The Time Travelers series by Caroline B. Cooney

 I discovered, while doing this review that I missed book #2 in my reading, so had to go to the library and check it out. It turns out, #2 isn’t vital to understanding the series, which I kind of already knew having read the others. I found the series interesting, and think that they would do well for their target audience, which is approximately grades 6-10. The concept of time travel is dealt with in a different format than I’ve encountered before, and I’m not sure I liked it as well as in other stories, although it was sufficient for the plot.

**** Beware! Spoilers below!****

Book 1- Both Sides of Timeboth-sides-of-time

When Anna Sophia Lockwood gets out of school for the summer she heads for the old Stratton estate to see her boyfriend. While he’s busy working on cars, Annie begins to dream of what things must have been like in 1895 instead of 1995. Soon, her dreams become more and more real until she ‘falls’ through time and meets a young man, Strat, who lived a century earlier. It’s love at first sight, or rather, infatuation. I found this counterintuitive to the author’s apparent agenda to explain the contrasts between gender roles then and gender roles now I felt that if the author was trying to demystify the feminine sex and their ‘limitations’, then throwing in a stereotypical Hollywood teenage romance didn’t mesh. So, that was disappointing and definitely not demystifying. When Annie chooses at the end to act in the best interest of all involved, instead of just herself, you realize that maybe there is some genuine love to their relationship after all.

 prisoner-of-time2Book 2- Prisoner of Time

 

Annie’s brother Tod crosses time to save Strat’s sister, Devonny from a marriage she does not want. Interesting, but not really necessary to the series, and not as fully developed as I think it could have been.

Book 3- Out of Timeout-of-time

Annie Lockwood is scheming of a way to get back across time to see the love of her life, Hiram Stratton.  Apparently, she forgot the selflessness that seemed so important to her at the end of book one. When she finally succeeds in crossing the barriers of time, she sets out to break gender-roles and prove that women can rescue men just as well as the opposite. She swoops in to rescue her true love who is rotting in an insane asylum (can we say prince in a tower waiting for a princess in shining armor?), and very selflessly allows him to leave her in the dust. Not exactly the reverse of your fairytale, since it seems she never ends up with the happily ever after. I really enjoyed the exposé on misconceptions of disabilities and disfigurements that definitely existed well into our own recent history and which still exist in many places of the world. 

 for-all-timeBook 4- For All Time

Annie schemes once again to fall back in time, only this time she’s tried too hard and fallen farther back in time than she ever meant to. All the way back to the time of Egyptian pyramids and elaborate tomb burials. At the same time Strat, who has managed to escape his evil father’s clutches, realizes that he may not be able to escape unless he too can travel through time. He and Annie must really be connected by love, because he shows up in the ancient Egyptian ruins at the perfect time, to resurrect the traditional fairytale plot. Only, once again, it appears there will be no happily ever after. Yet, the end leaves you hanging enough that you can concoct one of your own if you so desire.

 A fun series, definitely trying to debunk some myths about the capabilities of women and the restrictions of past eras. And yet, at the same time largely perpetuating the myth that relationships are all about physical attraction. The last book does a better job of moving things to a different level, but I was left a bit unsatisfied by the ending that leaves you hanging. Of course, I like neatly trimmed and wrapped packages too. . .

On the whole, I recommend the series. I think the questions it raises are worth the time it takes to read. There’s enough action packed adventure, that the romance is only a small undercurrent, even if it is a major key to the plot. I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed these even more as a teenager back when I didn’t know as much about life and love. What are your thoughts on writing for teenagers about love?

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “The Time Travelers series by Caroline B. Cooney

  1. I too have never read “The Time Travelers” series. They sound interesting and clever. Teenagers “in love” has always been a unanswered question to me. Even as a teenager I wondered, are teenagers really in love (in the true meaning of the word) or is it just infatuation with attraction whether physical or emotional?

    It would be nice if some teenage “love” books focused on sharing the things that build true love such as;

    Service, selflessness, harmony, forgiveness, saying I’m sorry, sacrifice, ACTs of kindness (like fun filled dates), and doing things for others without thought of secondary gain.

    Of couse such a book would not be a bestseller amoung teenagers but it might shed some light on what could make them happy as adults.

  2. Kailana- I had never heard of this series either, but I’m usually hooked once I start a story- especially if the whole series is out already. I love it when I don’t have to wait months or years for the ‘next’ one to come out.

    Fulano- Teenage love is kind of an enigma, isn’t it? Sometimes I wonder how many of us grownups know the true meaning of love. I remember discussing this in High School A.P. English. I’ve never forgotten the definition for love we all finally agreed on, “Love is an unconditional commitment to another’s well-being.” I’m rather impressed that a bunch of teenagers were able to come up with that one. I guess they deserve more credit than most people give them- even maybe in the literary world.

    Who knows, maybe such a book as you suggest would do better than we think- as long as it could get past the editors and publishers and into the public eye.

    Sometimes the classics, though, are great reference points. I think the Anne of Green Gables series does a great job of covering a whole gamut of ‘love’ stories- from teenie-bopper heart throb love to hit me over the head with a two-by-four after years of friendship love.

    Thanks for the thoughts!

  3. Whenever I think of teen love I can’t help, but think of Romeo and Juliet and Westside Story. Star-crossed lovers indeed! I think a lot of teens, especially girls, and even adults want to believe in the love at first sight, infatuation thing. Love has many levels, friendship, passion, lust. I think the danger is when anyone teen or adult basis their decisions on love lust. I’ve seen teens heart broken over a lost boyfriend or a boy they knew for 1 day. As a teen I thought that was weird and as an adult a little scary. Although I do know several people who married their high school sweetheart and their relationships are built on more than lust.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s