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Time Keeps on Ticking, Ticking, Ticking

A review of Alexandra Monir's time-travel romance, Timeless, which thankfully does not involve a teenage boy fending off amorous advances from his own mother.

Time Keeps on Ticking, Ticking, Ticking

BOOK REPORT for Timeless (Timeless Book 1) by Alexandra Monir

Cover Story: Typical
BFF Charm: Maybe
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: Breezy and Transparent
Bonus Factors: Gilded Age, Time Travel, Gilmore Girls
Relationship Status: That Kind of Cute Guy You Saw at the Mall Who Ends up Being in Your Homeroom, but Also Ends up Being Sort of Embarrassingly Nerdy

Cover Story: Typical

Jeez. I am running out of things to say about big face covers. This one also seems to be suffering from a smoke machine overdose, and the model just maaaaybe is on drugs. Look at her pupils! Maybe it's just caffeine, though -- she does look like a young Lauren Graham.

The Deal:

Michele and her mother live a Gilmorian existence out in LA -- they've been on their own since before Michele was born, and her mom cut herself off from her parents. So when tragedy strikes and Michele gets shipped to NYC to live with the high-society grandparents she's never met, things are bound to get dicey. Add in time travel and the literal boy of Michele's dreams, and dicey's just the beginning of the story.

BFF Charm: Maybe

I liked Michele, but she's so caught up in her romance with Philip, the blue-eyed boy she's dreamed about her entire life, that I don't think the friendship would go anywhere. She ignores her BFFs back in Cali, which is pretty normal and cool with me, to be honest, since she should be moving on, but she also uses her only friend in NYC solely to cover for her, and that's NOT cool. I'm cutting Michele some slack until I read the sequel (out in January), because she's had a bit of a rough time lately, to put it mildly.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

The relationship between Philip and Michele smacks of instalove, but I was able to forgive it because they'd met before -- Michele dreams about Philip her entire life. It IS weird to fall in love with a guy in your dreams, but maybe if you dream about him regularly for years and years, it makes sense. Anyway, the two of them share an interest in music, and spend time actually talking and laughing, rather than just gazing into each others' beautiful eyes soulfully and talking about how gorgeous each other is, so there's some swoon. The sexual tension that arises from a relationship between a 21st-century girl and a fin de siècle guy is nice, but it's overcome a little too quickly. All in all, the book gets a couple of bonus points for NOT playing a. the incest card and b. the gross, gross, gross older man-younger woman card. Well done, Alexandra Monir.

Talky Talk: Breezy and Transparent

Monir speeds through the book, dropping only a few hints before spilling all the (fairly predictable) beans in a few beats of dialogue. The pace is perfect for young, ADD readers, but it was all a little too neat and quick for me. I would like to have seen more character development, especially the secondary and tertiary characters -- I did really like the few glimpses I got into her mother's and grandparents' lives, especially her grandfather, and wanted more. The style is great for a quick weekend read, and the writing was clean. I appreciated how Monir limited physical descriptions, and didn't dwell overmuch on Philip's "sapphire blue eyes" and general gorgeousness, but spent more time trying to bring out the intellectual connection between the two teenagers. I frequently find myself bemoaning the lack of cutting in YA books, but this one could have used a bit more of what, in a recent writing workshop, YA author Carmen Rodrigues called "writing between the lines" (note: she was referring to my work, not Monir's).

Bonus Factor: Gilded Age

Thanks to time travel, the book hits up several periods in U.S. history, but by far my favorite is the Gilded Age (sorry, but I actually … am bored with the Roaring '20s). The mansions! The Newport cottages that are actually mansions! The ballrooms and prototype cars that break down! It's all very Magnificent Ambersons and loads of fun, if you overlook the stifling social structure and ideas.

Bonus Factor: Time Travel

Who's NOT a sucker for time travel romance? Talk about the ultimate star-crossed lovers. Monir deftly handles some of the complications, like how your time moves while you're in another time (at the same speed, which totally sucks), and the fact that people age as you pop in and out of their lives, and how to explain your short-skirted, short-sleeved presence in the fully clothed society of 1910.

Bonus Factor: Gilmore Girls

Imagine if Rory was more like Lorelai and less like Emily, and had to go live with Richard and Emily (rather than choosing to in that AWFUL drop-out-of-Yale-and-live-in-the-pool-house storyline). Oh, and then time traveled. That's this book.

Casting Call:

Nina Dobrev as Michele

Cary Grant as grown-up Philip

(Hey, it's time travel! I can cast him if I want!)

Non-crazy-eyed Ian Somerhalder as young Philip

(If it's possible for him to not look insane. Also, I am in no way saying he is anything like Cary Grant, because he's not. But let's pretend he could ACT like Cary Grant. OK OK OK, it's just because he's the first guy I thought of with dark hair and blue eyes after picturing Nina Dobrev as Michele, and I couldn't get him out of my mind after that).

Relationship Status: That Kind of Cute Guy You Saw at the Mall Who Ends up Being in Your Homeroom, but Also Ends up Being Sort of Embarrassingly Nerdy

You know that guy? You spot him getting froyo at Freshens, and he's kind of cute. You exchange an embarrassed smile when he catches you looking, but then you go off with your friends and don't think anything more of him until the first day of school, when he is in your homeroom. At first, you're kind of excited, but then you see he's wearing one of those Star Trek uniform t-shirts, and not ironically, so you pretend you don't recognize him. For some reason, you can't help talking with him after the bell, and it's possible a friendship could develop despite the social obstacles -- or maybe more. Only time will tell (time! Get it? Huh? Ha).

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Random House, via Authors on the Web.  I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Timeless is available now.

Timeless would make a great stocking stuffer -- want to add it to yours? Leave a comment telling what time period YOU'D like to travel to or someone you'd love to meet, and you'll be entered in a drawing to win. I'll contact the winner by next Monday, Dec. 17.

Meghan Miller's photo About the Author: Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas and writer for Forever Young Adult. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.