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For fans of Vanessa Stead’s When You Reach Me, Once was a Time offers a similar whirlwind story of unexpected time travel and the surprise ramifications. Charlotte is living an unremarkable life in England in 1940 when, suddenly… she’s not anymore. A time travel portal has taken her to the United States in 2013, with no way to return to her former life, including her beloved best friend, Kitty. Charlotte has no choice but to make the best of her new surroundings, to accept that her loved ones are gone, and to try to keep going. But she can’t let go of Kitty and the mystery of what happened to her, and that curiosity leads her to some pretty remarkable places. I wish that there had been more detail about Charlotte and Kitty’s relationship before the life-altering event took place, so that we could truly mourn along with Charlotte when she’s suddenly plucked from her life. Because I didn’t feel grounded enough in her first life, I’m not sure I truly understood the dramatic transition to her second. But it’s easy to guess, whether you’re emotionally invested or not, what a shock it would be to suddenly appear 73 years in the future, in a place you’ve never heard of, alone. Watching Charlotte navigate her new life is both fascinating and lonely, and Charlotte herself seems to flip back and forth between the two. Reminiscent of A Wrinkle in Time, readers looking for more low fantasy/gentle sci-fi with relatable characters will probably enjoy this easy-to-read little book. #bookreview #timetravel #photobomb
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