Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, his own mother can’t remember his name. So when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don’t take him seriously. Still, this isn’t all bad. Who needs school when you can learn about history first hand, like from Ben Franklin himself. And there’s this girl… Yvaine… another time traveler. All good. Except for the rules: boys only travel into the past and girls only into the future. And the baggage: Yvaine’s got a baby boy and more than her share of ex-boyfriends. Still, even if they screw up history — like accidentally let the founding father be killed — they can just time travel and fix it, right? But the future they return to is nothing like Charlie remembers. To set things right, he and his scrappy new girlfriend will have to race across the centuries, battling murderous machines from the future, jealous lovers, reluctant parents, and time itself.
I really enjoyed this book, finished it in two days, and I am already waiting for the next one in the series. The two main characters of Charlie and Yvaine really do come across well, and the father and sister team, along with Ben and other characters help bring the story alive. There are aspects of the time travel that are more difficult to believe, but it’s just the first book, so that could be better explained as the story continues to unravel. Girls can only travel uptime and boys can only travel downtime, so it helps to be a team. I enjoyed the historical characters and the historical settings. I think this is a great teen book, and not for younger readers.