© Jane Louise Curry, illustration © Alan C. Olson.
I love time travel stories, and I like books by Jane Curry, so when I saw this one, I couldn’t wait to read it. The story reminded me a bit of the “Back to the Future” films, the first of which came out about two years before this. More in general settiing and feel than actual plot. Teenager J.J. Russell is a kid genius who started college at age 12. Now 17, he works as a graduate student for Professor Poplov, an absent-minded and secretive scientist who has already made startling discoveries. What J.J. wants to know about is the mysterious machine the professor keeps locked up tight, and when he finally gets the chance to turn it on, he realizes it’s a time machine. J.J.’s life is pretty complicated. He’s just found out his long-time girlfriend Polly has been two-timing him with his rival at the college, Max. This time machine could provide a solution if he just goes back a few years to warn his former self. It seemed like a good idea, but as usual with time travel, things quickly go wrong, and before long the story evolves into a madcap and exciting roller-coaster of scientific espionage, teen romance and the paradoxes of time travel that involve not two but three versions of J.J. at different ages.
Good fun, solid writing, well-realized characters. The plot gets too frenetic and somewhat confusing after a while, which is a common problem with stories of this sort, but I enjoyed reading it. Recommended.