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English: Uncle Sam recruiting poster.

UP, BACK, AND AWAY

A teenage boy gets a firsthand history lesson when he takes an adventurous trip to pre–World War I England in Velk’s first sci-fi novel.

Miles McTavish is a 15-year-old American enjoying luxury living when he’s given a special mission: Travel back in time to a small town in England to discover a long-lost secret and bring back the girl “born out of her time.” Despite a somewhat clichéd storyline, the adventurous, sometimes humorous plot entertains. The tale recalls Back to the Future, complete with similar characters: Miles travels to 1928 England at the instruction of a professor friend who himself traveled to 2012 from 1918 with the help of a mysterious gypsy. The usual time-traveling problems ensue—namely, Miles’ adjustment to living in 1928. His struggles with the lack of electricity and new job as a servant boy are the least of his worries. The “girl born out of her time” runs away from him, leaving him to chase her down and face her moblike music manager. But even though the James Bond scenarios and Beatles’ references keep the narrative quick-paced and comical, it’s Miles’ iPod that truly saves the day, convincing the girl, a talented singer/songwriter, that she has to travel back to the future. This dialogue and setting boost momentum and interest, and character development is fair. The historical backdrop of World War I, including references to battles and war stories, adds realism. Miles’ relationship with his 1928 friends—those who take him in and those who help him at his new job—spares the book from becoming an overdone time-travel tale. While the story itself has potential, formatting and grammar errors distract.

A well-plotted time-traveling tale with amateurish presentation.

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