Are you looking for some new time travel books that will shake up your reading list?
Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time helped me discover I would forever love stories about time travel. The existence of a tesseract (a fifth-dimensional phenomenon explained as the folding of the fabric of time and space) tugged on my imagination and fantastic visions of the world as a young reader.
Thirty-two years after reading A Wrinkle in Time, I’m still seeking out books, movies, and television shows that promise to manipulate time and subvert everything we know about the ticking clock.
If you could go backward or forward in time, would you? If you could change something – anything – via time travel, would you try?
Time travel used to be thought of as just science fiction, but Einstein’s general theory of relativity allows for the possibility that we could warp space-time so much that you could go off in a rocket and return before you ever set out.Stephen Hawking
Over the past few years, I’ve read countless stories on time travel. Some of my favorites were Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen, Recursion by Blake Crouch, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North.
Netflix’s Russian Doll and Umbrella Academy play with time travel in very unique ways as well. The streaming service released its third and final season of the German science fiction thriller DARK on June 27, 2020. The show tells the story of the existence of a wormhole in the cave system beneath the local nuclear power plant in a small town.
DARK is a moody, bizarre spectacle that knocked my socks off. I’ve never watched anything like it. If you dig time travel, it’s a must-see.
Do you want to shake up your reading list with some time travel fiction, too? Below, I share the books I plan to read over the next month.
As a bonus, I listed a few middle-grade books that deal with time travel in innovative ways (in case you’re looking to introduce the concept of time travel to your younger readers). All synopses come from Goodreads. Images are clickable.
Oona Out of Order
Just because life may be out of order, doesn’t mean it’s broken.
It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order…
Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever-changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met?
Oona Out of Order is a remarkably inventive novel that explores what it means to live a life fully in the moment, even if those moments are out of sequence. Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family. This is one of the more unique new books on time travel!
Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something that could change the past and the future.
Except for the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given…
What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon
Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.
In What the Wind Knows, the Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.
As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?
The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas
In 1967, four female scientists worked together to build the world’s first time machine. But just as they are about to debut their creation, one of them suffers a breakdown, putting the whole project—and the future of time travel—in jeopardy. To protect their invention, one member is exiled from the team—erasing her contributions from history.
Fifty years later, time travel is a big business. Twenty-something Ruby Rebello knows her beloved grandmother, Granny Bee, was one of the pioneers, though no one will tell her more. But when Bee receives a mysterious newspaper clipping from the future reporting the murder of an unidentified woman, Ruby becomes obsessed: could it be Bee? Who would want her dead? And most importantly of all: can her murder be stopped?
Traversing the decades and told from alternating perspectives, The Psychology of Time Travel introduces a fabulous new voice in fiction and a new must-read for fans of speculative fiction and women’s fiction alike.
new time travel books for Middle-Grade readers
Thirteen-year-old Jonah has always known that he was adopted, and he’s never thought it was any big deal. Then he and a new friend, Chip, who’s also adopted, begin receiving mysterious letters. The first one says, “You are one of the missing.” The second one says, “Beware! They’re coming back to get you.”
Jonah, Chip, and Jonah’s sister, Katherine, are plunged into a mystery that involves the FBI, a vast smuggling operation, an airplane that appeared out of nowhere – and people who seem to appear and disappear at will. The kids discover they are caught in a battle between two opposing forces that want very different things for Jonah and Chip’s lives.
Do Jonah and Chip have any choice in the matter? And what should they choose when both alternatives are horrifying?
With Found, Margaret Peterson Haddix begins a new series that promises to be every bit as suspenseful as Among the Hidden, and proves her, once again, to be a master of the page-turner.
A statue; a coin; an old book. They look as dusty as everything else in the Faulkner Antiquarian Bookstore, where 14-year-old Sam Faulkner seeks his father, who’s been missing for days. But when Sam slips the coin into the statue, he’s swept back in time — to Scotland in 800 A.D. — where he must find both the statue and another coin in order to return to the present. It’s the first step in an adventure that will take him to ancient Egypt, World War I, even Dracula’s castle — and a mystery that will end only when Sam saves his father, or loses him in time . . .
I hope you are able to find a new time travel book that interests you from this list!
If you have any time travel recommendations, please share them in the comments!
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