Monday, 9 April 2012
Review: A Year Without Autumn
Author: Liz Kessler
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Publication Date: April 1st, 2011
Genre: Junior Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary
Jenni is looking forward to spending the end of her summer vacation with her family at their timeshare apartment. While it’s great to get away, she also gets to spend the last weeks of summer with her best friend Autumn and her family. Autumn is the best friend Jenni could wish for: she’s exciting while Jenni is cautious. After Jenni takes a ride in the rickety old elevator in their building, she knocks on Autumn’s apartment door only to find someone else living there. Although it might seem impossible, Jenni seems to have travelled a year in the future. It seems unimaginable to Jenni, but something has happened in the last year that has put a wedge in Jenni and Autumn’s friendship. As Jenni keeps travelling further into the future, she sees everything she knows unravel each year. While her friendship with Autumn once seemed indestructible, a tragic event has distanced them and Jenni actually went a year without talking to Autumn. Was it really worth it for Jenni to see the future and is it set in stone?
I love time travel and was looking forward to A Year Without Autumn, but once I started reading this book and realized that the main character was twelve, I wasn’t so sure anymore. As the story started to unfold, I was sure I knew what was going to happen. Autumn’s bossy ways and Jenni’s belief that she didn’t deserve her best friend would push them apart. As it turns out, things were much more complicated than this. As Jenni tries to piece together what happened to ruin her friendship with Autumn, she finds out that a tragic event occurred on the very day she travelled to the future. As she travels into the future a year at a time, she finds that this event didn’t just affect her friendship with Autumn but her whole family as well. This aspect of the plot was touching and made me emotionally invested in the story. The characters also proved to be less superficial than they first appeared. As I said, I love time travel. Some of the particulars of the time travel made my head spin and I think there were a few things that didn’t make sense. However, the overall affect worked well. Another thing I didn’t like was the character of Mrs. Smith: that plotline felt a bit forced to me. Of course, a few flaws doesn’t stop me from liking a book. I easily found myself wrapped up in the story and sitting on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next. A Year Without Autumn is not only about time travel and fantasy, but also about friendship and family. It’s a great read for younger readers looking for a story about friendship and growing up with a twist.