Winter 2016 YA: Time-Traveling Adventures

There are many reasons I dread the coming of winter. (Last year’s New England snowpocalypse is at the top of my list.) But when I think about what’s soon to be published, the new year can’t come soon enough! (Bring on the blizzards, if it means more time to read!)

A few months ago, I posted my most-anticipated Winter 2016 releases by debut and already published authors, and so far every 2016 book I’ve read has been very good, if not excellent. Especially these time-traveling adventures I’m recommending to ease your winter blues: Alexandra Bracken’s Passenger, Heidi Heilig’s The Girl from Everywhere, Janet B. Taylor’s Into the Dim, and Nicole Castroman’s Blackhearts.


On the shelves in January, Passenger brilliantly brings together teenagers Etta, a present-day New Yorker and prodigy violinist, and Nicholas, a biracial seafarer in colonial America. After Etta’s violin competition goes horribly wrong, she finds herself transported to an unfamiliar time and place. She is aboard a colonial ship, as Nicholas’s passenger.

Etta’s realization that she is a time-traveler is just the tip of the iceberg, however. A ruling family of time-travelers whom Nicholas serves–the Ironwoods–are searching for an object they believe Etta’s mother stole years ago. The Ironwood patriarch, Grandfather, is holding Etta’s mom hostage, and he will free her only if Etta finds the missing object and brings it to him by a certain date.

As Etta and Nicholas travel across centuries and continents in search of this prized object, they fall in love. But their romance is very complicated, apart from the obvious reasons that they are from two very different eras. No easy answers exist to any of their dilemmas. How will they find the object and what should they do with it if they find it? Should they really hand it over to the Ironwoods? Will Nicholas return to the colonial era and Etta to present-day New York? Or will they be stuck in another time? Will they stay together? Will they both survive? And what if they ultimately have to choose different paths?

21979832Like Bracken’s Passenger, Heilig’s February debut, The Girl from Everywhere, is a smart, fun, creative, magical, diverse, and intricately plotted historical fantasy that explores complex issues of family, friendship, trust, identity, and belonging.

Sixteen-year-old Nix has traveled on her father’s ship, The Temptation, across many time periods and places, both real and imagined. Since her birth in Honolulu in 1868, she’s been to 21st century New York, mythic Scandinavia and Arabia, and many more places. As long as she and her father have a map of a place and time, they can go there.

Which is wonderfully adventurous, except for one problem. Her father is determined to find the map that will take him back to 1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. But won’t his return to the past and desire to save the woman he loves eliminate Nix’s very existence?

Taylor’s Into the Dim (out in March) is another intelligently-crafted and intricately-plotted time-traveling adventure, with historical richness and thrilling romance.

After Hope’s mother disappears and is presumed dead in an earthquake, Hope travels to Scotland to stay with her maternal family, whom she’s never met.

When she discovers their secret–they are time travelers–she journeys to 12th century England, where she encounters Eleanor of Aquitaine, Thomas Becket, and her mom…alive, but she’s at the mercy of a rival time-traveler.

Hope has three days to bring her mom back to the present, or they’ll be trapped in the 12th century forever! But that’s not all. The handsome mystery guy she saw in present-day Scotland shows up in 12th century England and he wants to help her…but can she trust him?

21936937Castroman’s Blackhearts (out in February) is not about time-traveling, but it WILL take you back in time. This smart, creative debut imagines Edward “Teach” Drummond’s life…before he became Blackbeard!

Blackhearts is not a pirate story, though. It’s a love story, told in alternating perspectives. Before “Teach” was a fearsome pirate, terrorizing the Caribbean from aboard Queen Anne’s Revenge, another Queen Anne stole his heart–his father’s maid–in 1697 Bristol, England, when he returned home after a year at sea.

Fortunately, however, this book does not suffer from insta-love. Anne’s first impressions of Teach are far from favorable. She can not see Teach as anything more than an arrogant rich merchant’s son, betrothed to an equally insufferable high-society lady. But when they really get to know one another and can no longer deny their true feelings, will society’s standards and their own circumstances stop them from being together?

In a few months time, please remember this post. Grab a steaming mug of tea and a blanket (or a furry friend). Go to your favorite (warm) reading spot. With these time-traveling adventures on hand, you’ll forget you have the winter blues!

Alyssa recommends new and upcoming releases in young adult fiction (and occasionally middle grade and adult). She thanks Edelweiss, NetGalley, the Boulder Book Store, and the publishers for providing her with digital copies of PassengerThe Girl from Everywhere, and Into the Dim, for review purposes. Please follow her on Tumblr and Twitter.


5 thoughts on “Winter 2016 YA: Time-Traveling Adventures

  1. Amy

    These all sound so good! I’m looking forward to Bracken’s new book SO BADLY! I love how both Passenger and The Girl From Everywhere feature time traveling and a ship. Great post!

    • Thank you! I enjoyed writing it, and I’m really happy to be recommending 2016 releases. Lots of great ones coming out! Yes, Passenger and The Girl from Everywhere make good book buddies. 🙂

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