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Time Runs Away With Her Paperback – September 30, 2015
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To those of you who were alive in 1970, welcome back. To those of you who weren’t, just welcome. You’re going to love it here. Pour yourself a cup of hot cocoa. It’s cold outside. Snow is falling. It’s time to line the needle up to your favorite track on the latest Grateful Dead album and melt away the present day.
Meet Rebecca—that’s “Bean” to her friends and peers. She’s sixteen years old, living the difficult life with her single mom “Juuulia,” learning to sing and play guitar without lessons, yearning for a little encouragement and love. There is a chance for love, she supposes, in the odd, long-haired art student named Zak. Her best friend and partner in high school harmonies, meanwhile, is Suzanne, who happens to have the coolest mom ever. A mom who would never kick her out of her house in the middle of the night at the beginning of a snow storm. Suzanne has a boyfriend, too: Blair, the local track star with the regular pocket joint and the unnerving, ever-shifting eyes. Bean yearns, too, to attend the exclusive, too-expensive Deerwood academy where her mother had once been a straight-A student—back when her mother had been rich, before the family had ostracized her, before Juuulia’d entered into a marriage seemingly predestined for divorce … and had Bean.
But, boy, our girl can play guitar. She really can. With the help of Suzanne and her new friend Samantha, she might even get her singing where it needs to be, too. She feels a guilty pleasure that Zak considers her a “troublemaker,” as well, but she knows better. There’s just this … one thing.
Bean’s a time traveler, you see. Not that she can control it—and that’s a problem. And things in the little town of Stormkill are about to get very interesting.
In TIME RUNS AWAY WITH HER, Christine Potter serves up a book for young adults, teens, and grownups alike. Fans of realistic and dramatic fiction will find themselves well-served by the poignant and awkward day-to-day struggles Bean faces, as well as by the spot-on historical references, the perfect blend of nostalgia and edginess. Fans of the paranormal will be swept up in the mysteries of Bean’s oddity, the ghosts of a town’s past shrouded by dark rumors.
And then, of course, there’s the romance. It’s both real and sweet, textured by the difficulties of growing up, complicated by the unpredictable intrusions of Bean’s uncontrolled gift—and threatened by … But, no. That would be telling.
At the outset of this story, one really does want to get comfortable on the couch with a hot beverage, but be warned—there’s something unsafe here, as the story wheels towards several resolutions at once. Not all of them are easy. But, in the end, they are very, very satisfying.
TIME RUNS AWAY WITH HER is a deceptively simple story. But by the time it’s over, the reader realizes with a goofy smile just how deftly Potter juggled all of the subtle elements that ultimately converge with a climactic and dramatic crash, rendering an artful tale at once uplifting, heartbreaking, fascinating, and unique.
There’s time travel, too. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with this element, or how smoothly Potter would be able to zing Bean back and forth without it being clunky. But she pulled it off. I never felt her pulling the author strings. Rather it felt like an organic part of the story and each scene back in time was a puzzle piece that was nicely completed by novel’s end.
I related to so many things: Bean’s frosty, troubled mom and how the two of them had to make it work since the divorce. The overlarge drafty house that was lonely when Bean’s mom was at work. Bean’s friends: lovely Susanne in a too – fast, too-open relationship with her boyfriend Blair, and Sam, Bean’s flaky but feisty friend who seems to have it all, attending Deerwood Academy, an upper crusty local boarding school. Bean’s mom, Julia attended Deerwood but Bean’s family couldn’t afford to send her. Understandably, Bean is in turns fascinated and critical of the school when she goes there to visit Sam. And finally, there is Bean’s disgust and fear regarding unwanted attention from a guy whose creepy eyes and attention stay on her way too long. Highly recommended for teens who are curious about the infamous 1970s, and for those who love music, time travel and the high-spirited journey of a very endearing couple.
Bean was such an interesting protagonist. Her reactions to all of the truly bizarre things that happen to her were the perfect blend of curiosity and apprehension. Both of these emotions suited her personality well. I wouldn’t have expected anything else from her, especially the first few times that she suddenly found herself flung into the past. While I don’t know if Ms. Potter is planning to write a sequel, I enjoyed this character so much that I would be excited to hear from her again if the author ever decides to revisit this universe.
It took quite a while for any clues about what was happening to Bean. I would have really liked to have a few of them earlier on in the plot. Waiting so long to share them slowed down the pacing at times because of how much energy the narrator needed to reserve in order to keep dancing around this topic. It also made it difficult for me to tell if this was supposed to be a mystery, a science fiction novel, or something that was a little of both until I was well more than halfway through it.
The dialogue made me feel like I was actually living in the 1970s. It included some slang terms from that era that I’d never actually heard of before. Needing to look them up and then realizing that they were actually very common words back then made me like the dialogue as a whole even more than I had already. Not only was it genuine, it was a lot of fun to read!
I’d recommend Time Runs Away With Her to anyone who likes unique time travel stories.
originally posted at long and short reviews