Time travel is one of my absolute favourite plot tropes, and it can be handled very differently from story to story. Sometimes more serious, sometimes less so. It’s also interesting to see how different interpretations deal with time continuity, and what happens when the past (or future) is altered. Here are a few time-travel picks which I hope you’ll enjoy!
The here and now / Ann Brashares.
“Prenna and her doctor mom are not your average immigrants. No, they have immigrated to New York from the 2090s, a future of climate-change extremes and mosquito-borne plagues that wipe out entire families and civilizations. The few who have survived the plagues and the journey back to 2010 have been charged with two challenges: change the course of environmental history and assimilate into the culture without disclosing their origins or becoming intimate with the natives. Prenna knows her friendship with Ethan is red-flag behavior. When an elderly homeless man warns her that she and Ethan must prevent a murder on May 17, 2014 just days away she realizes she must defy the community and its counselors for civilization’s greater good.” (Booklist)
The 57 lives of Alex Wayfare / MG Buehrlen.
“For as long as Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Vivid visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair. It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth; her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender — capable of traveling back in time to her past lives. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. And they will stop at nothing to make this life, her fifty-seventh, her last.” (Syndetics)
Tempest / Julie Cross.
“The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun. That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future. Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities. But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.” (Goodreads)
A thousand pieces of you / Claudia Gray.
“Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him. Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.” (Goodreads)
Timebound / Rysa Walker.
“When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence. Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and Kate’s genetic ability to time-travel makes her the only one who can stop him. Risking everything, she travels to the Chicago World’s Fair to try to prevent the killing and the chain of events that follows. Changing the timeline comes with a personal cost, however—if Kate succeeds, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence. And regardless of her motives, does she have the right to manipulate the fate of the entire world?” (Goodreads)
After Eden / Helen Douglas.
“Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she’s hooked. On the face of it, he’s a typical American teenager. So why doesn’t he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn’t heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he’s taking in her. As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan’s bedroom – a biography of her best friend – written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose … and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.” (Goodreads)
Steel / Carrie Vaughn.
“Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure. The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate’s life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.” (Goodreads)
TimeRiders / Alex Scarrow.
“Liam O’Connor should have died at sea in 1912. Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010. Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2026. Yet moments before death, someone mysteriously appeared and said, ‘Take my hand …’ But Liam, Maddy and Sal aren’t rescued. They are recruited by an agency that no one knows exists, with only one purpose—to fix broken history. Because time travel is here, and there are those who would go back in time and change the past. That’s why the TimeRiders exist: to protect us. To stop time travel from destroying the world…” (Goodreads)