(C) Ages 8-10, (D) Ages 10-12, (E) Ages 12-15, Adventure/Thriller, Book Reviews, Boys, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Starred Reviews
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*Time Sight by Lynne Jonell

A disgruntled boy gifted with “time sight” discovers a way back into his own family’s history.

*Time Sight by Lynne Jonell.  Henry Holt, 2019, 389 pages.


Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12

Recommended for: ages 10-15

“Will wasn’t entirely sure why he was on a plane to Scotland with only his little brother and no parents at all.”  But he isn’t very happy about it.  His mother, away on a medical mission to some disaster-prone, third-world country, has run into some kind of trouble.  Political trouble, maybe involving soldiers and guns.  Now Dad has flown away to try and fix it and Will and Jamie are on their way to the Scottish highlands—an impromptu vacation with his mother’s cousins on the ancient family estate (now tourist attraction) of Castle Menzies.  Little does he suspect a weird talent buried deep in his genetic makeup: while on the ancestral land, he can open windows to other periods of time.  So can anyone touching him, such as his Cousin Nan.  Even more: once they’re in another time, they can, within minutes, pick up the language they’re hearing.  It’s both scary and thrilling, but when Jamie disappears into the late middle ages, it’s a huge problem as well.  Getting him back will take Will and Nan (and the family dog) into layers of family history, with increasing trouble and violence and ethical dilemma.

The time-travel device is a big lump of credibility to swallow,  but once it’s down, the nonstop adventure will keep pages turning.  Will and Nan don’t just go deep into time—they go deep into mankind’s cruelty, violence, superstition, even nobility and faith.  To say it’s an education is an understatement: “Every human soul must learn these things all over again, for themselves.  Love and mercy are gifts of God, but they are gifts that can be discarded.”  While mankind founders in every generation, God remains: a promise of stability and hope at the end of this story, and all stories.

Also by Lynne Jonell: The Sign of the Cat

Cautions: Violence (non-graphic but sometimes disturbing)

Overall Rating: 5 (out of 5)

  • Worldview/moral value: 5
  • Artistic value: 4.75
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