Thursday, December 20, 2012

Clockwise Is Newly Defined

Published: November 19th, 2011
Clockwise (Clockwise # 1)
By: Elle Strauss
ESB Publishing
ISBN-13: 9781466440968

Casey Donovan has issues: hair, height and uncontrollable trips to the 19th century! And now this—she’s accidentally taken Nate Mackenzie, the cutest boy in the school, back in time. Awkward.

Protocol pressures her to tell their 1860 hosts that he is her brother and when Casey finds she has a handsome, wealthy (and unwanted) suitor, something changes in Nate. Are those romantic sparks or is it just “brotherly” protectiveness?

When they return to the present, things go back to the way they were before: Casey parked on the bottom of the rung of the social ladder and Nate perched high on the very the top. Except this time her heart is broken. Plus, her best friend is mad, her parents are split up, and her younger brother gets escorted home by the police. The only thing that could make life worse is if, by some strange twist of fate, she took Nate back to the past again.

Which of course, she does.


     Casey Donovan is an awkward teenage girl and for her, high school is Hell.  In that respect she's very normal.  The one little thing that sets her apart is her pesky time-travelling problem!  She never asked to be transported to the past every time her life gets stressful.  But after six years of it happening, Casey is used to it.  Then the unthinkable happens and Nate, her crush and the most popular boy in school, is transported back with her!  The year is 1860 and the country is on the brink of a Civil War.  The two find shelter and work with the Watson family, old friends of Casey's who have always helped her when she's in the past.  But to preserve her reputation, Casey tells them Nate is her brother.  They have plenty of adventures together, helping a runaway slave named Samuel hide from the slave-catchers and going to hear famous abolitionists speak.  Casey even receives a marriage proposal, albeit an entirely unwelcome one from a cruel man with Southern sympathies.  After they return home, Casey and Nate return to their lives apart from each other, in different social spheres.  Casey's heart is broken and her family is falling apart, plus her best friend Lucinda is angry and feels left out.  When she and Nate are carried to the past again, can they make things right with each other?  And will both of them make it home in one piece?  Also, who among their new friends is a traveler like Casey and are they connected closer than they ever could have imagined?  
     This was such a fun book.  I absolutely ADORE anything that had time-travel in it, especially if the characters travel into America's past.  I identified with Casey a lot, because I know what it feels like to be a dork and an outcast as a teenager.  I loved Lucinda, who was hilarious and a great friend.  To me Nate seemed very shallow at first but exhibited the most character development of any of the teens in the book.  Casey's family issues on top of her school stress acted as a trigger for the time travel, which was basically a double life for her.  The relationship with the Watson family was great and I loved the way they took in Casey, a.k.a Cassandra as one of their own.  The fact that Casey always returns at the exact moment she left, only exhausted and with huge dark circles under her eyes, was a great plot device.  It definitely provided a realistic explanation for why her parents and the people around her never discovered her absence and the truth of where she was.  And the mystery of Sam being another traveler and the incident where Casey accidentally travels with him to his time was totally unexpected.  It did explain a lot of things to me though and I loved their hidden connection revealed at the end.  Overall a fun book, with a cute romance and some mystery to it.  It managed to touch upon some important historical issues and was very relevant to me, as a young adult who was quite recently a teenager.  I highly recommend it to fans of time travel and YA books.

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

**No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.**

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