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Author: Mary Cunningham

Illustrator: Nathalie Moore, cover art

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Publisher: Echelon Press,

Material: paperback

Summary: Summer has arrived. Cynthia and Agusta (or Gus, as she prefers), twelve-year-old friends, are determined to make it anything but boring. When they decide to go exploring in Cynthia's attic, they embark on a journey that takes them back to 1914 and a chance to step into the lives of their grandmothers, who were twelve years old in 1914. This is a fantasy adventure with time travel as its key element.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 10 and up

Interest Level: 8 to 13

Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: Two teens reviewed this book.
Reviewer 1: This book is a very well-written adventure story. It skillfully combines suspense, humor, and truth into a well-rounded tale of two girls. The characters are very realistically created, and descriptions are cleverly woven into the text, which contribute to the quality of the writing. The ideas and fantasies in the book are fresh and innovative, and will surely capture the interest of young readers, especially those from 9- to 13-years old.
Reviewer 2: This book had both positive and negative aspects for me. The characters are complex and well developed. By setting up contrasting protagonists, the author injects a lot of excitement and intrigue. Although Cynthia and Gus are opposites, this actually makes the novel so much more fun and fast-paced. They can rely on each other, and the relationship is as delicious as the plot twists. The author's writing style is descriptive and easy to read. Unlike some other books, this novel is concise and to the point. On the other hand, I never quite enjoyed fantasy, even though I love historical fiction. This story does not seamlessly weave the two genres, and book buffs who love either fantasy or historical fiction may be left wanting more. I do wish that the author stuck to a more realistic plotline. There was too much fantasy for me, which detracted from the historical aspects.

Adult Reader Reaction: This was an enjoyable read. The parallels between each pair of girls, three generations apart, made a nice complement to the time travel.

Pros: Overall, this is an exciting and fascinating contribution to the world of fantasy. The story moves quickly. It is a fun, wholesome fantasy. It isn't easy to put down ... and you can read it in one evening.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a book that will get multiple readings, and you're likely to find additional hints every time.


Educational Themes: Although light on actual history, the book offers opportunities for kids to create their own story about what they think life was like … or as a means of interviewing elders about times past.

Literary Categories: Fiction - fantasy, adventure, science fiction, middle grade series, mystery, time travel

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2006

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