“What I just did could change everything, or it could change nothing. But I have to try. I’ve got nothing to lose. If my plan doesn’t work, my life will remain the same: Safe. Comfortable. Perfectly average.
“But that wasn’t the life I originally chose.”
Anna Greene and Bennett Cooper never should have met. In fact, it should have been impossible for them to meet since Anna lives a comfortable-yet-too-small life in suburban Chicago–in 1995–and Bennett is a music loving teen living in San Francisco. In 2012.
Bennett is a time traveler who has come to 1995 Chicago for reasons of his own.
He doesn’t plan to meet Anna, let alone get close to her. Not when he could be pulled back to his own time at any moment.
Time Between Us is Stone’s first novel. Time After Time, a companion novel continuing Anna and Bennett’s story (this time told in Bennett’s voice) is due out in October 2013.
If this premise sounds like The Time Traveler’s Wife, that’s because it is very similar. Except 400 pages shorter and without all the angst and random violence.
Despite the obvious similarities Time Between Us is a tighter, more light-hearted read. Anna and Bennett have problems, they even face danger, but the tone throughout is one of optimism and defiance instead of inevitability or defeat.
The opening–jumping between several time periods to get to the start of the story–is strong full of promise and just enough foreshadowing to draw readers in.
Unfortunately despite the potential and my own excitement about this title, I just did not connect with it. Readers looking for a sweeping romance and references to 1990s culture and technology will find a lot to enjoy here. Anna and Bennett are adorable together and their story is a good one. Romance-wise it doesn’t get more gripping than two lovers separated not by distance but by time itself.
That said, it takes a very long time for Stone to get to the crux of the story with Bennett revealing his secret to Anna. Instead readers spend a lot of time watching the protagonists circle each other and hint at things. While this technique did create tension in the narrative, it was frustrating to have to wait so long for what is promised right from the jacket copy and the first pages.
If, like me, you want more fantasy/science fiction and less romance, Time Between Us may not be the best fit.* I also could not shake the feeling that, given the opening of the novel, Anna was a passive heroine.**
Time Between Us is the book I wanted to read when I tried The Time Traveler’s Wife. Time Between Us is, in fact, the perfect book for readers who like the idea of time travel but don’t worry too much about the actual mechanics of it.***
*For a more fantasy/science fiction-y time travel romance I’d recommend Hourglass by Myra McEntire which has a faster pace and much more explanation as to the time travel. It also gets bonus points for having the female lead do most of the traveling through time. Even while I was reading Time Between Us and enjoying it well enough, I couldn’t help but wonder if the difference between liking it and loving it would have been making Anna the time traveler instead of Bennett.
**Like, fine she needs to try and get her great love to work out and get back the life she really did choose. But how bad was this safe life she had as of 2011? She’s okay with just waiting to see what happens and potentially obliterating the life she has had until that point?
***Bennett’s rules to deal with causality and the implications of his travel seemed very malleable to me. And I also like more explanations as to the why and how when time travel comes into play.
Possible Pairings: I Remember You by Cathleen Davitt Bell, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst, Two Summers by Aimee Friedman, Clarity by Kim Harrington, Hourglass by Myra McEntire, The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood, The Statistical Probability of True Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith,Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, Pivot Point by Kasie West
*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2012*