November 27, 2012
First sentence: "Jonah Skidmore was in science class when time stopped."
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To start, this is the fifth book in the Missing series. I haven't read a single one of the others, but because I like Haddix, and because this was nominated for the Cybils, I picked this up. And to be honest: I probably missed some nuances for not having read the others, but it was a pretty good stand alone book.
Jonah and his sister Katherine are time travelers. They've been in and out of time before (in the previous books, of course), and managed to do so without disturbing time much. So, they are caught completely off guard when their present time freezes, and then they're hurtled back to 1903, to the apartment of Albert and Mileva Einstein. Somehow, the botched job of returning their (illegitimate) daughter Lieserl to the past has damaged time.
Somehow, Mileva figures out what Jonah and Katherine are up to, and she ends up being intimately involved in not only returning Lieserl to her proper time, but in getting Jonah and Katherine back to theirs.
There's much to recommend about this one: Haddix is a fine writer; Jonah and Katherine are interesting, resourceful characters who have a good brother-sister relationship; and Haddix uses history in fascinating ways. (I kind of felt it was the Magic Tree House books taken up a notch. And that's not a derogatory statement.) I'm not sure if I'm going to run out and get the rest of the series to see for myself, but I won't hesitate to recommend these to kids with an interest in history who are looking for something, well, different.
(Just for the record: because this is a Cybils nominee, I've been asked to make sure y'all know this is my opinion only, and not that of the panel.)