I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Boy from Tomorrow by Camille DeAngelis
Published by Amberjack Publishing on May 8th 2018
Josie and Alec both live at 444 Sparrow Street. They sleep in the same room, but they’ve never laid eyes on each other. They are twelve years old but a hundred years apart.
The children meet through a handpainted spirit board—Josie in 1915, Alec in 2015—and form a friendship across the century that separates them. But a chain of events leave Josie and her little sister Cass trapped in the house and afraid for their safety, and Alec must find out what’s going to happen to them. Can he help them change their future when it’s already past?
The Boy from Tomorrow is a tribute to classic English fantasy novels like Tom’s Midnight Garden and A Traveller in Time. Through their impossible friendship, Alec and Josie learn that life can offer only what they ask of it.
Currently, if asked to describe this book, my eyes would just sort of roll back in my head and I would go “ugh this book!” and you would be like “uh Patricia is that good or … ?” and I would look at you and my jaw would sort of uncomfortably shift to one side and you’d ask me if I’m okay and I would say, “read this book.” Anyway, that is how I feel about The Boy From Tomorrow.
How I’d Describe This Book to a Friend
I am still trying to figure out how to explain this one without giving too much away, and because I am still processing My Feelings™ I am not 100% sure I even can! I will try. Let’s try.
The Boy From Tomorrow is a middle grade book that ignites hope all of us have deep inside that still burns reverently that there is still some magic in this world. It explores the possibility of connections across decades, between people who will never meet. And yes, I repeat: this is a book for children. Because we often underestimate a kid’s capacity for “big” stories like this – definitely don’t.
It’s 2015. Alec moves into an old, run-down house that “has potential,” as some guy on HGTV with a bushy beard would say. His mom is recovering from a recent messy divorce and Alec is feeling all sorts of things – he is 12 years old, and that’s just the sort of thing that happens. He explores the old, creaking house, and discovers a Ouija board. With two of his new neighbor friends, Alec sets off to talk to a ghost, because that’s what a 12 year old does with a Ouija board, and frankly so would I at 28.
Only problem is, someone answers. And it’s not what you would expect.
It’s 1915. Josie is 12 years old, and lives in the self-same house. She has a little sister named Cass, a beloved tutor named Emily, and their abusive mother, a psychic spiritualist who often has people over to her parlor to read their futures. One evening, Josie reaches for her mother’s spirit board, and connects with Alec, 100 years in the future.
When they discover that they aren’t talking to ghosts, but to actual living, breathing humans, they start to experiment. And both their worlds will never be the same.
I absolutely adored this book. At under 300 pages, I still felt like each character was a friend of mine – sweet, gentle Alec, determined Josie, stubborn Cass. I hated Josie and Cass’s mother right along with them, begging her mentally to quit being a terrible person. I felt aligned with Alec’s mom, understanding how hard it is to rebuild from the ground up when you expected your way of life would last forever. I felt terrified whenever Cass would talk through her creepy doll, Mrs. Gubbins – seriously, Mrs. G is the reason I had to turn my lights on one night. May I reiterate that I am almost 29 years old and a grown adult? Okay, just checking.
This being a middle grade book is one of the best things that could have happened to it. Were this a YA book, about halfway through, Josie and Alec would fall in love and somehow find some way to transcend time and space and be together in 3D as real-live, beating-heart people. This – sorry to spoil your hopes and dreams – does not happen. Because Ms. DeAngelis is realistic with her Ouija board time travel stories, damn it. But I digress. There is no unnecessary romance, no long two-page description of the sunlight rippling in Josie’s hair. This is two 12 year olds who are growing up 100 years apart, in two very distinctly different ways, and I love both of them very much. Trust that you will not be disappointed, and read this book.