Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Review: Before Time Runs Out by Amy Matayo

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


Graduate student Bree Sanders is failing the one class she needs to get her degree. So when her professor gives her an ultimatum—ace her dissertation or risk having to repeat her final semester—she knows she has to pull out all the stops. After scrambling for an idea, she decides to create her own Ghost Club, a club that blames ghosts for unsolved crimes, the same type of club originally founded two centuries ago by Charles Dickens.

What she doesn’t expect is to find an original copy of one of Dickens’ early works, or to be transplanted into Dickens’s actual ghost club meeting, circa 1870, the instant she picks it up.

When Bree shows up in nineteenth-century England wearing cut-offs and an old t-shirt, her only option is to hide. The Cambridge of 1870 won’t look kindly on a woman dressed like her. So, when Theodore Keyes finds her tucked behind a bookcase at the Trinity College library and immediately demands to know where she came from, she knows he doesn’t belong here either. Turns out she’s right; the same book caused him to time-travel from 1947 almost three months ago and he’s been stuck in England since.

Together, the two vow to work side-by-side in their search for the lost book that will take them home. But as their feelings for one another deepen, Theo and Bree are caught between a desire to return to the lives they each left behind, and the knowledge that if they find the book, they won’t be able to leave together.

In the end, they each must decide which sacrifice is worth making—the one that will cost them their hearts, or the one that could cost them their very existence.

My Review

I'm not a fan of time travel stories, but when it's a favorite author I make exceptions, and I'm so glad I did! I think the biggest reason this worked for me is that Bree and Theo are both from the future- albeit different futures. The premise is fascinating, and I loved learning fun tidbits about Dickens and the era. The technicalities of the time travel were left vague, and the focus was more on the characters and what they are facing in their lives- the lives they just left and the current ones in Victorian England. Bree's voice is definitely modern young adult, but her sometimes shallow persona is offset by the deep grief she feels for her lost brother as well as her love for classic literature. Theo's history is a painful one as well, having recently served as a medic in WWII and struggling to feel joy in daily living. I loved the way they surprise each other with their differences due to living in different time periods, but they also connect in important ways. The story has a good pace and I was eagerly reading to see how the plot and their relationship would come to a resolution. I'm excited that the author will be writing more books in this new series! 

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.

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