From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–Liam Condie, 16, feels like he's going nowhere. His dad is on the dole and spends a lot of time at the local pub, and his mom struggles to keep her son and husband from fighting. Then one day an idea strikes Liam like a bolt of lighting–he and his three mates should start their own band. Soon, Salamander is going to perform in the Battle of the Bands. But as Liam is playing the drums during their performance, a terrible accident sends his spirit spinning back through time to witness another band–one that his parents and a friend started when they were teenagers in 1986. He learns that the drummer, his father's best friend, died that night, and tries to prevent this tragedy. He also uncovers secrets about his own past. Page creates an interesting time-slip novel that addresses questions of what happens when a person meddles in his family's past. As complicated as it is, the author keeps the sophisticated story from being muddled and confusing. The dialogue is peppered with British slang that may not be instantly understandable to American readers, but the unfolding events and revelations Liam makes about his parents will keep older teens hooked.–Anna M. Nelson, Collier County Public Library, Naples, FL
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Gr. 7-10. Sixteen-year-old Liam Murphy lives in a depressed and depressing small English town. Out of boredom, he starts a rock band with some friends and enters a "Battle of the Bands" competition. At the contest, a speaker falls and hits Liam on the head, killing him--or so we think. His ghost travels backward in time 17 years, and he finds himself observing his teenaged parents, who have their own rock band and are also entering a "Battle of the Bands" competition. As in Pete Hautman's Mr. Was
(1996), Page explores the fascinating prospect of a teenage boy changing past history to improve his mother's future life--at the risk of canceling out his own existence. Themes of unrequited love, mistaken paternity, lives sacrificed for one mistake, and the curse of psychic intelligence will engage readers, as will the fast-moving, uncomplicated plot. Suggest William Sleator's Rewind
(1999) for another time-slip adventure or Gary Soto's Afterlife
(2003). Debbie CartonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved