Time travel and romance collide in Alexandra Bracken's 'Passenger' series


Time travel and romance collide in Alexandra Bracken's 'Passenger' series
  1. Time travel and romance collide in Alexandra Bracken's 'Passenger' series
    sacbee.com
    Ever since I read Caroline B. Cooney's "Both Sides of Time" as a preteen, I've been hooked on time travel stories. Over the years, I've devoured any time travel book … Click to Continue…
    Books

Ever since I read Caroline B. Cooney's "Both Sides of Time" as a preteen, I've been hooked on time travel stories. Over the years, I've devoured any time travel book that I can, especially ones involving romances that exist out of space and time. And there have been a lot of good ones: "Outlander," "The Time Traveler's Wife" and "Timeline," to name a few. So when I first heard of Alexandra Bracken's young adult book "Passenger" (Disney-Hyperion, January 2016), I knew I had to get my hands on it.

As soon as I started reading, I was hooked. "Passenger" tells the story of teen Etta Spencer, a violin prodigy who's about to deliver a solo concert in New York City. But instead, she unexpectedly hurdles through time to 1776 and lands on the ship of captain Nicholas Carter. Etta is no ordinary teen it turns out, and is actually the descendant of a time traveling family. With the help of Nicholas, she sets out on an adventure that takes her around the world (and through many different eras) in search of a powerful object called the astrolabe, which definitely can't fall into the wrong hands.

Part of what makes time travel so fun is how the characters end up in times so different from their own. Usually, we only go to one other place with them - the past or the future - and stay there as they try and figure out how to live outside of their original time. But "Passenger" is a whirlwind of time periods, taking us from New York City in the 1700s to London during WWII to France in the 1800s and so much more. Bracken has also clearly done her research - each place is lovingly sketched out, showing us different perspectives and daily life in various centuries. Because Nicholas, Etta's love interest, is African-American, we also get a more nuanced look at how different time periods deal with prejudice and the realities of history, which gives a depth to the story that may have otherwise been lacking.

And speaking of Nicholas ... one of the biggest strengths of "Passenger" is the slow burn romance that develops between the two time travelers. Etta is loyal and strong, while Nicholas is dealing with a lot of damage after years of living in a society that treats him as lesser. The two…

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