Tag Archives: sci-fi

When You Reach Me

by Rebecca Stead
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars

Category: Mystery

Personal Evaluation: I was a big fan of A Wrinkle in Time as a kid (and basically everything else Madeleine L’Engle ever wrote) so I love that it was the basis of this book. As I said in my review of Frozen in Time, I also loved time travel growing up. This was the most wonderful combination of time travel and puzzle. I did not figure this one out before the main characters, but when they did I was right with them. That is a hard balance to strike – how to reveal the clues so that it’s not too early and not too late. I read enough mystery books where the ending made no sense or the solution depended on some information that was never given, so the reader was never really given a chance to solve it on their own, so for a long time I hated traditional “mystery” books. I can’t honestly say I would have totally understood this book as a kid, though. I’d have to talk to some kids who read it and see what they thought.

What might interest children: Time travel, puzzle, A Wrinkle in Time – really, what’s not to love? Some kids would also enjoy the relationship dynamics that play out between Miranda and Sal. It’s also a glimpse into an urban world, for kids who do not have that experience.

Frozen in Time

by Ali Sparkes
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

Category: Fantasy / Sci Fi

Personal Evaluation: I love time travel books. I am so completely fascinated by the concept and have read tons of them. I love how different they all are in one aspect or another and how authors can be so sure that their way is how it would really happen – like in The Time Traveler’s Wife, that of course he couldn’t take any money with him, or in Back to the Future that of course he can have an impact on the future and maybe even prevent himself from being born. There are so many unknowns that it’s really fun to see how someone else would interpret the consequences of every little thing. Disclaimer: While this isn’t strictly time travel, it may as well be for how different the world is that Polly and Freddy wake up in. I was pretty anxious the whole time I was reading about the underground vault, sure that Rachel and Ben would be shut in it too.

What might interest children: I liked that Polly and Freddy are from the same time period that my parents grew up in. Possibly for kids today that is their grandparents, so maybe that would be interesting to them and spark some inter-generational conversations. I think kids would like reading about their own lifestyles under a magnifying glass to people who are alien to it. The kids are also British, which adds an extra layer of outsider-ness to it for American kids. And of course the cryogenics, and the mystery of what happened to Freddy and Polly, are gripping.

Anna to the Infinite Power

by Mildred Ames
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

Category: Fantasy / Sci Fi

Personal Evaluation: This was the favorite book of a friend of mine who is not a big reader. Something about it latched onto his imagination and hooked him. I thought it was good and kind of reminded me of a childhood favorite of mine, The Girl With the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts. The similarities include the elements of the girl protagonist finding out she is different from her peers because of a science experiment or accident and that there is a small group of other kids just like her. However, this book is a bit creepy because there is a character that strikes Anna as a bit off somehow, but it turns out that she just sees right through Anna and is a better intellectual match for her than her own family.

What might interest children: It’s a page-turner and really makes you think about science, the government, cloning, lying, family relationships, and decisions grownups make.