Sunday, May 25, 2008

Don't Know Where, Don't Know When


Laing, Annette. 2007. Don't Know Where, Don't Know When.

We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when, But I know we'll meet again, some sunny day. Keep smiling through, just like you always do, 'Til the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away.
Don't Know Where, Don't Know When is the book that would have been perfect for the eight or nine year old me. It had everything I was looking for then: history, history, and time travel. Oh, and light mysteries to solve. How could I forget that little hook?! I've always always had a thing for time travel whether in tv shows, movies, or books. I've also always been fascinated with history. With learning the ins and outs of daily life in various time periods, in various locales. So this book so would have been right my speed at that age. That's not to say I don't have an appreciation for it now. But the degree has lessened to a certain extent. I enjoyed it now. I did. But I would have been crazy about it as a kid.

Set in three time periods, Don't Know Where, Don't Know When is the story of three children. Two of the children are brother and sister. The third child is a stranger whom the children meet just minutes before this exciting adventure begins. The siblings are Hannah and Alex Dias--though they later go by the names of Hannah and Alex Day. The third child is an African-American child named Brandon Clark. (Yes, race does play a role in this book.) He goes by several different names further along in the text--George Braithwaite, George Clark. The three meet seemingly by chance at the University library. They all three live in the (fictional) college town Snipesville, Georgia.

I mentioned three time periods. The first, the one in which we meet our narrators, is present day America. The other two time periods are a small town in England--Balesworth--both World War II and World War I. If it sounds confusing, don't worry. It flows smoother than it might at first appear. I promise.

These three children know very little about wartime Britain--but they're about to get an up, close, and personal tour of Britain during both World Wars, and the reader is along for the ride.

I won't say the book had me at hello. It didn't. I had to overcome my prejudice of the book cover. No offense is meant to whoever--or whomever--designed it. But it just doesn't say "read me, read me" for this particular reader. And it didn't have me hooked for the introduction and the prologue. However, by the second or third chapter, once the characters had mysteriously or magically time traveled back to 1940 England, I was one curious reader. And by the time Brandon/George vanished to time travel--on his own--to 1915 England, there was no doubt about it. I was liking it. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. So if you decide to pick up this one, please promise me to give it the fifty page test.

Don't Know Where, Don't Know When is an enjoyable treat of a novel. Proof that you NEVER should judge a book by the cover.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

3 comments:

Debi 6:12 PM  

Thanks Becky! This sounds like one my finicky little son might just love!

Darla D 9:33 PM  

I see what you mean about the title - it reminds me of those textbooks back in the 80s that were trying to look "fun" for students. But the books sounds intriguing and exciting, something that might be fun for my kids (and me). Thanks for the review!

Annette Laing 12:11 PM  

Thanks for v.nice review, Becky! Just want to add that this is the first in a series, The Snipesville Chronicles. I'm currently working on Book 2, "As It Is And Ever Was," set on both sides of the Atlantic in 1851. :-) Becky's review is a first for my indie press book, and so I would be thrilled if other bloggers would review it! It's very much a cottage operation, so the book is available outside Georgia from (as opposed to in) your favorite bookstore. Okay, sorry to butt in, going away now...

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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