A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity
He believes in science, but only magic can help his mom.
Twelve-year-old Finn is used to people in his family disappearing. His twin sister, Faith, drowned when they were three years old. A few months ago, his mom abandoned him and his dad with no explanation. Finn clings to the concrete facts in his physics books--and to his best friend, Gabi--to ward off his sadness. But then his grandmother tells him a secret: the women in their family are Travelers, able to move back and forth in time.
Finn's mom is trapped somewhere in the timeline, and she's left Finn a portal to find her. But to succeed, he'll have to put his trust in something bigger than logic.
"This is an incredible book, no matter which time universe you're in. I couldn't put it down. One of my favorite debut novels of the year."--Erin Entrada Kelly, New York Times bestselling author and 2018 Newbery Medal winner
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About the Author
Nicole earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. In her prior timeline as a technologist, she managed web development at CNN.com and went on to launch Space.com as well as various other start-ups. She was the Chief Technology Officer of Figment.com, a website for teens interested in reading and writing young adult fiction, which was sold to Random House in 2013. Outside of fictional world-building, you can find her walking around with a hawk on her arm or wrangling two giant dogs named Merlin and Arthur. She resides outside of Philadelphia with her family.
"Finn's life has felt incomplete since the death of his twin sister, Faith, when they were three, and now that his mom has disappeared ten years later, it threatens to fall apart. A trip to Gran's does little to help. She warns him not to trust anyone, and dies in her bed the night he arrives. But most disconcerting is the Gran who arrives from five years ago, telling him that theirs is a family of time travelers, that his mother is one, and that his dead sister (snatched out of time) has become not only the most powerful but the most evil of the Travelers. His mother has moved backward and taken Faith with her to try to keep the little girl from growing into the terror revealed by forward travel through all the time lines--in each one of which, she kills Finn. Since only women in the family have the ability to Travel, there's not much Finn can do--until his mother reveals that there's a time-travel portal made specifically for him, and a task that only he can perform. Time travel tends to be a sci-fi construct, but this is definitely a fantasy story, as there's no real explanation of the time traveling beyond 'magic.' But Finn is an engaging character who has a plucky friend, Gabi, and Faith is a plausible evildoer. Most unusually, the adults believe the kids are capable of saving them all. VERDICT Any young reader who wants to believe that magic can change the harsh realities of life will find much to enjoy here. Recommended for all middle grade fantasy sections."--School Library Journal-- (10/1/2019 12:00:00 AM)
"Finn's upcoming thirteenth birthday is the painful, annual reminder of his twin sister's death. This year, his mother is gone, too. 'She just needs some time, ' says Finn's father, but it doesn't help Finn feel any better. Left with his gran for the weekend, science-minded Finn discovers the fantastical truth: the women in his family are time travelers, and his mother has disappeared into another time line to save his sister. She needs Finn's help and, since he lacks the power to travel himself, she's left him a portal. With the help of his best friend Gabi, Finn embarks on a recursive journey through time. Not everyone in this small New England town agrees on what can and should be changed, but what Finn learns is a truth we all need: how we treat people changes everything. Though some time-travel threads remain tangled and would likely frustrate lovers of more rigorous sf mechanics, Valentine's debut is an emotionally compelling and heartfelt tale of love and family that is reminiscent of Tuck Everlasting and A Wrinkle in Time."--Booklist-- (9/11/2019 12:00:00 AM)
"Finn discovers his family harbors gifted time travelers whose mission, despite their best efforts, keeps ending in failure. Finn's birthdays--he's nearly 13--are haunted by the loss of his twin sister, Faith, in the Dorset, Vermont, marble quarry at age 3. Now his mother's disappeared. Finding her possessions intact at Gran's, Finn seeks answers. A quantum physics enthusiast, he's read about time-travel and multiple-universe theories, but what Gran has to tell him is incredible: The women in her family Travel through time, though only she and his mom Travel to the future as well as the past. Fearing his mom's lost in time, Gran says Finn must Travel to find her. Because he's male, he'll need the portal created for him in a tree on Dorset Peak. A dangerous, twisty trek through past, present, and future ensues. As versions of his relatives proliferate, their accounts conflicting, Finn increasingly relies on his stalwart friend Gabi. (Gabi and her mom are of Puerto Rican heritage; other characters are presumed white.) Structured like a series opener, the novel ends abruptly, important questions sketchily answered or left unaddressed. If failure to tackle and resolve time travel's thorny plotting challenges disappoints genre aficionados, the vivid setting and appealing characters--Finn and his quirky relatives especially--offer plenty to satisfy readers less invested in the category. This soft-science-fiction debut will resonate with Madeleine L'Engle fans."--Kirkus Reviews-- (7/9/2019 12:00:00 AM)
"This novel will stretch your both your brain and your heart at the same time. Find the thread and jump in. You'll be so glad that you did."--Kathi Appelt, author of Angel Thieves and 2013 National Book Award Finalist The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp-- (3/28/2019 12:00:00 AM)
"This is an incredible book, no matter which time universe you're in. I couldn't put it down. One of my favorite debut novels of the year."--Erin Entrada Kelly, New York Times bestselling author and 2018 Newbery Medal winner-- (3/26/2019 12:00:00 AM)
"I can't get enough of all the potential ramifications of A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity! Nicole Valentine has taken two knotty subjects and woven them together in an excellent adventure that pulls at the heart as much as the mind. Finn and all his complex family (families?!) have so many stories to tell, and I'm wishing them well on their adventures!"--Fran Wilde, award-winning author of The Bone Universe series and Riverland-- (3/19/2019 12:00:00 AM)