Five Books About…

Five Books about Time Travel

I’ve had a love affair with time travel since the first time I saw Back To The Future. I was seven, and my dad took my older sister and me to the theater (on a school night!) to meet the McFlys. I was hooked. I guess you could say time travel was my density.

BttF (Yes, I call it “BttF” because we’re besties like that) is, to this day, my ideal time travel. It’s twisty, fun, and funny—the exact vibe I wanted to infuse into my novels Loop and Twist.

Here are some my other time travel favorites:


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Prisoner of Azkaban I love time travel that reaches the end and then loops back on itself to reframe everything you thought was happening. In some ways, Harry and Hermione’s trip to the past made the story more complex, but in other ways, so much simpler. Either way, it made it more fun.



Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the UniverseOkay, okay. Technically, this one is pseudo time travel. The main character Amy is a on a sleeper ship and wakes up 250 years in the future (but still fifty years before she was supposed to). It does a great job of showing what it would actually feel like to find yourself displaced in time against your will. There’s a great combination of both fascination and disappointment, which I thought would be a realistic reaction.


When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach MeThis middle grade mystery, which won the 2010 Newbery Medal, is set in New York in the late 1970s. Throughout the story, Stead pays homage to Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, but because her world is based so staunchly in reality, she keeps you guessing until nearly the end as to what role (if any) actual time travel plays. It’s another example of reaching the conclusion and realizing that the entire story has been turned onto its head. Love it.


Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

RevolutionThe lovely prose sucked me into this blend of YA contemporary and historical fiction told from parallel viewpoints. A teen who is caught in a destructive spiral after the death of her younger brother is forced to spend Christmas in France. There, she discovers the diary of a seventeen year-old girl during the French Revolution who is tasked with caring for the imprisoned dauphin of France. Towards the end, the two stories merge as the grieving teen is transported back in time to the Revolutionary era.

The time travel in this story takes a firm backseat to the emotional journey of the two teens. There’s no huge “ah ha!” (which I usually demand in time travel), but their journeys are woven together in such a beautiful, redemptive way that it worked for me.


Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs

Now I’m going to put my own time traveler hat on and travel to March of next year to squee over this book. The story is about a Latina teenager raised in Los Angeles’s foster care system with an eidetic memory who is recruited by a tech company for a mission—a trip 30 years into the future.

I know a little bit more about the plot because it’s by my über-fantastic critique partner Liz, but I can’t share anything yet except to say that everyone is going to LOVE it. Go mark it on your to-read list now!


What are some of your favorite time travel tales?

Karen Akins lives in the MidSouth where she writes humorous, light YA sci-fi. When not writing or reading, she loves taking care of her son and hanging out with her husband. And watching Downton Abbey. Karen has been many things in her life: an archery instructor, drummer for the shortest-lived garage band in history, and a shockingly bad tic-tac-toe player.


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