and tries to save him from an untimely death. I really enjoyed the way Ross Welford presented the time traveling issue and specially human relationships. Sometimes authors keep things simple or make their characters a bit hollow, however in this case I could really connect with Al and I could understand his pain and suffering. As he time travels and interacts with his father it's really heart warming to see them bond with one another.
Al is also very protective of animals and this is an aspect of his personality that comes up multiple times and it's a great message to send out to young readers. There also theme like bullying and family and doing what's right even if it's not what you want to do.
As in every time traveling tale there as twists and dead ends and Al has a very complex adventure layered out in front of him. I wish I could say more but I am afraid I would reveal the plot.
It stands as one of the best books of the year and I easily give it 5 stars.
Cat / Ki
Known bookaholic and writer at weekends. Cat loves books and everything that's related to them. From time to time she has very strong feelings and opinions about books and the world and she likes writes about them (mostly in her blog Encruzilhadas Literárias). She also has a personal GoodReads account and she believes the world is a better place for it (AKA no more repeated books from relatives as gifts). She lives in the UK and can often be found either in Waterstones or the Charity Shops.