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Time Between Us

Review

Time Between Us

Although I’ve read many books in my life, I have encountered few with a more fitting title than TIME BETWEEN US.  For Anna Greene, a 16 year old living in Evanston, Illinois in 1995, the time between her and Bennett Cooper, a 17 year old in San Francisco, California in 2012 would, under normal circumstances, be seventeen years.  Yet because Bennett has the ability to travel through time and space, the two end up meeting in her present, changing the perception of age difference. The time between them also refers to the ample amount of time they are able to spend together, getting to know each other and falling in love.  However, the time between them comes in the form of a scattering of hours and, in one case, several days, which only the two of them remember because they used Bennett’s gift to go back in time and change the past, thus writing over the memories of their friends and families.

"The engaging love story between Anna and Bennett grounds the novel, while Bennett’s time traveling ability and the way it has affected his life and the lives’ of those close to him gives the novel depth."

Time travel in novels, when done right, can help to create both an emotionally engaging and suspenseful read, and Tamara Ireland Stone employs this device well in TIME BETWEEN US. The novel does a good job of illustrating the high stakes involved in Bennett’s ability to go back into, and thus irrevocably change, the past. The drastic ways in which his ability affects his family members in 2012 makes his initial reluctance to get to know Anna feel earned and the subsequent secrets he keeps from her understandable. However, Anna’s confusion about his standoffishness and anger about the secrets he keeps from her, which affect her life as much as his, is also relatable. Even though the novel is told from Anna’s point of view, Stone is able to convey both Anna and Bennett’s motivations and emotions in ways that make the reader understand and sympathize with both of them, even when they disagree with one another.

With Anna and Bennett, Stone creates a couple to root for. The two find in one another the things missing in their own lives. Anna is a runner who has never left the Midwest, even though she longs to travel the world, and Bennett, who has visited everywhere from Paris to Thailand, can take her to the places she has only seen in pictures. Similarly, Bennett, whose ability has fractured his family and left him relatively rootless, is attracted to the stability of Anna’s home life and her family’s long history in Evanston. As the two grow closer, Bennett breaks some of his rigid time-travel rules in order to help Anna, and as she learns more about the consequences of changing the past, she begins to understand why he had those rules in the first place. Though TIME BETWEEN US is not without its faults (a major plot point concerning Bennett’s sister is left unexplained at the novel’s end), the engaging love story between Anna and Bennett grounds the novel, while Bennett’s time traveling ability and the way it has affected his life and the lives’ of those close to him gives the novel depth. 

Reviewed by Erin Allen on October 19, 2012

Time Between Us
by Tamara Ireland Stone

  • Publication Date: October 9, 2012
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
  • ISBN-10: 142315956X
  • ISBN-13: 9781423159568