Genres: Action & Adventure, Time Travel, Young Adult
Series: Loop #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on 10/21/14
At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.
After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.
Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.
But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.
Look at that cover! Isn’t that a pretty pink cover with two people kissing? So wouldn’t you think, from the cover and the tagline (“An accident forced them together. Will time tear them apart?”) that this is going to be a time-travel romance? I did! But it is SO SO SO much more! And I loved it!
The cover doesn’t lie, per se. Bree and Finn, the main characters, are from different times. Bree lives in the 23rd century, where time travel is an accepted norm. Finn lives in the 21st century, where no one (to his knowledge) time travels. And Bree really does accidentally travel back in time and meets Finn, and really does accidentally bring him back to the 23rd century. But personally, I thought the main plot of the book was more about Bree trying to save her mother and fix her mistake than about falling about love.
You see, Bree’s mom is in a coma, and Bree’s scholarship position at time-travel boarding school is in jeopardy after she breaks a major time-travel rule. (Yes! We also get boarding school in this book!) She falls in with a bad guy who offers to pay her mom’s medical bills if Bree will run an errand for him in the past. Of course, students are forbidden from “going rogue” during time-travel trips, because of the fear that they could alter the past and impact the future (present?). But Bree is desperate. I really admired Bree: her mom is in a coma, and everyone, like even the newspapers and politicians, are saying that her mom is at fault for her coma. They use the word “tink” to describe her mom, which is like using a racial slur today. Bree is already kind of an outcast at school because her mom is a single mom and she’s on scholarship; now her mom is accused of breaking a time-travel rule and is in a coma… life is not great for Bree. I admire that she never gives up or gives in. There’s not a single moment in the book where she accepts defeat or pity. She’s always looking for solutions to her problems, and trying to be a good friend and a good person.
When Bree accepts the task from the bad guy and travels back in time to do his errand and makes a mistake, she immediately starts trying to fix it. Along the way, she’ll uncover clues that lead her to believe that her mom’s coma was not an accident, and that she, too, is in danger. Most of the book follows Bree and Finn as they try to unravel the mystery without getting caught and without getting hurt. I felt like the romantic development was just a side product, and not the main focus. I would totally hand this book to both guys and girls, because Finn plays a cool role in the book. Could you imagine being transported from our time to the 23rd century? He’s just as fascinated with how everything from locks to cars work in the future as I would be!
I often worry, going into books that contain time travel, that I’ll get confused or lost with all the “present tense me” and “future me” and “what century are we in again?” I can happily report that I was never once lost or confused while reading Loop! I think Karen Akins does a great job with subtle reminders from the characters’ actions and dialog as to which century they were in, and how their actions will affect other times. I love that she worked in a “Doctrine of Inevitability” to explain why they are able to travel to the past without seeing major changes in their present.
I was only left with one burning question at the end, but I know that there’s a sequel due out soon. I’ll just have to read Twist to find out what happens next!