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A Time Apart Paperback – June 19, 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Paperback, June 19, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her first novel, consummate picture-book biographer Stanley (Joan of Arc) proves she is virtually as adept at creating fictional characters as she is at chronicling the lives of real people. Her premise here sounds complicated and even contrived; to her credit, it unfolds with ease. When Ginny's mother is diagnosed with breast cancer and faced with treatment, the 13-year-old is hastily shipped out from her home in Houston to England to join her professor fatherAlong divorced, he has had little contact with Ginny. Her father is helping head up an experimental archeology project: he and various colleagues and volunteers have re-created an Iron Age village. Ginny is handed homespun clothes, advised to brush her teeth with a hazel twig and thrown into community life. Intelligent and compassionate, Ginny finds ways to cope with the deprivations, both material and emotional. Stanley makes the Iron Age-related challenges (such as finding the right clay to make cooking pots) as compelling as Ginny's emotions, and the protagonist always seems lifelike. The only missteps come when Ginny runs away from the projectAit's hard to suspend disbelief when she, shoeless, penniless and clad in her bizarre clothing, finds her way safely to her dad's vacated London apartment. This sequence aside, the novel gives readers a chance to savor exotic experiences along with the challenges of coming of age. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-Best known for her picture-book biographies, Stanley shoehorns more story ideas into her first novel than it comfortably holds. When her divorced mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, 13-year-old Ginny suddenly finds herself en route to England, where her uncommunicative, seldom-seen father is helping to run a reconstructed Iron Age settlement. Though she adapts readily to the homespun clothing, hard labor, and near total lack of modern amenities, her mother's rare and uninformative letters leave her in anguished suspense. Finally, she sneaks off to London, makes her own way back to Houston, and, after her father catches up, gets an ugly eyeful of her once-robust mother in the midst of heavy chemo. Then, it's off to England for several more months, until her mother is well enough to take her back. Competent, sensible, and wiser than either of her parents, Ginny makes an admirable protagonist, capable both of raising the primitive community's culinary standards and of convincing her mother and father that she doesn't need to be sheltered from the family ordeal. The unusual setting, and several sharp emotional climaxes, will engage readers, but all the comings and goings leave too little room to flesh out the supporting cast, and the author only fitfully succeeds in making the dangers and discomforts of Iron Age life palpable.
John Peters, New York Public Library
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (July 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380810301
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380810307
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,893,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Diane Stanley is the author and illustrator of more than fifty books for children, noted especially for her series of picture book biographies. SHAKA: KING OF THE ZULUS was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; LEONARDO DA VINCI received the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction from the National Council for Teachers of English. Ten of her books have been honored as "Notable Books" by the American Library Association and she has twice received both the Boston Globe/Hornbook Award and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' Golden Kite Award. She is the recipient of the Washington Post/Children's Book Guild Award for Nonfiction for the body of her work.

She lives in Santa Fe, NM. Visit her website at dianestanley.com.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A Time Apart is a captivating story about 13 year old Ginny Dorris. When school lets out, Ginny is looking forward to a summer of relaxation and drama camp. Then, when Ginny finds out her mother has cancer, she is packed off to live with a father she barely knows who is conducting an Iron Age progect in England. Ginny finds herself living with a group of strangers in a replicated Iron Age farm, cut off from modern life. As Ginny struggles to keep her mind off her mother and get along with her father (not to mention the rest of the Iron Age community), she discovers that living in the Iron Age isn't as bad as she expected it to be, and even finds herself reluctant to leave. A Time Apart is a beautifully written book. The author describes Iron Age life vividly, so that you have a clear picture of the community in your head throughout the entire book. Unlike many other books, this one never has a dull moment; I often had trouble putting it down. The bottom line is, this book's a winner. Try as I might, I can't find any flaws with it.
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A Kid's Review on March 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I just finished A Time Apart and I loved it. It's about a girl named Ginny who is sent to live with her father in England while her mother recovers from cancer treatment. When she gets there, she finds out that she and her father will be living on a farm modeled after Iron Age villiages with no electricity, modern tools, or contact with the outside world. The book shows how she is slowly adapting to her new life and finding a different side to her father from the one she knew. I really enjoyed this book. I would recommend it kids/teens ages 11-14.
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Format: Paperback
Considering the popular "reality TV" shows, and the experiments of living in earlier times in programs like "Victorian House," this book should be flying off the shelves. It is the story of Ginny, a thirteen-year-old girl from Houston, whose parents are divorced. When her mother has to undergo chemotherapy, Ginny is sent to England, where her father is working at a university. Expecting to spend a comfortable summer in London as a visiting professor's daughter, Ginny is shocked to discover that she will join him at his "project" of living in a Celtic Iron Age village. If Ginny finds it hard to be enthusiastic about living with 14 strangers in one wattle and daub roundhouse, she is even less pleased with the primitive foods and her "job" as the baby sitter for 5-year-old Daisy.

The book is well researched and historically accurate, and the backdrop of Celtic culture is fascinating. Additionally, the skills Ginny acquires in living the Celtic life, and the need to reflect on the stark differences between Iron Age and modern life help her to find her own balance. This book is a refreshing change of pace from most young adult literature, which suffers from a current rash of brutally accurate coming-of-age books and escapist magic-drenched fiction. I highly recommend this book, whether for enjoyment, school, or youth reading circles; it poses a variety of issues for consideration.
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