This book is billed as The Time Traveller’s Wife meets Friday Night Lights, and that is true to some degree. I think it will appeal more to those who enjoy time/space romances than someone looking for a small town tale of football. I certainly enjoyed it, but I am a time travel nut, so . . .
Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.
Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.
That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.
Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.
I thought this was a very compelling read. Natalie is a character who has a lot to offer. She is working desperately to find her true self in the last months before leaving her family and friends for college life. She views herself as an outsider, feelings that are the result of being an adopted kid who has tried assimilating into the crowd only to feel she lost something vital. While the cause may not be universal, the feelings she is experiencing will be familiar to many readers. The twist here is a mysterious condition that gives her waking dreams of being visited by “others.” It is an intriguing hook, and it wanted to fall down the rabbit hole and search for answers with her. The plot is well developed to maintain suspense and develop relationships between the characters. It certainly kept me reading past my bedtime! The romantic element is mysterious and full of enough drama to please most romance fans, and while there is certainly attraction, readers aren’t forced to endure graphic scenes of sensuality, which means I can add it to my classroom library and share it with my high school readers. The science is science, and some of it went over my head, but for the most part, it was easy enough to follow for those who aren’t STEM girls. I liked the idea of parallel dimensions, and the author was careful to make enough distinctions that it was easy to move between them as a reader. I did struggle with the ending, as I think many readers will, but I enjoyed the journey enough to accept the destination without too much fuss – I just want to discuss it with someone now! I think this book will appeal to a wide age range, and a diverse set of readers. It is going on my classroom library wish list and is appropriate for high school readers.
I received an ARC from the publisher via Eidelweiss in exchange for an honest review.