My mom often prompted me to watch things that I now see were glaringly not for children. That is how I came to watch Peggy Sue Got Married and Somewhere in Time somewhere between the ages of ten and twelve. With my mom. To her credit, I developed a mature and rather blasé attitude about sex in film that has stood me well in life, but since we aren’t French or European, or even from a particularly educated background, I feel it made me a rather odd and unsettling child to other parents in our small Southern town. But I digress. These films inspired in me a lifelong fascination with time travel. I don’t care if the science makes sense. I don’t care if there are bodices ripping (though I’m good with that, too). I just want to be swept away. Return Once More definitely gave me that escape, and I’m not going to tell you it is another Outlander, but if you, too, have a secret penchant for time travel, this is one book you should add to your TBR list. It is a Bloomsbury Spark read, so it is only available as an ebook (boo/hiss), but that also means this little gem rings in at under four dollars, and I would consider it money well spent.
If you could learn the identity of your one true love—even though you will never meet— would you?
Years have passed since refugees from a ruined earth took to space, eventually settling a new system of planets. Science has not only made the leaps necessary to allow time travel, but the process engineered a strange side effect—predicting your one true love.
If you could save your one true love from an untimely death, would you be able to resist?
Sixteen-year-old Kaia Vespasian is an apprentice to the Historians—a group charged with using time travel to document the triumphs and failures of the past—and she can’t resist a peek at her long-dead soul mate in Ancient Egypt. Before she knows it, she’s broken every rule in the book, and the consequences of getting caught could destroy more than just her new romance.
Or would you have the strength to watch him die?
But when Kaia notices a fellow classmate snooping around in a time where he doesn’t belong, she suspects he has a secret of his own—and the conspiracy she uncovers could threaten the entire universe. If her experience has taught her anything, to changing history means facing the consequences. The Historians trained her to observe and record the past, but Kaia never guessed she might have to protect it— in a race across time to save her only chance at a future.
I really, really enjoyed this book. Time travel enthusiasts and fans of true love will want to snap it up. The concept is pretty awesome, and there is something for a wide range of readers – love and drama, conspiracy and corruption, and history (not the boring stuff either). Kia is a great guide through this journey. While her choices are sometimes questionable, few readers will fault the motivations – love, loyalty, and the code of conduct that guides her society. I think she is representative of many YA readers who will pick this up because she is at that moment when independence asserts itself and it is time to question the things you have been taught. She definitely brings home the message that decisions should be purposeful. The romance in this book, while tame enough for younger readers, is engaging even if it does have a whiff of insta-love about it. I think the idea of a “True” love match somewhere in the sands of time will be appealing and intriguing to many readers. The plot is well paced to develop the intrigue and the concept that are central to the story. This was a plausible explanation of time travel and an interesting speculation about the future. There were a few minor lulls, but they are quickly forgotten in the action. I did struggle with what the ending really meant, but it was a nice hook to guarantee I’ll be waiting for the next book. I particularly liked the message in this book – every moment in a person’s life is a step towards their final destination and can hold significance. I think my high school readers will enjoy this book, and it is definitely going on my classroom library wish list, but adult readers of YA shouldn’t dismiss it either – especially those who are time travel fans initiated too early into the genre by being talked into watching films with Christopher Reeves at his loveliest or Nick Cage at his most awkward. Language and situations are appropriate for middle and high school readers.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.