It’s that time of the month again – Fiction in 50 kicks off on Monday! To participate, just create a piece of fiction or poetry in fewer than 51 words and then add your link to the comments of my post on Monday. For more information, just click on that snazzy typewriter at the top of this post. Our prompt for this month is…
And now it’s time for TBR Friday! Today’s book is Time Travelling with a Hamster, a middle grade contemporary sci fi by Ross Welford. This one was not on my original list, but I’ve just received Welford’s second book, What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible, for review, so I thought it was high time I knocked this one over. Let’s kick off with the blurb from Goodreads:
“My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty nine and again four years later when he was twelve.
The first time had nothing to do with me. The second time definitely did, but I would never even have been there if it hadn’t been for his ‘time machine’…”
When Al Chaudhury discovers his late dad’s time machine, he finds that going back to the 1980s requires daring and imagination. It also requires lies, theft, burglary, and setting his school on fire. All without losing his pet hamster, Alan Shearer…
Ten Second Synopsis:
On his twelfth birthday, Al Chaudhury receives a letter from his late father that offers him the secret of time travel and the chance to change the event that caused his father’s death. Life is never that simple and Al soon finds himself up to his hairline in twisted timelines.
Time on the TBR Shelf:
Just short of a year.
I bought this one from an online shop -either Book Depository or Booktopia – shortly after it was released because I HAD to have it and wasn’t lucky enough to score a review copy.
Reason I haven’t read it yet:
Not sure really. Like I said, I HAD to have it so it’s a mystery as to why I haven’t read it yet. Possibly it was the thrill of the chase that I was really after.
- For those who don’t enjoy a lot of technical sciency information, this story focuses more on the relationships in Al’s life rather than the whys and wherefores of how time travel works. There is a bit of technical info in order to shut down any loopholes, but the story isn’t overwhelmed by it.
- This felt like a bit of a mix between Christopher Edge’s The Many Worlds of Albie Bright and Mike Revell’s Stonebird, with the nerdy, science-y originality of the former and the serious issues-based subplot of the latter. Considering I enjoyed both of those books, it stands to reason that I enjoyed TTWAH as well – especially since it seems to combine the best of both of those books into one memorable package.
- Al and his dad’s side of the family are Indian (from Punjab), while Al inherits his webbed digits (syndactyly) from his mother’s side, so there is a bit of diversity all round here.
- Al, his father and grandfather all seem quite authentic as characters in all the timestreams in which they appear, which makes for some genuinely engaging reading throughout and a plot that isn’t dumbed down in any way simply because the book is aimed at younger readers.
Less Impressive Bits:
- There’s a bit of threatened animal cruelty in two parts. It never eventuates, but for some people I know this is a deal breaker.
- The first half of the book wasn’t as fast-paced as the second half. Before Al has really figured out the time machine, parts of the plot drag a little, but the ending (and especially Alan Shearer’s role in it) is worth the wait.
On reflection, was this worth buying?
Yep. It’s a solid middle grade growing up story with a fascinating time travel twist.
Where to now for this tome?
To the permanent shelf.
Obviously, I’m submitting this one for my Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2017, as well as for the Colour Coded Reading Challenge 2017. You can check out my progress toward all my reading challenges here.
Until next time,