I received an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of Time Travel for Love and Profit by Sarah Lariviere. Since this version is just a proof and not the final version, I won’t quote directly and will keep my comments general.
In Time Travel for Love and Profit, a girl named Nephele ends her freshman year of high school with no friends. She wants a second try, and being gifted at math, she decides to create a time travel machine to do just that. Against all odds, she succeeds—mostly. It turns out she is the only one who’s gone back in time, and no one remembers her having already done freshman year once, even her parents. Then, she finds herself still friendless and looping every year, with everyone’s memory loss only worsening. With these unexpected results, Nephele knows she has to fix the glitch in her time machine and maybe make friends along the way, if she even can.
This book has an intriguing teenage Groundhog Day premise, the protagonist is quirky, and the side characters are sweet. Unfortunately, I don’t think this was executed well enough—even for a time travel plot, this seems highly unrealistic. The science didn’t make any sense, so I think it would have been better to not really explain it (like in a certain famous time travel story where the time machine is a car, but it basically is portrayed as magical).
Furthermore, the dialogue doesn’t always sound believable. I know the main characters are fourteen, but still; I’ve never really heard conversations like that. Speaking of their ages, I didn’t quite understand how Nephele’s aging worked. She didn’t physically change when she looped, but she remembered everything that happened, so why is she not maturing mentally? Sure, she’d still be influenced by her teen hormones, but I would have thought that her experiences would still change her maturity. And yet, even though ten years pass over the course of this book (though I could barely tell), her personality doesn’t evolve.
In the end, Time Travel didn’t live up to my expectations. The character development was kind of weak, the science-fiction elements didn’t make sense, I didn’t feel invested in the plot, and the ending left something to be desired for me. It had a lot of potential, and some of the descriptions were full of nice imagery, but overall this book didn’t wow me.
Overall rating: 6/10