Time In by Tim Filewod
(Summary taken from the back cover of the book) "What are you like? Would you take a risk? When Toby is invited to travel through time one day, he accepts without thinking. He wants to find his father. Suddenly, he finds himself in the future--in a world with no countries that is controlled by huge multinational companies and policed by the Council and their Time Masters, who need his help. Toby persuades two of his best friends to join him and together they try to prevent an environmental disaster [from] happening by travelling back in time to 1981. However, a sinister organization called MORSC wants to stop them. Will Toby be able to complete his mission and meet his father? And if he ever finds his dad, what will he be like?"
I liked the characters in this story. The kids are cute and adventurous. They might be a little too trusting, but that is the risk they take and it works in their favor this time. Duke and Mark Anthony, and some of the older characters are mostly believable and seem sincere. I like Mr. Filewod's creativity and imagination. There is definitely a lot of action in this book, and it is mostly clean, which is great! There were only a couple profane words, no "intimacy," and some violence (fighting bad guys). A main character does die as well. Unfortunately, that is where my like of this book ends. It definitely needs an editor. There were a lot of spelling and grammatical errors. Although the story was creative, the plot didn't really follow through as I thought it should. I felt like the main purpose of the story was for the kids to go on this mission and fulfill it. That mission mostly became a side-story. Although they tried a few times, the majority of the book was about the fighting and getting away from the bad guys. The last few pages finally got back to the main point, but I felt the solution was unbelievable and almost comical. The story also sidetracks into Toby and his dad. I didn't quite understand what he was going to do once he found his dad, and how that would help his mom. I thought he would go back and try to prevent the accident, but that is not what happened. I'm not quite sure his solution was very believable either, and I don't know really how it would help. My biggest dislike of this book, though, is one of my soap-box issues. I don't care what you believe politically, hiding those political issues in children's books is not okay. As an adult, if I read a book or watch a show that has a political bias, I can identify it and choose whether I agree or not, and if I don't know, then I have the power to research it and figure it out for myself. Children do not have that power or ability. They don't know all the issues and can't identify a bias. They believe what they read. The whole main point of this book is politically-based and biased. It makes one side look like the heroes and the other like horrible monsters, almost. If you want to write a political book, fine, then write it for adults, or write it nonfiction and identify it as what it is. Okay, I'll step off my soap-box now. Sorry for that little rant, but it really irritates me.
Anyway, I think this book has potential. It needs an editor and some good rewrites. I'd say take out the political bias and have the kids solve a mystery or something. There are some very cool contraptions and some awesome technology; use those and make it fun.
Rating: PG+ (Fighting bad guys, the death of a main character, a couple of profane words)
Recommendation: 4th grade and up (9-10 years-old)
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.