I have not been very good about time, when it come to reading Laurie Graves’ third youth novel in her Great Library Series, “Out of Time”. I ordered mine (singed by the author!!!!) when the publication came out…. oooooh, a year and a half ago. I did not want to start reading it, as my reading queue was rather tall with half completed texts. It has been sitting prominently on the temporary bookshelves (waiting for me to allocate the time to build the permanent bookshelves), for me to view each time I came down the stairs.
With retirement a few months away, and a planned trip to spend the month of May with my mother and family, I moved it to the travel preparation section of the bookshelf, along with a few other books. Time looked to be on my side now. But, Chance and Chaos stopped by.
My mother fell, broke her hip, and ended up the hospital. Chance had allowed my brother, her primary care giver to be out of town. Nemesis kept visiting her in the hospital and singing tunes from the “Wizard of Oz” to scare her at night (that’s another back-story from growing up in the 1930’s the youngest of three sisters).
Time gave me just enough vacation left to book a flight to California to step into the care giver role. As we appealed the Tsar Healthcare Empire’s attempt to discharge her home with other scattered family members and unknown home care attendants, Chance again allowed a turn of events and an undiagnosed cardiac issues to delay her discharge until I arrived to use a little Magic on the Tsar.
I’ll have to leave that as a cliff-hanger for another post. Ha! I hope Laurie is laughing at the circumstances in which I began to read her book. Oh, yes, I finished reading a book about beavers on the flight from Baltimore to San Jose. Laurie does not include any beavers in this story, but a whole lot of other fantastic and fanciful creatures.
In case you think I have gone bonkers, drinking way too much chamomile tea at The Other Green Door cafe, I can assure you that my preferred tea varieties are Earl or Lady Grey with honey and milk. They also go well with reading while my mother rests between periods of activity. All these things, Time, Chance, Chaos, Nemesis, Magic, Chamomile Tea, and The Other Green Door cafe are factors which influence the characters and plot of ”Out of Time”.
Laurie continues her series of books with the main character, Maya, from “Maya and Book of Everything”, and “Library Lost”. Mayas ended up in New York City, Brooklyn specifically, at the end of the last story. She is now sixteen, though Time has brought her back to when she was actually six, to make friend with three new friends, Will, Jay, and Lexie in a Shakespeare camp production of ”A Midsummer’s Night Dream” (I recall one year when the American Shakespeare Center was promoting their summer Shakespeare camp, their line was ”If your child loves Shakespeare, send them to our camp… they need friends”).
Earth is ruled by Time. The four emerging friends will soon learn that the cafe they go to is a bit different in that it is run by Elves, not Humans. This will lead to an adventure, in which the four travel through a portal in the subway which takes them to the land of the Elfs, Elferterre Norlander. The four have a mission to secure a key and lock, which the Elves in Brooklyn need. I will not go into details about why in order to avoid spoiler alerts.
As you might imagine, which Laurie has spent many a Maine winter day and night doing, that Elfetrerre is not ruled by Time, but Magic. This will lead to all sorts of adventures along their quest, with Elves, nice and not so, Humans (lower class status in Elferterre), Ogres, Sprites, Imps, Cats and various animate objects which can move and speak. Enough said to avoid giving much away.
Time, Chance, Chaos, and Nemesis show up at various points of the story to guide the friends in different ways. We are literally, and literarily, left on the edge of a cliff at the end of the story. Guess I will have to wait for volume four to come out to learn where everyone went to and what other adventures await the.
Laurie writes in the genre of youth fiction and science fantasy. Her stories have taken us through the Tween to Teen years for Maya. Childhood is a time with we do not even consider magic because we do not yet understand the concept of time nor consider how things come about. Every day is magic until Piaget convinces us that a cup of water is the same in a cylinder and cube shaped container.
The teen years are different. Rather than Magic, we experience magical thinking. We want to be beautiful, talented, skillful, powerful and popular. Magical thinking allows us to escape the cruelty and drudgery of growing up. Laurie has allowed these four teens to personify this process in a world in which potions and spells enhance our abilities to let her characters get out of all sorts of jams. The has the youths’ eyes pealed such that they begin to see beyond the surface of a superficial period of life. This is a lot more spontaneous and interesting than memorizing lines of scenes and blocking positions on stage, even if one were in a Shakespeare summer camp.
The Magic on Elferterre can get one out of trouble, but also into trouble. Often Maya, Will, Lexie and Jay are not sure which way the Magic is going. That keeps the books reading quickly, as if something Magical were turning the pages, as I have not sense of Time at the moment (when was the last time you sat up at 3:30 a.m. talking with your mother about bad dreams from childhood?).
Be sure to pick your copy of ”Out of Time” before some situation arise in which you have Time to enjoy reading it. The when Chance brings Chaos into your life, you can out smart Nemesis by having a good read to toss into your bag of tricks.