Score 94+ out of 100 (9.4+ out of 10)
This book is so much fun!
The camaraderie between the young characters is superb, and there's a prevailing sense of adventure that keeps you turning the pages. There's also a fun and empowering sense that anything is possible—that you can go anywhere and do anything.
Although there are stakes (and some frightening alien creatures), it never feels like the characters are ever at risk of being permanently maimed or dying. They are, however, at risk of being stuck in time and not seeing their loved ones again, which serves as the crux of the book.
This is really a fun book and strictly a fun book. It is very friendly and accessible to grade school children and young adults (this is technically a middle-grade book).
It also teaches young readers the importance of not taking for granted what they have in a family and a home. It teaches them to value the time they have with their parents and siblings, even when they can be a headache sometimes.
Let's talk about the characters because they really bring some spice to an already-loaded book. There's Nic, a boy who begins this book as a bit of a downer and gradually transforms into an adventurous and optimistic sort. Nic is more or less the main protagonist of the story, although it is a ensemble cast. There's also Sophia, the smart and spunky little girl who is always trying to talk sense into the others. She's also always among the first to volunteer for dangerous tasks like infiltration missions. Tate might seem like the least memorable of the central characters, but he too can be quite interesting. He is a young man who aspires to be a pilot like his late father. Despite his ambitions, Tate is frequently one of the more apprehensive characters.
But the character who stole our hearts was Zoe. How can you not like Zoe? She's a girl from the future with futuristic knowledge, futuristic technology, and (as the book constantly points out) futuristic clothes based on movies like Back to the Future, which she references. Zoe is a true nerd, an apparent Whovian too.
There's some really awesome world-building in this book too including flying and self-driving cars, quadcopters, jetpacks, implants that give you some special abilities/knowledge but also allow the government to track and influence you. Even the “puffy” fashion style is unique to this world. But perhaps the thing that stuck out to us is the diet of these futuristic people: they love to eat crickets! Fried crickets, boiled crickets, and even chocolate crickets!
Anyway, if you're looking for a book with some lighthearted, time-traveling adventure, fun characters, and good world-building, check out this book!